What is your name and your current occupation?
My name’s Noam Sussman and I’m currently working as a freelance character designer, illustrator and animator. I make animated films in my free time!
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I used to massage old ladies’ feet for money. But not actually… I havent had any super crazy weird jobs, I haven’t had to sell my body yet luckily. But I worked at an animation day camp teaching Flash animation to kids, and I worked at a theme park doing caricatures.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I animated a birthday card for JibJab that was a lot of fun, as well as this Christmas card for Guru studio. Oh and a pilot for Tinman Creative which was also really fun to do. I’ve also been doing illustrations for Stride gum packages.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I live in Thornhill, a suburb of Toronto. And I went to Sheridan College to study animation, and I met a lot of animation people at this end-of-the-year industry day event the school put together in 4th year, so it was a good opportunity to network and slowly get into the animation business. Also in 3rd year I interned at Chuck Gammage Animation studio and that opened some doors because everyone knows and loves Chuck.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Some days I do nothing, I sleep in, I wake up and eat a toasted bagel with peanut butter and banana slices. Other days I wake up at 8AM, eat breakfast and jump onto the computer to do my work. I take lots of breaks and play guitar, sometimes I go for a walk, or I just stretch on the floor. If it’s work that I can do in my sketchbook, then I bike to a cafe and do my work there, if it’s not freezing out..
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I like being able to do what I love for monies. It’s a good opportunity to be creative. I think that’s why most people get into animation cuz you get to draw all day!
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
You draw all day! haha it’s fun but it can be tiring too, after a while it’s still Work that you gotta do.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis, how has technology changed in the last few years in your field and how has that impacted you in your job?
I use a Cintiq, I animate in Flash and do my design work in Photoshop. I use Premiere and AE and Soundbooth for compositing and sound work. The great thing about today’s technology is that you can literally make an entire animated film on your own, in your house, in your PJ’s, and you can take breaks and pick your nose for an hour if you wanted to.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
A lot of times you have to get work done for a deadline, and you dont always feel like drawing and you dont always feel creative, so you gotta just force yourself to do it, and usually the results are better when there’s more time put into it. But sometimes pressure is good.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I met Bill Plympton in Brooklyn, my film screened before a documentary about him and his work. I met Willie Real, he’s super nice and super talented. A bunch of us get together and draw comics with Marlo Meekins, Nick Cross, Jamie Mason and Rex Hackelberg, they’re great! Also I once had an extremely short and somewhat awkward conversation with John K…it was still enjoyable though.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I was stranded on a boat with a tiger for a couple of months, but after a while I made him into a rug that is now in my living room next to my leather couch. Needless to say, it was hard to fight him to death especially with my cat allergies and all, but with enough tequila you can do anything. Another time I stepped on a Lego piece. But more recently a wisdom tooth came out and I was not sure how to handle it.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I’m working on a pitch for a TV show, as well as another short film I’m excited about ! Once in a while I animate a loop for loopdloop ,it’s a lot of fun. And I’ve created another blog with a couple of friends and it’s about mindfulness and happiness.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I can move my ears, separately, one at a time. I can also make this high pitched trumpet-like sound with my mouth. Sometimes I caw loudly and move my arms up and down like a crow.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Draw a lot, draw from life, draw your friends, carry a sketchbook everywhere. Try new things. Be nice and friendly to everyone. Push your work online so it gets more and more exposure. Enjoy what you do, and always do what you wanna do! Also it’s important to take breaks and not take things too seriously. This is probably all pretty obvious but sometimes it’s good to have a reminder.