David M. Breaux Jr.

What is your name and your current occupation?
David M. Breaux Jr. Character / Creature Animator

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
First job was in a framing shop….boring more than crazy… but I did do two summers working as a sculptor one summer was making Mardi Gras floats… the other summer was making huge Mardi Gras themed sculptures for Casinos: Harrah’s, Luxor, and MGM Grand.


What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Garfield….yes Garfield, it was my first film…I worked on the postvis then was hired by Rhythm & Hues as an animator for the film. It was the most character work I had ever done at that point. Till the sequal. Tron Legacy..dream come true though I wished I had been on the show longer and had more shots. Real Steel was quite fun, I learned a lot about dealing with mocap at an entirely different level on that show.

How did you become interested in animation?
I had always liked cartoon growing up, and was always watching monster movies, Godzilla, King Kong, any Ray Harryhausen films, really anything that was monsters…not jason or freddy stuff though those were in my later years.  I like creatures and cartoons.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I went to college intending to get into the Disney Internship and be a traditional 2D animator. Tough to get a spot in there, but I had also always fiddled with drawing on my Commodore 64 and later Atari ST computers.  I also had a steak of makeup and animatronics in me… so I was keen on doing that possibly. Then Jurassic Park hit… and I saw all of my loves come to a crossroads. The rest is a long tortured trail of blood, tears, and small victories  🙂
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I generally come in 9am-ish… depending on what the project calls for some people get there sooner others roll in around 10 but I try to keep 9am.  Me and morning don’t get along well so I try to keep it non-complicated by changing hours for every project unless I have too. 9am usually works out fine for everyone though. I crack open a Mountain Dew….I need to stop but it’s my spinach in the morning…I hate coffee. Check my e-mails to make sure there are no pressing deed that need to be done ASAP. Check a few of my favorite internet movie and news sites as well as industry news. After this it changes from studio to studio…. sometimes I jump into any assignments I already have and address notes, start blocking shots I already have instructions on or go and bug my Sup or anim Director to get me something to do if there is nothing on my plate. At some point in the day there is a Dailies or walk through where you get notes on your current work, so that usually keeps you busy for the rest of the day. I do prefer Dailies at the end of the day though a lot of studios don’t do that, but the beginning of the day is fine as well…. either one gives you time to work on the notes. Dailies in the middle of the day just seems to throw a wrench in the works for everyone.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I like when someone either gives me creative freedom or gives me specific instructions, it allows me to put forth the best quality without hacking and slashing my animation all over the place, I can plan and execute….like a sniper.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Clients that don’t know what they want till they see it….so you do endless variants and usually end up back at one of the first 3 versions you did. Just gets frustrating….I get paid for it so I’ll do as many as they want… but it gets creatively draining.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Mostly Maya, Softimage XSI, or 3D Max, Photoshop maybe…or Painter.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business? 
These days…staying in the business and / or having a life.  It’s gotten to be like a moving target on the ass end of a bucking bronco. All the Tax rebates the studio execs are salivating over create an artificial tidal wave that seems to break on a different shore every 6 months or so. It gets hard trying to have a life and jump from country to country just to get your next job…. and very little benefits if any oh and the downward spiral of rates….

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I get to go to a Christmas party every year…. without  a doubt I am floored by the attendants and the people I have been able to now count as friends who were once only idols on pedestals.

Describe a tough situation you had in life. 
Being let go from a company… and told it was only budget reasons and lack of work….given a glowing letter of recommendation and then returning to that company several years later only to be thrown under the bus by someone I thought was a friend to save there own butt… and told I was average at best at what I do. That was and still is the single toughest thing I’ve gone through… Mostly because I’ll never know why they did what they did.
Any side projects or you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I’m working at the Gnomon school as well, teaching character and creature animation, as well as doing additional internal projects. I’ve got a hand full of short films floating around in my head, one in particular that I want to make but need a small team to get it done.  A few art books…. and possibly an animation book in the future. There usually all art related. My problem is I can come up with ideas faster than I can complete em’
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I can roll my tongue into a circle….I have a widows peak….for some reason they are tied together genetically.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
If things stay the way they are now…..1. Put all your money in the bank or investments.2. Buy a really good laptop not a desktop.   3. Do not collect anything…4. If you plan on having a significant other….they better be ready to move every 6 months or so. 5. No Pets…6. Get a fold up bike.  Basically it comes down to being as mobile as possible, while having to pack and unpack as little as possible because these days you never know where the work is going to be or how long it will last. This list will keep you nimble fast, and able to go wherever you need to for any job and cost your the least in headaches and money. You will however be a gypsy… and one day you will grow tired of moving  and want to put down roots somewhere…that will be difficult at best so be prepared. I’m not saying it out of bitterness or jadedness… these are the things I’ve seen first hand through my own eyes as well as friends and it is the truth. There are some that rise to the top and it’s all gold and jewels…but those are the few. The many have a different story to tell. There are days I hate the job and there are days I want to do nothing else…But if you get into the right place with the right people and they can keep you working it can and is an absolute blast, and no other job is like it in the world.
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