Garrett O’Donoghue

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What is your name and your current occupation?
Garrett O’Donoghue. I’m a storyboard artist for film, commercials and television.


What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
During college I was a nurse’s aide in a home for adults with profound learning difficulties, swept floors in warehouses and did some factory work. I also (briefly) tasted beer professionally but that part of my life is a bit of a blur now….


What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
It’s a show I’ve just finished working on that should be an absolute riot, but we’re not allowed to talk about it yet.


Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Limerick in Ireland. I studied animation in Dublin in the early nineties when the industry was booming and left college just as Bluth upped-sticks and headed for Arizona. Great time to be looking for an entry level job, right?


What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I work from home, so it’s just me and the dog during the day. I try to get going by ten. Drinking coffee, listening to the radio and drawing – that’s pretty much it. The wife’s home by eight usually and I try to be done by then.


What part of your job do you like best? Why?
To me, the fun of storyboarding is about finding what’s not in the script. It’s those little beats you come up with that bring the characters to life. I love that.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Every once in a while, a show will just get on top of you time wise. Bye bye weekend!


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 started working digitally about five years ago. I draw in Photoshop on a Cintiq. It’s definitely faster and it’s nice being able to pull in backgrounds and re-size characters – but I miss the nuance of pencil and the tooth of paper. That’s nostalgia speaking – I probably wouldn’t know where to start if I went back to pen and paper now.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Whiners and complainers. It’s always some bloke whose career as a jazz percussionists or never took and felt into a cartooning gig. No-one puts a gun to your head and says, “You have to do this.” You get paid to draw (mostly) fun stuff. I used to work with a Lithuanian animator who’d been a fireman at Chernobyl. I asked him once which he liked better, loading lead bricks onto a helicopter during a nuclear meltdown or animating. He said he LOVED animating! It’s all about perspective. It’s going to be hard work and sometimes you’ll have long days but it’s a very rewarding career. You get out what you put in.


If you could change the way the business works and is run how would you do it?
Some productions will get you on a hamster wheel of revisions when you’re freelance. That’s never fun.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I got to meet Chuck Jones while I was still studying, he came to our college and shared some great stories. I’ve worked with some great people since but then were just people at work who didn’t wash their hands after they used the potty.

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
About ten years ago the work just dried up for me for over a year and the self-doubt really started to creep in.

Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I wrote a kids book about two years ago that I’m illustrating with my friend VJ Comando at the moment. We’re also getting ready to pitch it to some networks.

Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I own thirty two flashlights, which I admit is thirty one more flashlights than I really need. That’s a hobby right?

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?Don’t be in a rush to learn a style, it can be an awful crutch. Slick drawing is not the same as good drawing. Learn solid draftsmanship and composition. That and learn to type, you’ll be writing a lot of emails.

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