Michael Fry

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What is your name and your current occupation?
Michael Fry.  I write the comic strip Over the Hedge.  And I’m President of RingTales LLC.  RingTales animates print comics for all digital media.  We have the exclusive right to animate Dilbert, The New Yorker Animated Cartoons, Pearls Before Swine, Over the Hedge and many other comics.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I was fortunate to become a full time cartoonist a couple years out of college.   Before that I bar-tended, did a lot of freelance work.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
The DreamWorks Animation version of Over the Hedge. Committed,  a prime time animated series of one of my other comics, produced by Nelvana.

How did you become interested in animation?
I’ve always wanted to see my characters walk and talk.  They walk and talk in my head.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Born in Minneapolis.  Army brat.  Lived all over the country.  Went to college in Texas (Baylor and University of Texas at Austin).
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I write on Hedge.  Post to our blog, Twitter and Facebook.  Edit and upload RingTales animations on line.  Biz-Dev on RingTales.  Work with the talent.  Record voice actors.  Accounting, spread sheets, Reporting.   Not all this every day.   But……some of this everyday.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Producing and Directing the animations.  Working with the creators, actors, animators.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Reporting.  Spreadsheets.  Excel is evil.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Not having the resources to do more animation.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
We use Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, QuickTime mostly.  Our animation is outsourced.  Mostly to Powerhouse Animation in Austin, TX.   I sometimes animate some simpler New Yorker Cartoons myself).
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I was fortunate to work with the folks at DreamWorks.  I think they’re pretty great.   And they did a great job on Hedge.  I just wish they’d do another so I can pay off my kid’s college loans.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Being a syndicated cartoonist is tough.  Tough to get syndicated.  Tough to stay syndicated.   I’ve had four syndicated strips in my career.  2 flopped.  1 did okay.  And one did pretty well.  It’s a marathon.  You have to keep going.  My talents are modest, except for one:  I’m fiercely perseverant.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
I’m directing a short this summer.  It has some green-screen animation in it, but it’s mostly animation.  I’ve optioned a screenplay to produce.  I’ve got a couple other screenplays I’m working on.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I can juggle.  I once played golf to a 7 handicap.  I play the guitar badly.   I do a not bad impression of Christopher Walken.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
It will be tough.  You will want to quit.  But if pay attention and are open to improvement, you will get better.  Tiny signs of encouragement from teachers, mentors, professionals can add up to a career.  It worked for me.


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