What is your name and your current occupation?
Jean Ann Wright, Animation Pre-Production Consultant/Author (“Animation Writing and Development”, Voice-Over for Animation” along with MJ Lallo, 6 chapters in “Write Your Way Into Animation and Games” by Christy Marx).
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Professional Dancer, Telephone Information Operator, Game Show Production Assistant, and (during a break in animation jobs) Buyer of all the cars and trucks on “The Price Is Right” game show.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
“The Flintstones”, “The Jetsons”, “Scooby Doo”, “The Smurfs”
How did you become interested in animation?
I had been interested in writing and illustrating children’s books, but animation provided a full time job and my various somewhat unrelated skills could be used.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in Canton, Ohio, (USA) but I grew up in Burbank, California (home of the Disney Studios) and grew up with kids whose fathers’ worked for Disney. I had just finished an art major after returning to college when my kids were young, and Hanna-Barbera shows were scheduled to fill all three television networks’ programming that coming fall…the company was desperate for animator’s assistants. They were eager to train us from scratch.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I am now semi-retired and work when a client needs help with an original project they want to get ready to pitch and sell.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The creativity and the freedom from full time work at this point in time.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The most difficult part of the animation business has always been the constant threat of no work…projects ending and being out of work until companies are ready to gear up again. This is no longer a problem for me now but it certainly is for the animation industry as a whole.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
My laptop only.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Have I met animation greats?…yes. One of the first people to help me with writing and story development at Hanna-Barbera was Tex Avery. Unfortunately, he passed away shortly afterwards with an ambulance carrying him away from his office at the studio.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I’ve been pretty lucky. Looking for work was always tough for me.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
I love to travel. But you might like to know that I became interested in the blind when I was in college and had a summer job as drama director at a camp for blind kids. I’m now learning Braille with the hope of transcribing books and helping the visually impaired community. I’ve also gotten back to my acting roots recently and performed a bit locally.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I used to be able to tie cherry stems with my tongue, but I’m afraid I’m out of practice.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Go into animation only if you really love the work and you’re able to ride out the many ups and downs in the business. It’s great fun when you’re working!