What is your name and your current occupation?
Tim Wolkiewicz – Production Coordinator at Hasbro on G.I. JOE
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I worked in a pet store for 7 years. I have cleaned up and looked after almost every type of domestic animal and have been bitten by about the same number. I then transitioned into sales at the store. It was a good job and I learned a lot about how to interact with people and to know everything about what your selling. It is easier to sell a product more then yourself though.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I loved working on “Adventures from the Book of Virtues.” Maybe it was because of those I worked with or maybe because it was my first job in the industry. I was able to work on all aspects of the project and was trusted to work to my full potential. Currently I work on G.I. Joe. It’s awesome to be on a show I grew up watching as a kid and the people here are really great.
How did you become interested in animation?
Growing up I would watch cartoons every Saturday morning and after school. I started drawing at a very early age and encouraged to do so by my parents…even though they wanted me to be an architect, I ended up in cartoons anyway.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I am originally from Pittsburgh, PA. I went to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh for graphic design. Once I graduated I realized that I was not going to be happy with the kinds of jobs that this prepared me for so I went back to school to complete my BFA in animation at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. After graduating from Edinboro University in May, I got married in Sept. and moved to Los Angeles looking for work in Oct. Luckily I got a job before we ran out of money!
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I try to get to work early before everyone else so I can settle into the day before everyone arrives. In the morning I review and answer any emails that come in over night. After meetings and addressing any issues that come up throughout the day, I correspond with those involved with the project, including in house talent, post department and the over sea studios. I wrap by planning and preparing for the next day and the week ahead. It doesn’t sound like a lot but some days I can have quite the work load trying to keep everything on track and on time. I like a busy day.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I really enjoy working on animated shows. It really is a fun job being able to work on something you enjoyed as a kid. In some respects it keeps me young while still challenging me as an adult to make things better and better. The best part is working with others who share your passion. When you finally see the shows on television that you worked on for months or years makes all that time and effort worth while.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Not knowing if the show you are working on will get picked up for another season. That being said, I can not see myself working in any other industry.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
It’s very draining to be constantly looking for the next production to go onto. When a project starts to wrap up, the worry sets in that you might be laid off for a time.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Being more on the production side, I use Excel and Word quite a bit. Photoshop is a big part of the job too. I also use Flash and Illustrator often. The more programs you know the more you can do, and therefore you are more marketable.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I have met and talked to Chuck Jones a number of times. He came to my school once to give a talk. Then, after moving to California, I was invited to visit him at his home with a few of my friends.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I have to say I have been really blessed. You don’t tend to see how blessed you are when you are in the middle of a tough situation but on the other side of it you realize how better you are for having gone through it. Hearing my Dad go through cancer was really tough. My family still lives on the East coast so I would get updates daily about his condition. Thankfully he made it through but being away from family can make these kind of situations that much harder. Even though I knew I could not do much if I was there in person, I felt that much more useless because I was so far away.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
I am always developing new show ideas, stories and artwork, graphics and comics of my own. I am also a Christian, a husband and father, and a martial arts student and teacher.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
In a word…perseverance! Never give up on your dream, whatever it is. Your dream may not always turn out the way you thought it would or wanted it to, but it always turns out the way it is supposed to. But most importantly, live an honest life with integrity and you will go far.