What is your name and your current occupation?
I’m a storyboard artist at Bento Box on Bob’s Burgers.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Ha! I was a Tatto Artist, A line cook at a number of restaurants, and I got paid to watch movie screenings.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
It was really fun to work on Despicable Me 2 doing storyboards. I really got to flex my creativity and have fun. the director let me add gags and take the action in crazy directions just to see what I would come up with. LEGO:Star Wars The Empire Strikes Out (at Threshold Animation) was really great because I got to finally work on a Star wars project AND we got to make fun of it.
How did you become interested in animation?
I grew up on classic Warner Brothers and Tex Avery shorts. They used to show those on TV. Then in college I would watch Liquid Television and go to animation festivals like Spike and Mike’s and the International Tournee of Animation. That really gave me an idea of what could be done in animation. there were so many styles, from traditional 2D, early 3D, stop Motion, Claymation ( I’ll still say it!) Claymation! Claymation!
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I grew up in New York and Connecticut. I went to school at Central Connecticut State University (BA Graphic Design) , Paier College of Art, School of Visual Arts and The Art Students League. I still take classes to this day at various art schools in LA. I came to LA and didn’t really know anyone. I took classes at the Animation Academy and met Kelsey Mann (now at Pixar), he referred me to Revolution Studios where I worked on L’il Pimp doing Bgs and Flash animation. After that I worked on Comedy Central’s Kid Notorious. Then Toonacious for a bit. Then spent about 2 years at Renegade Animation working on HI HI Puffy Ami Yumi, Mr. men and many other projects. Then on and off for many 3D projects at Threshold Animation. I did storyboards on Despicable Me 2, which was really fun. After that it was at Film Roman for The Super hero Squad Show–then finally to Bento Box.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Wake up. Coffee. Then work. I draw on the continue using Storyboard Pro. I’ve grown to like it. You can really time the boards like you want it. I like using Photoshop too to board. Both programs have pluses and minuses.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Working out the story from the script. It’s a challenge. It’s fun to try and figure out the best angle for a shot. I also really like clean-up. It’s digi-inking, but it’s fun as hell.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Doing revisions on a sequence that I worked really hard on. That sucks. Someone up top makes changes and you have to go with it. Sometimes it’s funnier/better, but it’s still hard to throw away all that work.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I used to really dislike doing tests for studios. I want to get my own thing going so I don’t have to always rely on a day job. i think that’s the goal right now. With YouTube and it’s partner program, Blip.tv and others you can really syndicate original content and make money from it- You couldn’t do that on the web 10 years ago.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
A Cintiq, Storyboard pro, Photoshop and itunes.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I did a portfolio review with John K and he trashed me. I think I probably deserved it. I walked into Spumco and demanded a review. He gave me one. I walked out with my tail between my legs. needless to say i worked hard to be as good as I can be after that. I was lucky enough to takes classes with John Nevarez at the Animation Academy when he was teaching. Now he’s at Pixar. I also took a class with Bill Plymton at SVA in NYC. He was really great and a pioneer of independent animation, he really got you psyched up to do your own thing.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I went to a Grateful Dead concert in Maine and the radiator on my 4×4 Subaru leaked the whole time. We made it though. There and back with a side track to Boston. One time I had a cold beer and didn’t have a bottle opener–that was a tough day.
Any side projects you’re working on you’d like to share details of?
Yes, my latest project is my YouTube Partner Channel GOON CARTOONS. It allows me to do original animated cartoons the way I want to do them. It’s total creative freedom and it can bee seen by the world. there are over 500 million mobile devices out there, not to mention, people still use computers. The opportunity to build a worldwide fanbase is endless. Plus with YouTube you can monitize your videos (only if they’re original) and possible make some money. If we do that I’ll use the cash to fund more cartoons. I started a blog to help students and show them examples of storyboards, models sheets and Bg designs. it’s called CARTOON CONCEPT DESIGN.
Also, http://www.youtube.com/gooncartoons. My latest cartoon is The Struggle Part 3. We’ll be using traditional 2D on paper, Flash, After Effects, stop motion, claymation, cut paper, Super 8 and anything else we can get our hands on, we want to experiment with every medium. Some of the creators Goon Cartoons will be working with are Jim Smith (Ren and Stimpy, the Ripping Friends, Monsters Vs. Aliens), Gene McGuckin (Ren and Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, the Mr. Men Show), and Elizabeth J. Musgrave (Farmhouse, Hell Comes To Hollywood). My small publishing company is Asylum Press (www.asylumpress.com). I’ve been publishing comics and graphic novels since college. I still love it although it’s hard to find the time to dedicate as much time as I’d like. We have distribution trough Diamond and SCB to bookstores, so we get the books out there when we release them, but there aren’t as many comic stores as there was in the 90′s. But I have really been getting into web comics and launched 3 of my own.
www.farmhousecomic.com Written By Elizabeth J Musgrave Illustrated by Szymon Kudranski Lettered and published by Frank Forte. www.warlash.com Warlash, armored warrior of the apocalyptic future.
www.billyboycartoons.com BILLY BOY The Sick Little Fat Kid, is a journey into the insane mind of a young overweight kid and his adventures in his sick and twisted world. Done in a style of classic cartoons such as Fleischer and old Warner Brothers, BILLY BOY The Sick Little Fat Kid is done in a very cinematic and cartoony style. Frank Forte BIO : Frank Forte is an accomplished designer, storyboard artist and comic book artist. He has worked in animation for feature films, TV and gaming. Frank’s credits include: Bob’s Burgers, Allen Gregory, The Super Hero Squad Show, Hero 108, Marvel Heroes 4D, Lego Hero Factory, Lego Bionicle:The Legend Reborn, HI HI PUFFY AMI YUMI, Re-Animated Pilot (Out of Jimmy’s Head), The Mr. Men Show, Bionicle: The Legend Reborn (DVD-2009), Lego Clutch Powers 4D ride at Legoland and Lego Atlantis. He co-created The Cletus and Floyd Show with Gene McGuckin, a tribute to animation directors Tex Avery, Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones. Robert S. Rhine and Frank Forte created the pilot episode of Sickcom the Animated Series which was sold to Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Festival Of Animation in 2003. Frank is also the publisher at Asylum Press (www.asylumpress.com), an indy graphic novel and comic book publisher. Since its inception in 1999, Frank has written, illustrated and published such comics as, Zombie Terrors, The Vampire Verses, Warlash, Fearless Dawn, Billy Boy, The Cletus and Floyd Show. Frank’s personal blog on animation can be found at:
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
be persistent, always be working on your drawing skills. don’t be afraid to take classes from industry pros even after you have your degree. Attend CTN Expo–it’s a good way to do portfolio reviews as well as network with people. Put original shorts on you Tube. People will notice. Have a blog and online portfolio. Also, good to always draw gestures from life as well as from old cartoons. Just freeze frame a Bugs Bunny cartoons ad draw frame by frame, but draw quick 2-3 minute gesture sketches, then try and push the poses further. It’s good practice.