John Losacco

What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is John Losacco and I have been a game animator for the last three years.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I worked mainly retail before getting into the industry.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
My first project in the industry was the coin-op game “Terminator: Salvation”. It was extremely intimidating to start out on such a high profile title. Since then I have worked on several coin-op games and am really proud of them all.

How did you become interested in animation?
I’ve always been interested in animation, seriously. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t excited about animation. It wasn’t until I was 16 or so that I realized animation was an actual job. I dropped everything and concentrated on nothing but getting a job in animation.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I am from Chicago. When I realized I wanted to be an animator, I was 16 and I had absolutely no art background, I had never even taken an art class. So I started frantically drawing everything I could. Cartoon characters, life drawing, still life, etc. Until I got a portfolio to apply to ‘The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago’. I was accepted into their animation program and spent the next three years learning everything there was to know…about Maya…not animation. I learned how to model, texture, rig, everything but animate properly. So I graduated and got my degree and shopped my reel around everywhere. No one called back. I was working at a graphic design firm, building flash ads and promotional material, skills I learning in college, when I saw an ad for ‘Animation Mentor’. I was amazed by their student work and applied immediately, and was luckily accepted. I dropped everything again, got a part time retail job and devoted all my time to learning animation from scratch. So, after ten years of struggle, I finally got a call for an interview with ‘Play Mechanix’.

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I get to work at about 10, get some cereal and finish anything I was working on the day before. Sometime after lunch I will get a series of critiques on my work and a bunch of new work. This is promptly followed my a nerf gun war, then I wrap up what I’m working on and head home.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I like that I have a lot of freedom when it comes to acting choices. I get a lot of direction on what is happening in the scene, but for the most part I’m able to stretch my creative legs on the details.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
It can sometimes take awhile to get feedback and by then I have usually moved onto other things. It’s hard to get your head back into a previous shot once you’ve gone onto a new shot.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Speed. You have to be fast AND good. And once you have found a good new pace, you have to speed it up again.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I work with Autodesk Maya.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I go to animation events as often as I can. I have met some greats like Bill Plymton and John Krisfalusi. And of course Shawn Kelly, Carlos Baena and Bobby Beck.

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I was really new to the industry, maybe few months in, and I got a REALLY tough acting shot. I worked on it for a week solid and it was eventually taken away and given to my animation director. No one and my studio was really upset with me, they gave me a challenge I just wasn’t really ready for. I was crushed. But I took the learning experience for what it was. Once my animation director finished the shot I asked to see it, and I studied it inside and out.

Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
Um, that’s a tough one. I love animation so much and it’s hard to walk away from it at the end of the day. Right now I’m working on a short film and I also love to create stop motion puppets. I don’t do much stop motion(yet) but I love learning how to create the puppets. Oh, and I’m addicted to papercrafts!

Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
No, no hidden skills. I can’t even whistle!

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