Billy Burger

What is your name and your current occupation?
Billy Burger _ Assistant Director – Media Arts and Animation – AiCAsf

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation? 
Neon Artist … Photographer … Bartender … Dad!

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of? 
James and The Giant Peach … I wish Henry Selcik had gotten to do Toots and the Upside down house like we were all hoping for.

How did you become interested in animation? 
In 1965 my folks bought a Black and White TV … Bugs Bunny!

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Ohio – originally  – Richard Quan – producer for Colossal Pictures set an animation magazine down on the bar – and I asked him about it – and a  month later I was painting Captin’ Crunch cells in  the ink-and-paint department.

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job? 
Well teaching animation takes a 4 hour bite out of your day … But in production … I’d have work to do in the morning. dailies with Henry around noon … lunch and then either finishing the shot or if it was approved. I’d shoot the special effects animation on High-con film.

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What part of your job do you like best? Why?
If I keep the rest of the answers to teaching – I’s say watching my students get crazy about animation; watching them get good enough to work at places like Zynga and Leap Frog.

What part of your job do you like least? Why? 
Students tend to actively forget stuff and this is not cool when it comes to teaching process. If they miss a class and forget something AND there’s something wild like a holiday – they could be easily be a month behind.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
2D animation … Flash … Maya (not me though _ I am just the director – I’m a 2D guy.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?  
Teaching animation – well it is heart breaking to see talent go out on the streets and not be able to pick up a gig right away – some times it takes 4 months!
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I worked a one day gig with James Baxter, that was cool! Obviously every one I met at James and the Giant Peach was a hero. I met Kelly Ashbury when he was visiting  off break, that was cool. I met Maurice Nobel when he was setting up Nobel Tales with Tod Polson -  awesome!

Describe a tough situation you had in life. 
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
In 1994 my wife and I were told we were having twins – GAHH – I am still trying to figure out how I’m going to do this – and they’re high school sophomores now.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I do a pretty Bulwinkle impression.

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Play big … it’s a crazy world out there. Get to know how to animate (well) in Flash faster than an Olympic sprinter!


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