What is your name and your current occupation?
Ed Anderson, CEO Mongadillo Studios
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I was a Caricature artist at a Six Flags amusement park, did that for five Summers in a row.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I’m personally really proud of our original cartoons “Shawks” (The Web Series) and “Holiday Force”, they still make me laugh.
How did you become interested in animation?
I did my Junior year in college as an exchange student at Sheffield Hallam University in England, where I was studying painting. A friend of mine told me that there was a 16mm Bolex camera and Rostrum set up in the Photography building that no one was using. I immediately set out to make an animated film, I asked my professors if they would consider letting me do that instead of painting on canvas and they were very supportive. I spent 6 months working on a 2 minute short called “In”, I got high marks at the end of the year, and I had a blast. I came back, finished my painting degree, but knew what I wanted to do and haven’t done anything else since.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in Houston Texas. And like I said in the above answer, I discovered animation in college. I moved to Oregon after receiving my Bachelor’s degree with the intention of getting my Masters, but decided that I didn’t want more school I wanted to work. So I took a job at a small animation studio in Portland called “Wallace Creative”. I started out doing clean up for digital cel animation on Paper, and moved quickly to assisting and then animation. I worked very hard, and learned a lot there, and after a year and a half or so I took a job as an animator at a software company, and a couple years after that I started my own studio, and have been doing that since 1999.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
These days I work from my home office, and hire contractors who also telecommute. I have contractors in Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, and have recently added one from Sydney Australia. I sit down at around 9am, coffee in hand, and at the moment I am working on three projects, and collaborating on a 4th. I’m also currently preparing some pitches for the TAC in Ottawa. So I divide my time between writing scripts, Animation, designing layouts, animation, Character design, writing technical specs for games we are working on, and designing UI’s. I do a few conference calls a week, as well as countless emails to stay connected to my contractors. I work until 5 or 6, and repeat that process every day.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
My favorite part is still the animation, when I get to focus on that I always have my best day. Today is one of those, I’m animating a cute skunk and some baby chicks with huge heads, its going to be a good day.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
I try not to do things I don’t like, I really have so much to do that theres no reason for me to keep something I hate, I try to farm that out to people that enjoy that kind of thing. I really believe you don’t get good results when you do something you don’t enjoy. But if I had to choose something I guess it would be a lie if I said I enjoy storyboarding, I have never liked doing it as much as some people do, theres just something about it I find tedious and boring. (Sorry to all the board guys out there, PS – Call me I’m always hiring storyboard guys so I can avoid doing them)
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Mac Pro – Quad Core with TONS of RAM, Cintiq 21″ since I went paperless about 4 years ago, never looking back. Software, Alias Sketchbook Pro, Photoshop/Illustrator/Flash CS3 (I’m behind, I know) Â A host of other software, I do game development with Unity 3D and Corona SDK.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Finding good people that want to work and care about what they are doing more than they care about their paycheck. Those people are rare.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I have met Richard Williams, I got to assist on animation done by Ken Mundie in 1997, I once came within minutes of getting to Meet Chuck Jones in LA, but my boss at the time wasn’t willing to wait around. I have never forgiven her for that. I’ve met a lot of great animators, but I don’t like to mention names, since some of the things we were doing could be considered “unsavory”…
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I’ve had plenty, I suppose a work-related situation that was tough was in 2004 after the proverbial “internet bubble” burst I was forced to lay off most of my full time employees due to several contracts all drying up at the same time, that was really tough.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
I am doing a Zombie-themed adventure game for iPhone/Android mobile that is going to blow the minds of anyone who likes Zombie-Lore. That is a really exciting side project. Should be done by Xmas.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Not that unusual really, but I have mechanical abilities, I have an old BMW motorbike that I keep running and ride when the weather is nice, I can fix any engine, as long as its old like me, the newer ones rely too much on computer parts and electronics. I am currently learning the banjo.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Yea, work, take any and all jobs you can get. Say yes to everything, and remember, avoid using the word “style”, there’s nothing I hate more than a kid coming in a saying this is my “style”, or “I’m trying to figure out what my “style” is, all I hear is “These are my habits”, or worse; “this is the rut I’m stuck in”. I can’t hire people who can’t get out of their comfort zone and ADAPT. Also learn to take criticism about your work, but don’t take it personally.