What is your name and your current occupation?
Lauren CarrÂ Assistant Professor 3D Animation Montclair State University.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Telemarketing for chiropractorsÂ â€œMore Balls Than Mostâ€ (juggling company)Â Splatter painting gift boxes.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a partÂ of?
Spirit, Chubb Chubbs, XMen 2, Chicken Little, Bolt, Ice Age, 4Â Rio.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I grew up in New City, NY and studied graphic design at Buffalo State.Â After graduating college, I started working for a website firm in BuffaloÂ doing HTML programming and website design. Website developmentÂ software had not yet been created and the ability to do both graphicÂ design and HTML programming was, at that time, marketable. I likedÂ creating interactive media and decided to get my MFA in ComputerÂ Graphics and Interactive Media from Pratt Institute. The computerÂ graphics part of the department entailed 3D animation and I ultimatelyÂ pursued that path. During my thesis work, I taught broad-spectrum 3DÂ software to undergraduates at Parsons. As I was nearing the end of myÂ thesis, DreamWorks Feature Animation was transitioning their studio toÂ 3D animation; they needed a Maya trainer for their traditional artists. ThatÂ was my first job in the animation business.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
When I worked in production, I started the day checking my render(s) thatÂ I sent to the farm the night before and planning out how to get my shots inÂ for dailies. I recently shifted my career, for the past two years Iâ€™ve been anÂ Assistant Professor in the Animation / Illustration department at Montclair
State University. Each day is considerably diverse; I no longer have theÂ structure I was so used to in production. Certain days I am teaching and Â the other days vary. My new role requires self-motivation, creating workÂ leading to new discoveries benefiting the students and representing theÂ school. For example, Iâ€™m working on a research project doingÂ experimental animation with a poet. I also serve on committees within theÂ university as well as animation / illustration based organizations such as
Women In Animation. I recently acquired a grant for a faculty / studentÂ research project based on combining fine art with 3D software. GrantÂ writing and research projects are new ventures in Lauren world.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I love teaching! Some students start with lots of motivation and someÂ donâ€™t, regardless itâ€™s getting all of them to break their mind-made limitsÂ and persevere through the tough times which is so rewarding.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Students refusing to push themselves.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis, how hasÂ technology changed in the last few years in your field and how has thatÂ impacted you in your job?
Iâ€™ve been working with Maya since it was introduced. Before that I usedÂ Power Animator. Maya has grown its capacity enabling the user to doÂ things only studios were able to achieve, not too long ago. This helpsÂ students with their work since they donâ€™t have access to an R&D
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
With any job itâ€™s important to be grateful for your employment. In theÂ industry itâ€™s never certain if youâ€™ll be working on the next show, this isÂ something you have to accept. Working amongst people who havenâ€™tÂ accepted the nature of the industry, is working with fear-based people. IfÂ your co-workerâ€™s foundation is based on fear then youâ€™re in forÂ amazement.
If you could change the way the business works and is run how wouldÂ you do it?
If I had a magic wand, I would wave it over our government granting themÂ the motivation to give studios tax incentives keeping the work in ourÂ country. I canâ€™t imagine why this isnâ€™t a priority but I am hopeful for theÂ future and itâ€™s vast new areas of employment regarding oculus rift and itâ€™s
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Yes! At DreamWorks when I worked on Spirit, Kelly Asbury and LornaÂ Cook (directors), and Kristof Serrand (animation supervisor) would be atÂ dallies critiquing; they caught things I didnâ€™t know the human eye couldÂ catch. They were incredible.Â At Disney I worked on shows with Glen Keene, an amazingly talentedÂ person. He would give us talks and was at dailies critiquing shots. Mindblowing
insight.Â Describe a tough situation you had in life.Â Iâ€™d rather not get historic. Looking back on bad things is like keepingÂ rotten food in the fridge so I can sniff it.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
Not at this time.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with yourÂ tongue or metallurgy?
I used to be able to tie a cherry stem with my tongue however I havenâ€™t inÂ so long, I would have to practice to get myself back to that aptitude. I wasÂ also able to pull a tablecloth out from under a set table but there again, IÂ havenâ€™t kept up with it and I couldnâ€™t achieve that form of mastery at this
point. I have actually dabbled in metallurgy however my lack of patienceÂ created toxic fumes for uninvolved people. Iâ€™m a measure once cut twiceÂ kind of girl.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artistÂ trying to break into the business?
Donâ€™t think about the competition because if you are persistent andÂ always trying to better yourself you will get where you want to be.