Robert Anderson

What is your name and your current occupation?

I am Robert Anderson. My current occupation is Producer. I can’t tell you where and on what as I will have to shoot you all.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Sadly I have only a few jobs that are outside of the film business. I started working on live action films at the age of 16. I did work at McDonald’s for a time and I am a firm believer that this job alone prepared me for the world of Project Management. Try doing the Quarter Pounder counter for a bus load of senior citizens and you will understand.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I am proud of many but the ones that stick out the most are Untalkative bunny & Three Delivery. I was Line Producer on the first and Producer on the second. Both were hell and awesome at the same time. A perfect storm of a collection of amazing talent and Force Major to the extreme. I am sure I have written about some of it somewhere…

How did you become interested in animation?

I have always loved animation. As a child my Grandfather would sit with me to watch Bugs Bunny on Saturdays. I never thought I would be able to have a career in it. My drawing abilities really suck.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?

I grew up in a small town called Hopewell Cape. The home of the world’s largest flower pots… Fascinating I know… I had a great time growing up there but as a teen ager it really sucked. I suspect that would have been the same anywhere. At 19 I moved to the bustling metropolis of Ottawa Ontario with doe eyed excitement of doing something cool in film. I know, I should have gone to Toronto but it was too big for my small town brain to handle. I was looking in the paper for a job and a studio called Crawley Films was looking for what they called Opaquers. I had no idea what that was but the company had “Film” in its name. I think that was 1986?

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?

I do a lot of information juggling as I like to call it. As a producer I love to be in the thick of things. I typically won’t have an office and am much happier surrounded by everyone else working on the project. This helps me see what is happening in real time both as far as the project as well as the people. Hundreds of emails… I hate talking on the phone but I end up on calls for a couple of hours a day. More if there is an off site team. I like Skype more because I like to see who I am talking to. There tends to be a lot of mini meetings on my projects. I don’t like to draw folks away from their work for very long but I like the Scrum idea of short meetings with small teams to make sure everyone is on the same page. Of course the meetings are short for the teams but I have to be there for all of them. Then it is off to doing the usual production reports and more emails. makes for long days but hey, it isn’t really work if you like it.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?

I am a lover of process and how all the different bits of a production fit together. Almost Alchemical in my mind. I get really excited when things work the way you had hoped.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?

I really hate being the guy that has to fire someone. I was told once that I care too much. That may be true but that is who I am. Letting people go is not part of my nature so when I have to do, and I have, It hurts. I never let it affect the decision mind you. It is the regret that is hardest.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?

That is a loaded question. I will try to fire blanks. I think it is when people try to play games to get their way. That can be frustrating. Disingenuous behaviour really gets under my skin and sadly I have seen it a lot over the years. I know how the game is played I just don’t like playing it.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?

Final Cut Pro suite, Adobe Suite, Avid, Microsoft word, Maya, and a host of other little bits scattered all over the place.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?

I got to work with Jan Pinkava (Geri’s Game and others)on a short at the Ottawa Animation Festival. It was the first ever animated piece done during the festival.

Describe a tough situation you had in life.

Well, I am known for being brutally honest so here you go.  My Father killed himself when I was 14. That hit me pretty hard and it took quite a few years to come to terms with it all. I think it is why I feel the need to be as honest as I can about everything I do be it work or general life.

Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?

I have a few hobbies. I am trying to learn action script so I can program my own flash games. I have done a ton of editing over the years and I have a passion for that. I like to grab open source footage and recut it to music.

Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I still play Dungeons and Dragons. Have been since 78.

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?

Never EVER give up if this is what you want to do. No matter how hard you think it is, and this is my optimistic existentialist view of the world, it can always get worse. Don’t ever be afraid to be wrong or make a mistake. That is how we learn. And for crying out loud when an old fart like me tells you how to do something listen for goodness sake! I love you all.

I am kidding really. No I really do think I love you all.
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  1. Pingback: from the internets: Robbie Anderson on Animation Insider | Canadian Animation Resources

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