What is your name and your current occupation?
Alan Becker, Freelance animator.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Honestly, my first job was doing animation. Maybe that’s crazy in itself.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Making Animator vs. Animation was probably the one thing that I owe my entire situation to. I made it in 2006 and submitted it to newgrounds.com, ever since then I’ve never had to actively seek animation jobs, they’ve come to me.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Ohio, and I still live here. Like I said above, I got into the animation business when I made Animator vs. Animation. Because of the immense exposure given to me by my viral video, I’ve never had to actively seek animation gigs, people have come to me with them.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
A typical day of freelance animation involves me waking up, animating on my computer for several hours, realizing occasionally that I need food, getting the food, returning to the computer, then realizing it’s getting late, and going to sleep.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I like that I can control when I work and when I don’t work. I don’t have to give my boss a 2 week notice if I plan to travel, I can just go. But deadlines still exist.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Completely unpredictable. It makes it hard to plan any kind of personal budget, because one month I can make 3 month’s worth of income, the next month I’ll make nothing. I would prefer to have a stable job.
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?
Standard Adobe products such as Flash, Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere. They haven’t changed too much in the past few years.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Being a freelancer I wouldn’t really consider myself “part of the business”.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I got to meet the producer of Rango, John Carls, as well as the executive producer and supervising director of Family Guy, Mark Hentemann and Dom Bianachi. I didn’t travel to meet them, though, they visited my school, Columbus College of Art and Design. I’m still in contact with John Carls, because he liked the concept of Animator vs. Animation.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Honestly, although I’ve had plenty of ups and downs, I can’t say anything stands out as being tough enough to share.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I had a phase where I was obsessed with 3D photography, and everywhere I went I would take pictures, one to the right and one to the left, so I could put them together and let anyone see it in 3D by crossing their eyes. Unfortunately technology hasn’t advanced to the point where anyone at home can view 3D photos without having to cross their eyes, so my photos have a very small audience of appreciators. Another project I have is recreating the bathhouse from Spirited Away in Minecraft. Although Minecraft is typically associated with young teenaged and preteen gamers, I see it as an infinite 3D canvas that I can walk through as I’m creating it. I’ve been in love with Spirited Away since I first saw it, and I’ve always wanted to recreate the feeling of being there, in a building so huge, filled with elements of old Japanese architecture. I’ll be working on it for a long time before I’m satisfied with it.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
This is so unlike my character but I’ve become famous among my friends for the zombie dance, where I writhe on the floor like a zombie, often giving myself scrapes and cuts whenever I do it. I don’t remember the first time I did it, but for some reason its become something people ask me to do whenever there’s a dance circle of some sort.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?Ask advice from as many people as you can. Research who’s in the industry and ask how they did it. It’s an amazing resource to be able to talk to people who started out in your same position but managed to work their way into the business. Every person has their own method or path, so it’s good to hear from a number of people.