What is your name and your current occupation?
Wade Wisinski, Line Producer, The Looney Tunes Show, Warner Bros. Animation.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I owned and operated a chain or retail comic book stores. The shop in Newhall, CA is still there with fabulous new ownership – Brave New World – check it out. If you have ever spent any quality time in a comic book store, you may get a pretty good idea of what it would be like to work, live, eat, and sleep in one. All of the stereotypes are true.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
All of them pretty much. I’ve been fortunate to have begun working on Kevin Smith’s Clerks, then the first three seasons of Kim Possible, The Spectacular Spider-Man (my favorite Spider-Man interpretation by far…). Most recently some classic character takes – Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and The Looney Tunes Show.
How did you become interested in animation?
Animated films and televisions shows were the first movies and TV I watched, which is typical. That’s all I knew for a while, really. I was obsessed with comic books, but animation was always around. As I became more entrenched in the comic book professional world as a retailer, I was able to form many relationships with animation pros. The process seemed really appealing to me.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in Milwaukee, WI, and moved to California when I was 16. I went to a graphic design school and did that for a while. When desktop publishing technology took off, I became pretty much useless as a paste-up artist. I then opened the Brave New World chain. Chris Bailey and I met at the store about twenty years ago, and about twelve years ago I decided to take a shot at animation production, and he brought me on to the Clerks crew at Walt Disney Television animation.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
It has certainly varied depending on which production, but now I show up, see what’s going as planned and what’s not. Kurt Weldon, my Line Producer/mentor on Kim Possible taught me to “Plan, adjust, and then start documenting…” That’s pretty much the formula in any given production situation.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I used to love going to the sound mixes, especially on American Dragon season two. I was somewhat part of the creative process (with the Director’s blessing, of course) and that was always fun. Now, I like it when I can personally service the needs of my creative team with out ticking off my boss. I have to represent both creative and production, and they sometimes contradict. Whenever I can keep creative feeling like they have everything they need, and the financial folks aren’t giving me the stink eye, that’s a good day.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Unnecessary anger. It’s just a cartoon, don’t yell at me, go take it out on your wife and kids.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Firing people. There’s nothing worse.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
The Looney Tunes Show actually does some animation once in a while, as opposed to just standard overseas pre-production reference, so that’s pretty cool.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I met Josie – inspiration for Josie and The Pussycats, Mark Hamill was an obvious treat, Dan Haskett is a good drawer… They’re all pretty great. What I think is really cool is my office is currently located directly between Glen Murakami and Bruce Timm. I’m all jaded and cynical now, but if this was the mid nineties, my fan boy mind would simply explode.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
My son Jack is on the Autism Spectrum, which has its challenges. He’s an amazing kid, and I’m sure will be a great man some day. I must say that learning to be patient and understanding with a special needs child has given me a few strategies to apply here at the studio.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
I hope to win the California State Lottery and perform a visually spectacular exit from whatever my job is at that time.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I was accidentally on Baywatch once. Long story.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Remember that scene from Apollo 13 where they throw the pile of stuff on the table to represent what the astronauts had to make an air filter or whatever? That is what every producer wants from his creative team. Use those amazing talents of yours, but remember we only have the tools that are in front of us, and are quickly running out of air!