What is your name and your current occupation?
Barry Ward – Owner of Bardel Entertainment Inc. (23 yrs.)- Inker and painter, color stylist, I&P supervisor, production coordinator and production manager (17 yrs)
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
As I started in animation when I was 17 the only other jobs I had were picking fruit in the Okanagan and working in a manufacturing company in Montreal sand-blasting mermaids and sailfish on shower doors.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I started my career in 1971 in Montreal at Potterton Productions and I worked on a ton of cool projects there, I also worked in Toronto, Ottawa and vancouver. A couple of my personal favorites were the first Heavy Metal Movie and festival shorts lik
e Sing Beast Sing and Anajam for Marv Newland at International Rocketship in Vancouver. We started Bardel in 1988 and we’ve done lots of cool service projects for small independent producers and Major international studios. Some of these include shorts for Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Animation Festival, Space Jam, Prince of Egypt, Ren and Stimpy, Tiny Toons, and Mucha Lucha, Planet Sheen and Bob’s Burgers. It’s hard to say which ones were the coolest as they were all so different and cool for different reasons. I also really liked producing our own stuff like Christmas Orange, Dragons, Fire and Ice and metal Ages, and our most recent series Zekes’s pad.
How did you become interested in animation?I was actually much more interest in fine art growing up and kind of fluked my way into animation.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?In Victoria BC where I was born, I was always into drawing and painting but couldn’t find any work as an artist there so I left for Montreal to find my fame and fortune. I soon realized that it wasn’t much easier to find a creative job there, than in BC. Then while I was working at a manufacturing company I ran into a school buddy who was living in Montreal and painting cels. He hated it and preferred selling his paintings door to door than getting paid $1.50 and hour painting cels. He has now become a very successful fine artist so it was the right decision for him. I was making the same at the factory so I jumped at the chance to take over his job. From my first day at the studio I knew that this was where I wanted to be.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?There is no typical day now as a studio owner (except that I’m either on the phone or traveling a lot) or I’d have to say while I worked in production. I guess the only real routine to the day was that we were continually putting out production fires. The evenings actually had much more of a routine of going out with the crew and partying. This I still try to do whenever I can.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?Interacting with the talented artists that I have had the privilege of working with for the last 40 years.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?Having to put on the knee pads and begging for work to keep everyone fed. Most presidents or owners have to become glorified salesmen if they want to keep their studio doors open.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?The inconsistency of work. It’s always seems to be either feast or famine for both the artists and myself.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?I did all of my work on a wooden desk with a back lit disk in the middle of it, working on acetate sheets called cels. Now my company works in a totally paperless pipe line. All the drawing work that we do is on cyntiqs but the basic skills are the same as the old days. The 2D animation is produced digitally in either flash or harmony. The CG department of course uses computers and many different programs depending on the work they are doing.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?I’ve had the privileged of meeting many of worlds renowned talent Like Richard Williams etc.but in my world we are all part of the same community and greatness is seldom recognized by anyone else other than our colleagues.How many of the public know who Glen Keane is?
Describe a tough situation you had in life.Working in animation is always challenging and often stressful but there are no tough situations that can’t be over come for anyone who loves what they do. I’ve always love what I do so I’m not going to whine about adverse situations. They come and they eventually go.
Any side projects you’re working on you’d like to share details of?I’m not developing any personal projects at the moment but my partner who is head of development at our studio is working on developing some great properties. I would have to let her tell you about them though.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?Diligence in perfecting the skill, perseverance in dealing with the ups and down of the industry and a positive attitude to the work and your team mates. These traits will get you through and with some luck thrown you’ll become successful.