What is your name and your current occupation?
I am Henrique Jardim, currently a storyboard artist at Floyd County Productions on the upcoming animated series “Unsupervised” on FX. It’s a flash animated show made right here in the US of A.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I suppose you could say that what I am now is my crazier job because it’s my first ever ACTUAL job that isn’t freelance. But the oddest gig I’ve had is when an online gambling company from Crete contacted me out of nowhere offering me a freelance storyboard gig. I named a price and they went for it without haggling… that to me was the craziest part. I am part of a new generation of graduates who were released into a disappointing (and scary) job market. Even before graduating, I applied to many franchises like Coldstone, Home Depot, Target, etc. with no luck. With the way things were going, I’m surprised I have a steady animation job currently.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I was an intern at Titmouse over in Hollywood and had a chance to animate on “China, IL” and on “Black Dynamite”. But if I am to be truthful, it means I have to be the self-centered jerk that I am. So my absolute favorite project so far was a short pilot I made produced by Nickelodeon. They were such great people to work with and I was able to create something that was very “me”. The greatest part was that I was in charge of my own art and whatever decision I made mattered.
How did you become interested in animation?
I always wanted to be a pro skateboarder, but I was a lousy skater. Come one summer when I was in 9th grade when all my friends were traveling, I started messing with Macromedia Flash 5 (I bet kids these days have never heard of such a thing). I found myself animating for days straight. The more I did it,the more I became part of a world I never new existed – an online flash animation community. It was all very competitive yet everyone was always very glad for each others’ greater successes.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I am from Piracicaba in Brazil. I got into the animation business because of connections connections connections. Now, that isn’t to say that connections are better than hard work. I had to work really hard to get connections. I worked very hard to hone my skills at every aspect an animation needs – animation, storyboard, backgrounds, writing, voice casting, voice acting, etc.. Thankfully my hard work was noticed by people way more influential than me. Here’s the animation that has gotten me the most recognition so far… it’s also my shortest one:
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Come in, fix the glare, read the scene, take a deep breath, then start storyboarding. Then usually the day after that, it’s: come in, fix the glare, read the revised script, realize that the original storyboards are now useless, take a deep breath, mumble profanities, then start storyboarding.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I’m a total adrenaline junkie. I like the challenge of making a making a bad script good or a good script great. And the simplest decisions can achieve that, or make a disaster for everyone in the crew. I’m cool as hell.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
What I’m doing now is for televisions, so speed sometimes is everything. Because the storyboards is pretty much the blueprint of the animation, we have to make sure that we can make things look good, funny, and also be easy for the crew to animate/paint. I don’t necessarily enjoy having to limit character’s actions or set scenes with a limit on the number of backgrounds I can use. But then again, it is a good challenge sometimes so that can be pretty fun.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The hiatus. I was lucky to find this job in the job market of today, and because I’m just starting out it’s not like I am the most wanted man in the field. So I am a little scared of hiatuses (hiati?) because you never know if production will start back up soon or if you should look for a new job… or a new state to live.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I work with Adobe Flash on a Cintiq. Like I said before, I grew up with it and I was able to make a very strong case to the studio as to why it’s a more efficient storyboard tool. So that is what the story department (4 of us) is using now.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
How convenient that you word it “in your travels”. I was on an 2 week long art program in Tokyo with the incredible character designer/illustrator Shane Glines. His style is so iconic and lovable. It may have been only 2 weeks, but the little techniques he taught us are hard wired into my brain because they were so helpful. We’re totally facebook friends. He also looked a lot like Morpheus from Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” graphic novels, which made him even cooler and mysterious.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
You know you’ve had a good life when you can’t think of a good “tough time” you’ve had in your life. Well, one that isn’t boring is when my buddies and I had a tough-guy competition in middle school. We would all grab a mechanical pencil and see who could carve a drawing into their arm. The one that carved the most was the manliest. This was tough to explain to the teachers that we were not suicidal, but just stupid. Using mechanical pencils was even stupider.
I am trying my hardest to make a film on my free time. I usually made films to experiment with characters and see it as a possible pitch. This film I’m doing (or trying to) is solely for aesthetics and its story. It’s a comedy and will most likely be too short to be in festivals. I also hope to have enough free time one day to train my improv muscle. I also enjoy to slap my girlfriend’s butt when she’s not expecting it.
I can sometimes land a corkscrew frontflip on the trampoline and I can simultaneously raise each of my eyebrows quite fast.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Do great work where you are. Don’t be jealous of other schools or regret you didn’t study somewhere else. No one really cares about your diploma, just your portfolio. Also, always be sure to use common sense. The standard is always changing. Just because you know of an artist that did something in the past that worked, doesn’t mean it’ll work for you now. Use common sense and hell, be a person. Learn what people want to see.