What is your name and your current occupation?
Nicolas Lozac’h, freelance animator
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Sports/fitness equipment & clothing vendor
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Blood Bowl, the video game : I’ve always been a fan of Warhammer 40K and GamesWorkshop in general, so working on one of their games for a first professional experience is something I won’t forget. Brand New Old school : a personal project I did to prove wrong the director of the 3D major at my school who said I wouldn’t be capable to do a 3D breakdancing animation. It isn’t the b est worked I’ve done, but it was the first project I did to improve my animation skills.
I’ve been playing video games since the age of 3, so working in the video game/animation industry has always something I wanted to do.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from France but lived 5 years in Canada until the age of 12. My friends say I’m more North American than French.
I first got into the animation business by drawing attention on my animation skills through a personal project and then through other several school projects. After that, one of my teachers offered me an internship in the video game company he was working in and I accepted.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
When on a contract, I usually start work around 9:00-9:30AM on site and go home after spending 8 hours of so working (not including lunch break). But that can change according to the workload or if the team is in “rush mode”. First thing i do is checking if any news concerning the project have been posted, then my to do list. I either get right at it if I feel the inspiration flowing through me. If not, I spend a couple of minutes to find video references to get some ideas, it’s better spending time on Youtube in hopes of finding something rather than banging my head on the desk, this either allows me to find what I’m looking for or see stuff that could be useful for other animations. Once all the ideas come into place, I start animating and usually start with the quicker/easiest ones in order to save time for the harder/longer animations.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
What I like most about my job is being able to be creative and face a new challenge with each animation I have to create.
I originally don’t have what you can call an artistic background, so when I discover this hidden talent of mine as I go on with my work it feels me up with pride, especially when people like what I do.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Not getting it right the first time and not finding right away what’s wrong with my work. Having to ask someone if why I did looks good or not when I have doubts.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Being young and what some companies would consider “not experienced enough”. This is something I feel a lot when looking for a new job, the only job offers out there are senior positions and seeing that many senior positions out there it makes me wonder : “Where are all the mid-level guys ? Don’t they get to become seniors ? Who is going to replace them if no juniors are given the chance to prove themselves and learn ?”
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
3DS Max, but currently learning Maya by myself.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I’ve unfortunately haven’t traveled abroad for professional purposes. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with American McGee on the phone, through the interviewing process I had for a possible long term contract as an animator in his company. But I preferred to go for what was supposed to be an assistant lead animator position with my former employer but wasn’t… HUGE mistake, I’ll hate myself for a long time because of that. During my first contact as a freelance animator, I met and with for the co-founder of Rackham Entertainment, Jean Bey. He was a very demanding but honest person with a sense of professionalism and business ethic similar to mine. Plus we both liked the same things so working with him on a day to day basis was great and would happily work for/with him again.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metalurgy?
No unusual talents. Does being a violent sports practitioner count ?
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Practice makes perfect, that’s for sure ! Being a big sports jock, I was able to overcome my lack of artistic sense, compared to some of my classmates who were “naturally” talented, with a good sense of observation allowing me to replicate realistic movements in my work and being one of the only students of my class to be at ease with 3D animation. So for those of you who don’t have that natural talent or who simply had parents, like mine, who didn’t give them the opportunity to explore/express their artistic sense, don’t give up! There’s always a way to compensate or get involved. Last but not least, ignore the haters ! Those who criticize or don’t take you seriously because you’re interested in a domain that seems all fun and easy don’t know what they’re talking about. In the end, you’re the one who’ll be doing something you’re passionate about and not just an everyday boring job.