What is your name and your current occupation?
Kali Fontecchio and I currently work at Walt Disney Animation as a designer.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Well nothing too crazy, my first job out of high school was actually as an art director on a cellphone massive multiplayer game. It was before anyone was doing that in the US so it didn’t really take off.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
My favorite projects have been here at Disney, but I’m not allowed to discuss them. Of the ones I can mention, probably The Looney Tunes Show, Yo! Gabba Gabba, Rick and Morty and various John K. projects. I’m proud of every opportunity I get, but whatever the most current project I’m on becomes my favorite.
How did you become interested in animation?
Watching Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny growing up inspired my love of cartoons, also lots of Disneyland. After that, seeing John Kricfalusi’s Björk video ‘I Miss You’ is what made me interested in actually considering animation as a lifestyle.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from El Segundo California, one of the few I know in an animation whose been in LA all along. I went to Otis College of Art + Design, and I studied under John K. and he gave me my first opportunities. I worked hard to get better and work my way up. I’m still trying to get better!
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
The Cintiq sucks out my soul, haha no. But actually, yes, lots of staring into the infinitesimal screen. Blinking is important, and I tell everyone I know, your brain forgets to blink when staring at a screen. I wouldn’t trade it for anything though, I get to draw all day!
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Drawing fun poses, for some reason there’s nothing better than that for me. Drawing fun means I’m having fun, and what’s better than that? I answered a question with a question, whoops!
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Sitting inside a dark room makes me antsy sometimes. Lunch usually rectifies my need to look dreamily at passing clouds. Walking around a bit too, need more walking around.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Cintiqs, mac pros running Photoshop, Painter, Flash…etc.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Being tied down to one area… I’d love to live in different places if I could, but probably not anytime in the near future.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I’ve been lucky enough to meet and work with so many great people: John K, Mark Mothersbaugh, Paul Rudish, Weird Al Yankovic, Jim Smith, Vincent Waller, Bill Kopp, Mike Judge, Rob Schrab, Matt Danner, Gary Owens, Fred Crippen, Eric Bauza, Stu Livingston, Brianne Drouhard… I could list everyone I’ve ever worked with and met, because everyone I’ve worked with and met is great. Never thought I’d be so lucky.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I’d rather not get too personal. Everyone has something they’ve had to deal with, some more than others. Dealing with unexpected hardships can really weigh you down, so it’s hard to remember to focus on what’s important. Never lose sight of who you are when that happens.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
Well… I love to draw and all, but playing guitar and singing is my special love! Currently, I am working on a debut album. It’ll have special guests and everything! I’m getting help from my pals in The Manx, who I sometimes play with… like on their upcoming album, in fact! I also like to do stuff for Channel 101, I’ve worked on several animation odds and ends, most recently their new intro for their monthly screening. Last year I did an super short piece that you can read more about.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I can do all sorts of bizarre vocal warbling, mostly ghost imitations. Cartoon ghosts, that is.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business? Practice all the time! Never stop drawing! Try to meet as many people in animation as you can! Stop, drop, and roll!