Chris O’Hara

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What is your name and your current occupation?
Chris O’Hara and I’m an animator at Boulder Media.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
My father is a stonemason so I spent many of my teen years working with him during the summer. It was tough work but I’m glad I did it because it really makes me appreciate how lucky I am now to be working in animation.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
The best show I’ve worked on has been “The Amazing World of Gumball” which I animated between 2010-2011. It was a really fun and well written Cartoon Network show and was great to work on. It was good to see rewarded with an Annie award recently, along with several other awards.
How did you become interested in animation?
Like most animators I’ve been drawing obsessively since I was a child and I always knew I’d enter an artistic profession, it was just a matter of finding the right one. Initially I was looking at getting into graphic design but as soon as I found out about animation it was the only thing I wanted to do!

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from a small town called Longford, located in the middle of Ireland and I was lucky enough to get my first animation job in the summer after my second year of studies in college. It was on an educational flash game and looking back on it it wasn’t the most groundbreaking of stuff but I really learned a lot from it.

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I’m working on a Disney TV series at the moment so I basically have a set amount of scenes to get through each week and the day consists of me getting through those scenes with the odd tea and table tennis breaks in between!

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I enjoy the opportunity to make people laugh and any chance I get to do that on a show I’m working on is great, especially if it’s more of a visual type of humour, which I think animation is such a great tool for.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Retakes on scenes can be frustrating. Though more often than not they do improve a shot sometimes they can feel unnecessary.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I mainly work with Adobe flash, both at home and in work.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I guess some people taking advantage of your passion for your job. Unfortunately some people think that because you’re doing something you enjoy they don’t need to reward you with the appropriate compensation, and similarily studios exploiting young animators for the same reason.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I met Nick Park and David Silverman at an animation party at the Annecy Animation Festival in France a couple of years ago which was great.


Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I remember during the summer break of college one year I had to make a tough decision to work in a great studio on my own personal project for the summer without pay or work on a less inspiring commercial show in a different studio with pay. Unfortunately I couldn’t afford to work without a wage and consequently chose the less creative option, a decision which I still somewhat regret but, unfortunately, I really didn’t have a choice.

Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
I always try to work on my own personal projects in my free time, it’s that work that I enjoy the most. I recently finished a short film which I’m currently sending around to festivals.

Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Not very unusual but I really enjoy playing football(soccer) and I play with a group of guys from Boulder Media. We also play the odd 11-side match against other animation studios from Dublin.

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
We all want to work in the area we enjoy the most and I think its important to strive to achieve that but for someone trying to break into the industry for the first time its so important to get that “foot in the door”, which may mean sometimes taking on projects you may not be too enthusiastic about, but its by doing these projects and proving yourself and your skills that affords you the opportunity to pick and choose work later down the line.

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