What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Mark Salisbury. I am currently the series director, animation producer and editor for Nickelodeon’s “Bubble Guppies”.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Well…lets see. In the early to mid 90’s I was the defensive back coach for Yale University, a resume specialist at Kinko’s, a caricature artist in Washington, DC, a bouncer, and a bartender
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
This is a tough question, because most every project I have done, I’ve completely sunk myself into. The TMNT shorts were great because they were the first real products to come out of the company I founded, Peach Nova Productions. There were 4 of us and we cranked those things out fast and still maintained a high quality of animation and design. I love 8 Bit design so the Mocap LLC show open I did was lots of fun. Having my kids watch and enjoy the shows I make is really one of the best experiences I’ve had. So I need to put, Bubble Guppies, Little Bill, Mighty Bug 5 in there, as well as a couple of Nickelodeon pilots that never made it to air. The Dr. Tran shorts were a lot of fun to animate as well.
How did you become interested in animation?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been making text books into flip books and once my family got a VCR I took to pausing Bugs Bunny shorts and tracing the TV, frame at a time.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m born and raised in Hallowell, Maine…high school in Cheshire, Conn. and I currently live in the suburbs of New York City. While I was a coach at Yale I decided to go to a 4 week animation program at the New York Film Academy. I left there with a 3 minute cell animated short about the relationship between a chipmunk (thank you Preston Blair) and a monster truck and I used that to get my foot in the door.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
This depends on where we are in the current season. Early in the season, its all storyboard notes, design approvals and editing animatics. Mid season is about the same but there are now layout approvals as well as animation approvals. Late season is mostly all layout and animation and the final picture lock and sound mix.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Editing the animatics is really rewarding. You finally start to see what has only existed on paper (or digital paper) in script and storyboard form and have it start to take shape and come to life. I like telling stories, and editing really allows me the chance to do that.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Not getting a chance to animate anymore.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I have 2 mac towers in my office. One is a complete decked out edit suite with final cut pro. And the other is equipped with a 21″ cintiq and has all the adobe products as well as sketchbook pro. I do most of my design, layout and animation notes in sketchbook pro.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
You can have a great job with great people but it comes with an end date. Filling in the gaps between gigs is always a pain in the ass.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I have met several animation greats in my travels. I physically bumped into Chuck Jones when I was in Washington, DC. That was the thrill of a lifetime. I also get to work with lots of celebrities who have done voice over work for projects I’ve directed. Last season I was lucky enough to have Bob Camp as my storyboard supervisor
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Eh. Rub some dirt on it. It’ll be like it never happened.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I’ve always got my hand in something. Its a way for me to keep animating.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I still play in a mens hockey league.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Knowing as much as you can about animation, and being able to do all sorts of things in it. This has helped me tremendously. Being able to design, animate, composite, do effects work, edit, sound mix…the more you can do…the more jobs there are available.