What is your name and your current occupation?
Lucky De, Freelance 2d Flash Animator for web/TV .
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Oh I dont know… Construction worker in Toronto in December was fun, Bartender at a Navy bar where you see buff guys singing pre school songs at midnight that was also fun… Or pushingÂ trolleysÂ at the supermarket, i used to get 2 at a time, one for each leg and slide down the hill, that was totally fun. Man really most of the crappy jobs were fun as long as I didn’t take them seriously!
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Oh a bunch, I loved working with Stephen Brooks on the Ghostbusting Wallstreet short, that was really great. When I was interning at Flux at a young age we did a show which took 4 weeks to make usually in 2, because I was so fast at flash, I was bad at drawing but I knew my shortcuts! Also being a part of the top 3 people in my uni who got to pitch their own idea for an animated series and talking to Rita Street on making cartoon bibles was also an incredible experience! I still have that bible when one day I feel confident in my writing enough to make my own series!
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Right now I’m in New Zealand, originally from Bulgaria, I’ve always loved animation and I got my first break at 16 when a local company was looking for extra flash hands in a series they were working on. It was an amazing experience, kind of miss those times… there was a lot more work around.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Wake up at 6, draw, coffee, go do the boring day job, draw when boss isn’t watching, run to dancing lessons, do freelance work till 2am, repeat! Hoping that some day soon animation can be my full time job again, but for now this is my schedule.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The clients, the variety of work and requests I get. It keeps it fun , it keeps itÂ interestingÂ keeps me discovering new things I can do, or new styles I should look into.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
The fact that it’s unstable, the gaps between clients, clients asking free work, clientsÂ disappearingÂ upon requesting payment. If one day all of the above stop I can quit the day job, and I can’t wait!
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?
Well most of the Adobe Suite, as well as sketchbook pro. I think most of the suite has changed for the best, apart from flash which has become more and moreÂ over complicatedÂ for no reason. I stillÂ preferÂ to use Flash 8 or 2004 .
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I supose being in a location where there aren’t that many studios, so things like long term studio experience is a lot harder to achieve.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Well a bit sure, again getting a studio executive to review my cartoon bible was amazing. Also having worked on a pitch for a tv series with animators from LA even though it was 2 scenes was incredible! I loved working with other people’s assets and the collaboration factor of animation is amazing! I made a popup card http://tinyurl.com/atpopup which got featured in the adventure time fanart gallery inÂ comic conÂ One other thing I shouldn’t forget to mention is getting a personal reference letter from Stephen Silver, in the below story!
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
In order to describe it I need to give a bit of back story. When I was young I made a goal that I wanted to work in North America in order to be trulyÂ successfulÂ in animation , so I started saving money and thanks to my parents for funding me more than half of the funds I managed to have enough saved up to go to Max the Mutt in Toronto, which was an animation school. I LOVED Toronto, I loved everything about it, the people, the location, the huge goals everyone had, coming from a small city this was an incredible way of thinking I wanted to be a part of. Â However after about a year my funds ran out, and the “scholarship” the school was offering I found out only in the end was offered only toÂ CanadiansÂ Afterwords a company offered me a chance for a work visa in exchange for animating explainer videos, and I took it in a heart beat, however on on the same day as the offer my mac died. Fully died, so I had a choice, do I use my plane ticket money on a plane, or on the new pc hoping this visa thing might work out. I chose option 2, and spent the next 3 months on a diet of cereal while working on the ads! But turns out the company was lying and were never going to offer me the work visa, they just wanted some cheap help. So I spent another 2 months on cereal and trough a lot of under the table animation work I got enough money to buy a ticket back to New Zealand. Â Then over the next… year I think I was pretty down in the dumps trying to figure out a way to get back to Toronto, till I started emailing every animation company I could find, asking if they need any extra help! No responce , so I made them all custom popup cards! (30! http://tinyurl.com/popups1 ) And put in the amazing reference letter from Stephen Silver, also my portfolio in a slide out cd. I got 2 responses offering me work! But then when they found out I’m not IN Toronto they said yeah maybe not… So in 6 months I made another 10 with the remainder of my overdraft and the help of a small indiegogo campaign I got 10% of the funds from – http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/popups-for-toronto . I got 1 response saying they’re not even an animation house, and an animation test from 9 story, which didn’t have any shows in the works at the time so they said they’ll call me when they need someone. Which is all good, better than the other 8 not responding at all. Â Well I’m still aiming for Toronto, even though it’s been 4 years since i’ve been there, I wont really stop and that’s what I’d just like to say is that IÂ don’tÂ believe in quitting and the more obstacles I get thrown the more I think this HAS to be worth it! In the mean time while trying I achieved some amazing thing, like work with Mukpuddy, who I’ve been wanting to work with since I was super young,Â exhibitingÂ my own works twice in art expos, teaching life drawing(I know i know iÂ don’tÂ know how I got it), teaching flash to kids who love to learn. But most of all I still remember the director of Max the Mutt Maxine sitting me down at the end of year one and saying… “You know maybe animation isn’t for you”. I want to walk trough the front door of that school now with my resume to see her face, or even better walk in there in a year with my resume and a full time job in Toronto animating, that.would.be.amazing.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
An Indie game I’m slowly developing with a friend, I think games are a super interesting way to do storytelling, and I’ve always wanted to try them. Always been a huge LucasArts 90s Point and Click fan!
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Haha, dancing. I do a lot of that when not doing the other things, it’s like animating, but you’re the marionette, and you have to control (or not!) your movements in sync with others. There’s something magical about that.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Stick with it! This business is super unstable in my own opinion. You’ll get periods where you’re full time employed, when you’re part time employed, where youÂ haven’tÂ had work in so long you forget what clean up is. But work comes back with persistence and when it does it always feels amazing. Oh and don’t take yourself seriously!