What is your name and your current occupation?
David Williams and I work for Disney TV Animation’s “Jake And The Never Land Pirates”
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Nothing crazy. Just the standard “no brainier” jobs. Car wash, gas station, stock boy, construction, etc.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Without a doubt, the best job I had, while between animation jobs, was working for Applause designing collectible mugs, sculpts, toys, etc. For Lucasfilm Properties. I was head designer the second year and pitched the line-up of proposed merchandise to Lucasfilm (but not George). Flew out on the company’s dime and made several journeys to the Skywalker Ranch. Yes, I’ll admit it, it made me feel important. I made some long-standing friendships during that time, as well. In animation, it was working on the two Klasky/Csupo feature films “The Wild Thornberrys” and “Rugrats Go Wild”. I got into the studio at it’s zenith, and watch it all fade away within the two years I was there. Very sad. What made my time so special was the opportunities that were put in my lap! My job was storyboarding but I also designed some BG layouts, animated sequences, I even worked with the editor timing out my song sequence. Yes, this job also made me feel important. Also I played basketball almost everyday at lunch right there on the grounds. Definitely a perk.
How did you become interested in animation?
The standard way, for my generation, propped in front of the TV with a bowl of cereal on a Saturday morning. Peanuts Specials, every Christmas Special and The Wonderful World Of Disney. Definitely feature films, as well, but they were very infrequent.
I want to share, as a side note, that in this day and time of watching all our favorite animated shows anytime we want (via DVD’s and the like) we miss the build up of anticipation for those Favorite shows. Like seeing the ad on TV and memorizing when it’s going to air. Making sure to watch the clock so you were “glued” to theTV right when the first second of glorious animated splendor appeared on the screen. I believe that is a healthy part of enjoying something. Then again, I’m from a past generation and nostalgia rears it’s head now and again. That’s when I became totally infatuated with cartoons, but I did not for one moment think “Boy, oh boy, that’s what I’m gonna’ do when I grow up!
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Born in Charleston, South Carolina but grew up in Newbury Park CA. The Summer between my junior and senior year at CSUN I got the fateful call. My friend tells me of a Disney artist named Roy Wilson who was branching out on his own doing layouts and storyboards for TV studios. He needed a couple of young artists to do layouts. And so my journey began. Later, Roy would take me under his wing to learn storyboarding.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Think,draw,think,think,think,draw,draw,draw,erase,draw,think,potty break,draw,draw, call the wife and tell her a may be a little late getting home, draw,think,….
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Every aspect of the job description, I love. The drawing out of action, acting, planning out a scene in a way that is clear and hopefully unique and unchanged by the director. I love it all! When it all comes together it’s a great feeling. It makes me feel important. Just kidding.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Looking for the next “boarding gig”.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Apple computer, 21″Cintiq monitor and Toon Boom Storyboard Pro.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The delicate balance of giving 100% of myself in my storyboard art and maintaining the self assurance in my ability after something gets changed from MY original vision. I have come to realize that I’m part of a team, and that the show can benefit from different eyes and viewpoints. Not always, but don’t get me started.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Again at Applause, Chuck Jones had lunch with the artists that had worked on a Looney Tunes product line. I had a one to one chat with him and he drew Bugs Bunny in front of me. Then left the drawing on the table. I walked away that day with an original Chuck Jones drawing. It’s not signed, but hey …
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
October 1978. I bounced my Honda 500 motorcycle off my friend’s Ford Ranchero and ran smackdab into a light pole. I broke my neck, the nerves controlling my right arm and latisamus dorsi were ripped from my spinal cord, I was in a coma for a couple of days, suffered a concussion, messed up my right optic nerve so badly that I almost lost the eye. The good news?
I was left handed already.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I’m looking into the probability of teaching art. Preferably to older more serious students. Inspiring others helps keep me motivated. It’s like celebrating Christmas with children around. The energy of the day is heightened.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I believe leaving a little bit of mystery about myself is a good thing.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
There is no getting around good drawing. The best resume will not disguise your drawing ability. Figure drawing from a live model is so important to great drawing skills. And developing the friendships with others in that environment will allow you greater perspective toward developing your personal drawing style. Make many friends because they can help you land jobs. Don’t burn bridges with people in the industry… It could come back and bite you in the …