Aaron Simpson

What is your name?
Aaron Simpson

What would you say has been your primary job in animation?
Producer, primarily of animated pilots for the kids realm. I’ve also been a producer and a development lead for online animated shorts.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Johnny Test – I produced the pilot. Also the Gay Robot pilot for Adam Sandler and Comedy Central.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I was a cameraman on Love Connection. I was pretty terrible at this job, and was probably going to get fired the week after I quit.

How did you become interested in animation?
In the early 80s, I saw Vinton’s 1974 short Closed Mondays at a summer school class about short films (I also saw Hardware Wars), and it inspired me to start producing my own stop-motion shorts.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I grew up outside of Detroit, Michigan. After a very short career producing TV spots here in Los Angeles, I found a distaste for live-action film production and rekindled my passion in animation. I’d never quite understood that there was a thriving industry built around animation, and I could conceivably get a real job in that field. I then snuck into some of Glen Vilpu’s workshops at Disney Feature while working as an assistant at Disney, and I pushed myself into a career.

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I spend most mornings working my websites, ColdHardFlash and Lineboil – for a solid 2 hours. I’m skimming for cool, new work, and responding to the gallons of submissions and emails I receive. I then start my job at Mondo Media, where I lead animation development. I work out of a 1-person office, at least for the time being.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I love finding new work that I know will find a massive audience, but it just needs a little push.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
I don’t enjoy telling people that I won’t help promote their work, or I won’t distribute or finance their series. I doubt anyone enjoys that, but I do know that this is a service in itself. I’ve taken some of that exact tough love on my own material, and it’s painful, but I end up really appreciating the honesty.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I don’t know if I have a proper answer for that question, but I’ll add one annoying element – that animation is seen as either a kids-only genre, and/or that it’s taken less seriously by the larger entertainment industry as a whole.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Wordpress, Flash, Photoshop.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I helped the Toy Story crew record a special short film for a Disney internal meeting – and got to work with Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, and the producer Bonnie Arnold.

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Anything I’d offer here would probably sound a little underwhelming – especially from people who’ve endured true hardships in their lives.

Any side projects you’re working on you’d like to share details of?
Along with Brendan Burch and Aaron Gingrich, I started a charity golf tournament that I’m proud of – The Golf Comedy Classic. We help raise money for children’s literacy – http://golfcomedyclassic.com

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Anyone worth their weight is reasonably easy to get ahold of, and while it may take a few emails or calls – reach out to your heroes. You’ll be surprised at the relationships you form.

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