What is your name and your current occupation?
Andrea Preda, Director on Children´ animated series.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I have never done any other job, just fell into this one by accident. I really was just searching for a job where I can draw, because I adored drawing. These days, as a director and producer, I very seldom draw anymore.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I worked mostly for the German Market, Captn¨t Blaubear (won a golden Bear award), and Dieter (the most extreme fun I had with, it was a story about a band called “Modern Talking”), are some features that I will always treasure. At the studios in Hungary , I worked on “All dogs go to Heaven 2” and “The penguin and the pebble”. I was very much at the start of my career at the time in the early 90´s, and I had some incredible supervisors from Don Bluth. This was a really great foundation for me.
How did you become interested in animation?
Bambi . Took my breath away as a child, and ever since I saw it in the cinema at the age of five, I started scribbling on every surface available (furniture, walls, and only occasionally, on paper. I drove my mother nuts)
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born In Romania. I always dreamed of getting out during the communist regime. I hated restrictions. There has been a revolution in 1989 where they shot our leader (live on national television) and very shortly after that the borders were opened to all, so I could go to explore. My next stop was Budapest-Hungary, where I was searching for ANY job involving drawing. Few months after being there there was a young studio searching for interns. There were eighty two applicants, and only three positions to be filled. There has been a test that had to be done on site. One week later, I was one of those three people who got through, and on the day they communicated this to me, I felt like I just took a trip to the moon. I stayed in Hungary for five years, taking up jobs in Inbetweening first, then Clean-Up and Animation, and meeting people from Layout and background departments, who gave me an insight in their jobs as well. It was fascinating to learn about all these things, it was all so new to me. I piled up on reading material, tons of books on Animation. After this five year session, my globe trotting in the business has started: Germany, Taiwan, Sweden, Australia, South Korea, China, India, etc. Many people think it is glamorous to be in different countries every other year. And I think they are absolutely right in thinking this. I enjoy being in new places, or returning to places that I have been previously, meeting a team I used work with and starting again on another project with them, or meeting totally new teams discovering their strengths and weaknesses , it is simply wonderful. I love dealing with people who are devoted to what they are doing.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
In the morning as I drink my first coffee, I know exactly what I have on my agenda for the whole day, for each department. Then, around 11 AM, I get an avalanche of tasks above my own tasks, to solve, look at, discuss, etc. When everyone goes home late afternoon, I get a bit of peace and continue with what I originally had on my agenda in the morning. This continues into midnight, and mostly on weekends.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Spontaneity. The fact that I have to react quickly in so many departments in practically the same time, energizes me.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
I do not like politics between clients, pre-production companies, sub-contractors, etc. Why? Because I was raised to be honest. And as I learn, many people do not like to hear the truth about production faults, even if I wrap it up nicely in cotton ball. I am of course working on this, getting better every day.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
The past eighteen years, ten of which I was working as supervisor, I was purely a 2D person, all hand drawn material to check, making sketches for aiding the artists working with me. The past four years, I have been working on Flash productions combined with After Effects. I do terribly miss the sound of the rolling paper on a peg-bar, and the smell of a freshly sharpened pencil. But , got to move with the times, and I can still have my graphite and paper fun in my own time, if I decide to.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
1). I guess the most difficult part is not being able to watch cartoons for entertainment. I am always on the look-out for mistakes, either in Layout orientation, animation hook-ups, colour pops, strobing camera moves, sliding feet, growing eyes, shrinking heads, bad cuts, inappropriate sound FX, etc. 2).Another bad thing is not being able to remember all the people´s names when you are on an assignment at a studio with 100+ Employees. It is really embarrassing. 3). I always wanted to have a cat or a dog. But since I am every year in a different country, this is not possible.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
When I worked in Sydney, I took “sick leave” from the studio to attend a Richard Williams masterclass. I had the time of my life, but could not share my experience with my co-workers. It was eating me alive. This was of course, long ago.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I don´t recall any “real” tough ones that I could not overcome. So far all is good, I have a loving family, and I am basically happy.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
When I am in the mood, I paint. Just to let my emotions out. I sleep with a sketchbook and pencil beside me, in case I dream something awesome that could be translated visually and emotionally into a short film. So far, this has not happened. But if it does happen, It will be all traditional old school style, I think.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I do not have unusual talents or hobbies, just a human being who finds happiness in certain things. I love cooking with all my senses, feeding people, and I adore figure skating. I don´t eat cherries and know absolutely nothing about metallurgy:)
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Yes, do love what you do. Be flexible, and go with the flow as much as you can. I started in this business as an intern, and it has helped me tremendously, not just to understand the various departments, but also observe great masters at work and learn from them. Nobody will be able to take away from you what you have learned. It is all accumulating inside you.