What is your name and your current occupation?
Gavrilo Gnatovich (Gav, Big Gav) Head Honcho Grande, Horrendous Fiasco Cartoons
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Worked for the family sewer and water construction business, and late seventies disco bartender
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
The projects where I had the most lip-smacking, paddywhackin’ creative freedom. My first independent film, Lazar and the Longhair and Doubledome pilots I produced for the Cartoon Network. Had they listened to their own focus groups, it would have been a show. Ack, excuse me, choking on sour grapes:)
How did you become interested in animation?
Drinking in a Chicago Bar with Richard Williams on several occasions. I was working for a photography studio in Chicago (Jim Braddy Photography) and his sales rep, Tom Parker was also Richard’s rep in Chicago. When Richard would come in for Pre-Pro meetings, we would go out drinking and he would talk animation, (what a surprise). I figured I got his first animation seminar while half in the bag.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I am from a magical city on a shining lake, Cleveland, Ohio. I started a small studio in Natick, MA after college and starting producing my first film, Lazar. The film took 7 years to produce amidst working from 2am until 7am at Quebrada bakery, small laser show jobs, slaying dragons and telling the voices in my head to just shut up for once.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Depends on the job. I have run studios, and worked for studios. When you run a studio, it’s your ass, so you get there early and leave late. When you work for someone, you try not to screw up, have an opinion, or disagree with the management/creative team.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I love animation, creating styles and bringing a whole new world to light.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Knuckleheads who decide a pissing match is more important than solid decisions that work. Clients who refuse to understand that the lack of time and money usually leads to a less than wonderful project. There is no disclaimer on an animation project that states, “The reason this piece looks like crap is due to the lack of time and commitment to make a solid work, please forgive us”.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The business has changed drastically with the technology, and the technology has given a false impression that animation is easy. I am a bit tired of the phrase, “Well, everything is done by the computer now, right?”
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I work with Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects primarily
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
As above, drinking with Richard Williams, but there are many great animators that I have known whose names are not as well known but who were just as talented. Todd Myers, David Fedan, Sandro Cleuzo are incredible artists/animators/. Donna Grillo was the greatest voice caster/director, I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Terry Thoren (former CEO of Klasky Csupo) has always been advocate in my animation career.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Animation is a tough business, the rise and fall of work has always driven me a little nuts. The tough situations I have been a part of have always come from money or the lack there of.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
I am working on my graduate degree in painting (MFA candidate, SCAD) and my latest film, “A Man Story”.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Love playing golf.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
There are two types of artists in the animation business, those who have a extremely unique style and those who are chameleons, who can copy or emulate anything around them. In order to be either, I will pass on the advise of Richard Williams in a letter to myself, “Draw, Draw, Draw.
Great interview Gav. I’m looking forward to seeing your new film. You are one of the great new animators of our time.