What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Lamont Wayne and I’m a freelance Flash animator.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I was in sales related jobs for 10 years. I’ve sold burial plots. advertising, cars, newspaper subscription renewals, done fundraising… I’ve even sold vacuum cleaners door to door. I’ve got the most crazy stories from the vacuum sales. Here’s one of the crazier stories:
Little did I know that the serial killer wasn’t at his house… but at ANOTHER house in the cul-de-sac… WATCHING one of my salesmen do their vaccuum demo!! Well, the serial killer guy was actually friends with the folks that lived in that house. They bought the vaccum, and… heh… he wanted to buy one too. He went back to his house by the time I got there to close the sale, but he told my salesman that he wanted someone to come over and demo the vacuum for him.
So… imagine how I felt when I gathered my team back together. I asked them all “Who wants a sale?” They all raised their hands. Then I said that there was the catch… Man, did all the hands go down fast.
Well as it turns out, my salesman went to the house and a lady answered the door. She said that there was no need in doing a show, as the man she was watching “wasn’t able to do anything like that”, she said.
So, we didn’t sell the serial killer, but it gave me a story I’ll never forget. I’ve got tons of stories just as crazy too. Ask me about the one about the Confederate Flag in South Carolina sometime.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I haven’t been part of many projects yet, but I’m proud to have been a part of The Adventures of The Electric Company on Prankster Planet for PBS. I was one of the animators on the show, but the same studio (Primal Screen in Atlanta) handled the online game and all the print for the series…. pretty cool. I’m also proud to have designed the logo for The California Girl Scholarship Annuity at George Mason University. The scholarship annuity is in memory of a young dancer who committed suicide and promotes suicide awareness.
How did you become interested in animation?
I’ve been an animation fan since I was a kid. I fell in love with doing animation in college.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Virginia. I got my first animation gig from a friend over Facebook. My entire animation career has come from networking over social media.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Wow, that depends on the studio I’m freelancing for. Some studios will make sure I have FLA files for me to work on early so I can work close to a “9 to 5″ type day (which I prefer). Other studios will send you files later in the day and you have to work at night. Some studios will give you a certain number of hours to work within. Other studios, we work until the scenes are done.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I like the flexibility of freelance. I haven’t worked a studio job, but I have worked “9 to 5″ jobs and I have worked 12 hour jobs…. I like making my own hours because I can run errands if I need to.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
I won’t get into details, but sometimes it would be better to talk to directors and producers face to face. Just saying. Also, I don’t like when clients don’t like to pay you. Never a good thing.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I would love to keep freelance work consistently. The studios I freelance for have work sporadically… Keeping the work coming is hard.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I’ve met some great people. Tom Sito signed my He-Man vhs tape! I also got Tuck Tucker to sign that. I’ve met Will Vinton, Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, to name a few. I’ve met even more great folks networking online including Jerry Brice and Ben Price.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I had to leave animation at one point in my life. It was a combination of reasons, but I had to leave and help my family. It’s tough leaving something you love behind, it was real tough, seeing people you went to school with in the credits of movies and TV shows and wishing you were there too… but I’ve learned that you have to play the cards life deals you and you have to do what’s responsible for your situation. I’m glad that it turned into a blessing… 10 years of sales experience is a big help in many ways as a freelancer… and I did get to return to animation after all.
I’ve been known to read tarot cards. They’re pretty accurate too, including predicting a kid and Hurricane Katrina. I also have a professional speaking voice. It’s been used as an example by a telemarketing firm.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
With this new Internet 2.0 and social media… the rules are changing. There’s more opportunity out there than just Hollywood. Consider working for the SMALL screen! There are new studios out there needing work for mobile and internet. Look around and follow your interests.