What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Robertryan Cory and I’m currently a character designer on SecretÂ Â Mountain Fort Awesome at Cartoon Network.What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Well I started working in animation when I was 15 so it was sort of my firstÂ Â job, but I did have a weird job when I went to college. (Warning this isÂ not PG) I worked for a porn company doing comics and they had me animatingÂ “money shots” for a series called “Pop-up Porn”. It was sort of like a dirtyÂ version of Pop-up Videos on VH1. I remember having to work late one night
and thinking “what am I doing with my life?”. I quit the next day evenÂ though the money was really great.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
That was another job with an incredible crew that really made me push myselfÂ Â because I wanted to earn their respect. Also it’s cool to be involved withÂ Â something that the entire world knowsâ€¦ it even impresses my niece, whichÂ Â means a lot to me.
There was a program during middle school where students would get to animateÂ Â a 30sec spot promoting anti-smoking. I did that 3 years in a row. The 3rdÂ year my short was banned for being vulgar. I had so much fun doing theÂ inappropriate one with my friends and I just thought this is what I shouldÂ do when I grow up.Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
My parents are musicians and they moved around a lot, but I consider AustinÂ TX my home town. I crashed a cartoonist party when I was 15 & I had myÂ sketchbook full of dirty drawings on me. I guess those dudes thought I wasÂ funny and suggested I intern at a local animation studio. I did that for aÂ month before moving up to inbetweening and such.What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I absolutely love design because it bridges math, drawing, research, andÂ problem solving. I like it the best when I’m making myself laugh because IÂ think that joy is transferred to the drawing.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Deadlines! They get worse and worse each year. At the same time people’sÂ expectations of me increase. Everytime I pick up a new show I’m told “youÂ only have a week but we know what you turn in will be amazing”. It causesÂ so much pressure/stress I freeze up for the first couple days and the dayÂ before the deadline I’m cursing my life.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Communicationâ€¦I’m sort of terrible at that. I get so stuck in work mode andÂ drop out of communication with everyone. I also work myself to exhaustionÂ and don’t communicate I’m burnt out and need a break. I can’t seem toÂ balance my work with having a normal life.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
When things are more relaxed I like working on a cintiq, when I’m rushed forÂ a deadline it’s just paper, pencil and a copy machine.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Yeah all the time, I even feel like I’ve worked alongside animationÂ Â greatness (Vincent Waller, Chris Reccardi, Lynne Naylor, Craig Kellman,Â Ralph Bakshi, John Kricfalusi, etc). I was fortunate enough to befriend EdÂ Benedict. I could listen to him talk all dayâ€¦and he WOULD talk all day. HeÂ knew so much about art and we would try to stump each other with obscureÂ illustrators. He would tease me about how my parents should be arrested forÂ giving me such a dumb name, or not knowing how to drive. He made me laugh soÂ hard, but he was also encouraging about focusing on the right things withÂ art. I got busy and lapsed in communication towards the end. My friend AmidÂ warned me that he thought he didn’t have much more time, but I knew Ed wasÂ really sensitive about people disappearing on him and I didn’t want to beÂ yelled at. I put off calling him and he died, I’ve always regretted that. HeÂ was an artist’s artist and super genuine.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
There are too many, I wouldn’t know which one to single out. I will say theyÂ were all my fault. I was so focused on trying to be a good artist that I’mÂ just now learning to be a good human.
Any side projects you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share detailsÂ of?
At any given time I’m juggling several projects, most are abandoned orÂ dissolve before the public ever gets a chance to see them. It’s probablyÂ best to wait until I’m sure they will be seen before I tell anyone, but IÂ can shoot you an email when something exciting is ready.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with yourÂ tongue or metallurgy?
I’m pretty good at yo-yoing and Monopoly. I sometimes record cheesy technoÂ versions of bad 70’s songs for my own pleasure. I included one in theÂ email.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student orÂ artist trying to break into the business?
There are paths in animation and what you ultimately want to do in animationÂ should determine where you try to break-in.