What is your name and your current occupation?
Matt Mozgiel, 2D animation generalist–prop and character design, layout and bg paint
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Mostly manual labour stuff, construction, some live action work on corporates and music videos.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Quite frankly, every project I’ve worked on. You always try to find the best reason to love it, even if it ain’t your favourite. Whether it pushes you in new directions for how you draw or think. New technical challenges. Or just filling gaps in your portfolio/resume. We’re drawing here folks, it’s alotta fun. Definitely, the pitches I’ve put together, cuz really, you’re trying to come up with something that gets you excited about the possibility of it. Hotbox was a lot of fun, and very free form. Fuggetaboutit was great, hope to come back for a future season. The Dating Guy was great and I learned a ton on it. Pillars of Freedom was a really good project and my first kid’s show. Also had an amazing time working on some development projects I can’t name yet.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
St.Catharines, Ontario, Canada. I always drew, but I didn’t get into animation school right out of high school. So I did film school as a backup and then worked a variety of jobs while still drawing on the side. I got noticed at a comic con by a recruiter from Max the Mutt School of Animation and Design and was able to work out a deal to go part time while working midnights in a warehouse for 5 years.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Depends on the project. But always good communication, time management trouble shooting and lots of drawing. And whatever music I feel like listening to that day.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Drawing, particularly if I get to do a funny one. I like jokes and goofy drawings, they’re silly and they make me laff, which I think the audience picks up on at home. After all, if it looks like it was fun to draw, it comes through.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Last minute scrambles are never fun. They test your mettle. But sometimes that’s how a team can really pull it together. Always, communication is key.
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?
I work in 2D, so Flash primarily. And photoshop. New versions come out and there’s minor adjustments to interfaces and such. I’ve done a course in ToonBoom and am looking forward to the first show I work on with that. Very interesting software. End of the day, it’s all frame based animation Flash–ToonBoom, it’s the skill of the hands that use it. One over the other isn’t gonna make you a better artist, just different tools.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I love it. So whatever it is, it’s negligible.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Been lucky enough to get my portfolio reviewed by several of my heroes while I was still in school. Really good learning experience. Great advice and good pep talks. You can learn a lot from a short conversation if you’re open and ego-less. But, keep your own head, you have to like what you like.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
The past is the past. Let it lie and face each new day with a ready heart. Put what’s behind you behind you.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I pitched 3 show ideas at TAAFI this year, the animation festival in Toronto. I’m pretty excited about all 3. I was selected to be one of two pitchers to pitch live in front of an audience at the end of the festival with Max Piersieg being the other. Was good times. Working on some notes for those and looking forward to sitting down with a few interested folks over them. Also working on another new one with my friend Kelly Conley. This stuff is fun. We play around with stuff and see what we can make out of it. The best stuff really.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I am immune to hangovers, but I’m not gonna test that one. And I tried to do the cherry stem thing once, impressed the girls who were out, but I never kept up with that. I can do a one handed cartwheel still. Other than that, hobbies these days include the gym and spending time with my dog, Bogey.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Never give up. Never listen to anybody who tells you to give up. Accept and learn from critiques, it’s the only way you’ll grow. Never join your own lynch mob. Be a team player and a professional. Get out and enjoy a day when you have a free one. Let’s make some cartoons!!!