Andrew Conroy

What is your name and your current occupation?
My Name is Andrew Conroy and I am currently the Lead Animation Faculty at Ai SLC.  I teach the finer and not so finer points of animation to animation enthusiasts as well as develop curriculum, characters and short films.


What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Right out of collage I washed dishes at a summer camp… I drove a little outboard engine boat to work everyday. It was a good time.


What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I have worked on a few films and enjoyed that experience but I think the most enjoyable projects for me have always been personal. Something I am currently working on is “The FishBoy Project”. I am trying to give students and animation hopefuls a chance to work with a cool rig and in turn raise a bit of money for small business owners through an organization called Kiva.


How did you become interested in animation?
My Parents made me go to Art School actually. I think the root of my interest is in “A Bugs Life”. Watched it at a pivotal point in my youth and after seeing the film I began looking for animation schools to enroll in.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Well, I am from Cedarville Mi. Which is a small town in the Upper Peninsula… Not a lot of animation happening up there. It’s more of a lumber and gravel type town. I got my first real animation gig working for Disney Interactive/Avalanche Software in Salt Lake City. They offered and I drove west. A car full of stuff and a little cash in my pocket.

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Typically I wake up early and have at it! I teach classes 3 days a week and lesson prep, work on personal projects and meet with students the rest of the time. Because I am an instructor, everyday looks different. That is part of what i love about the job.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I like paving new paths.  Honestly, I am in it for the adventure!  There is nothing that can make the mind engage quite like loosing your path and trying to find it again.  And the feeling of success when an obstacle has been overcome is extraordinary!

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
The office work. There is no thrill in office work.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
We use a pretty standard setup. Maya, Mudbox, whatever on a PC or Cintique.


What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?  

Time on the computer. I don’t think there is anything worse for an artist that to be pulled out of real life and put in front of a computer.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?

I have worked with some animation greats but they aren’t likely people you’d know.
Friend like Sheldon Kruger, JP Rhinemiller, Alex Poei, and Andrew Park.

Describe a tough situation you had in life. 

I used to pay more than 4 bucks a gallon for gas…. that was a hard time in my life.


Any side projects or you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?

I mentioned “The FishBoy Project” before and that is has been really fun! If you want a fun free rig and are interested in helping some people out, check out the Fish Boy Project blogsite.


Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I can ride a unicycle… and I once pogo-sticked 2 miles….haven’t done it since.


Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Live your life! Don’t get so wrapped up in your work that you miss out on all the great stuff life has for you. And when you have a good opportunity don’t be a sissy! Go for it!


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