Kareem Omii Thompson

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What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Kareem Omii Thompson, and I am a production designer in the animation industry as well as an independent film maker.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
While in school I’ve worked quite a few, even 2-3 at a time. I would say the wildest experience was being a security guard in a hospital.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
One in particular would be directing a pilot for Disney XD called Hood. Worked with the brilliant creator Howie Shia and a super talented crew of artists; Lillian Chan, Jon Ng, Louis Norris, Shaz Lym, Lubomir Arsov, Ben Plouffe, Kay Huang, Steve Bar,Pasquale La Montagna, oh and Kenny Ng.


Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in Toronto Canada, but raised in Queens NYC. Moved back to Canada when I was 20 and attended Sheridan College.  Graduated from the Classical Animation program there in 2005. I have been in it ever since.


What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Drawing…all day.


What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Drawing…all day

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Drawing…all da…kidding.  Hard to find things I dislike.  It’s pretty amazing to be my age now and to get paid for something I did all the time as a child. My fountain of youth I suppose.


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 pretty much use the standard issue. Photoshop and a Cintique.  I still draw on paper from time to time because it still is the best medium to use in my opinion.  My current gig I am also using Toonboom.


In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Yes, and they all lived to regret it. I would say my peers from school, and at work. A few years ago I had the pleasure of working for an artist whom I looked up to for years, Ricardo Curtis over at House of cool studios.  It was a great learning experience working for a solid creative force like him and the collection of talent that was gathered there.


Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Finishing college.  Besides working several part time jobs and school full time, I almost didn’t finish because I couldn’t afford it.  I was very VERY fortunate to have a great year of friends, classmates, teachers and other faculty to come together and help me with tuition.  Basically now I have no choice but to succeed because they believed in me 😉


Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I have been getting myself more involved in film making (live action).  I have written, directed, produced my own projects from  music videos, to my 1st short film called Modern Romance-The Affair which was recently in the Reeworld film festival here in Toronto.  I have also had the opportunity to produce a couple of spots for Much Music over the past year as well.  I would say studying and working in the animation world has given me a unique perspective on this new venture.  I am currently preparing to shoot my second short film this summer.


Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
A few.  Most of them I cannot mention since they are illegal in 8 counties, 37 states, and 9/12 provinces. I have said too much.

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?

Nah just give up, I don’t need you coming in here trying to steal my job…again I kid.  I am sure by now most of you have heard all the clichéd words of encouragement like keep working hard, never give up, etc.  They are all clichéd phrases because they are all well in fact true.  Study and cultivate your art. Live life and be bold because fortune will favor you.  Also it helps to bathe on the regular, brush your teeth, and wear fresh gear.


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