Edwin Poon

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What is your name and your currentoccupation?

My name is Edwin Poon; Animation Director at Big Bad Boo Studios, and Animation Instructor at Vancouver Film School in Vancouver, Canada.

 

What are some of the crazier jobs you had beforegetting into animation?
When I was studying in Nottinghamshire, England back in the early 90’s; Iused to chop firewood, as a volunteer, for low income elderly families.  I almost lost the tip of my left thumb over a wood chopping accident, good thing they were able to save my thumb.

 

What are some of your favorite projects you’reproud to have been a part of?
In my very first animation contract, I worked as a Digital Ink and PaintArtist at Mercury Filmworks Vancouver (when they were in town), and I had thepleasure of digitally ink and painting the WB feature “Looney Tunes Back InAction”.  I was over the moon at seeing the actual hand drawn animation for the film, and having had the opportunitiesin fixing a few of the drawings myself!  I worked on both seasons of Kid Vs Kat as Build Supervisor at DHX MediaVancouver, and it was definitely one of my favorite projects!  I especially enjoyed working closely with Rob Boutilier (Creator) on the Intro and Cut-scenes animation for the Kid Vs Kat iPadgame.  I am still hoping for a 3rd seasonin the near future!  I have recently wrapped up on the 2nd season of “1001 Nights”at Big Bad Boo Studios.  Our show camefirst at MIP Junior 2011 – Top 30 most requested programs, and I am veryproud to be part of the “1001 Nights” team! 

 

How did you become interested in animation?
Even though I have always enjoyed watching cartoons, and doodling sinceI was young;  I have never thought of becoming an animator until I came to Canada. Fine Artist was what I wanted to become, however, it’s very hard to make aliving. After my graduate degree at Simon Fraser University, I decided to attend Vancouver Film School to learn Classical Animation, and the rest was history. 

 

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in Hong Kong and lived there until I moved to Nottinghamshire,England at the age of 15.  I was inEngland for 5 years studying my GCSEs and A-Levels. In 1994, I followed my parents and immigratedinto Vancouver, Canada where it’s been my home since.  During my year at Vancouver Film School, I worked really hard in learning all I can about Classical Animation; and sixmonths after graduating, I landed my first contract job at Mercury Filmworks ata Digital Ink and Paint Artist.

 

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Being an Animation Director, a typical day would involve Posing andAnimation approvals, answering questions and problem solving.  More importantly, inspiring and working with ateam of talented artists who are just as passionate about animation as I am, inproducing the best show that we are capable of.  Being an Animation Instructor, a typical day would involve teaching anddelivering lectures, answering questions and problem solving.  More importantly, inspiring and working with aclassroom full of future artists who are, hopefully, just as passionate aboutanimation as I am, in producing the best student projects that they are capableof.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Inspiring and working with a team of talented artists who are just as passionate about animation as I am. Why?  Because it’s fun!

 

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
The ever shrinking budgets and deadlines.  I don’t think I need to explain why here.

 

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Both Mac and PC for systems; ToonBoom, Harmony and Adobe Flash for softwares.

 

What is the most difficult part for you about beingin the business?
Layoffs and job insecurity are both pretty tough parts of the animation industry. While you are working, it’salso hard to have a balanced life style because you are working all the time.  However, try to look at the brightside of life, because it sure ain’t bad making cartoons for a living! 

 

In your travels, have you had any brushes withanimation greatness?
Marv Newland, one of my instructors when I studied at Vancouver FilmSchool.  He is animation greatness!  Robin Budd, a fantastic director.  Imet him during a business meeting at Nelvana in Toronto, and had the honour ofsitting in one of his editing sessions. Definitely one of best directors of our time.

 

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
When my mother-in-law and my wife both had major surgery within the sameyear. It changed my perspective on the importanceof health and family in life.

 

Any side projects you’re working on or hobbiesyou’d like to share details of?
I have been working on a couple of pitches, and hopefully they willtranslate into cartoon shows in the near future.

 

Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I am pretty good with my hands, but terrible with my feet, ingeneral.  I can juggle, spin a pen around thumb, spin a book on my finger tips, and I have won a local snooker tournament in Vancouver.  That’s my one and only trophy at home!

 

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artisttrying to break into the business?
Get your foot in the door; no matter what the job position might be, get into the studio first.  Then treat every job like you last, always work hard, listen and learn, and do every project to thebest of your abilities.  Once you have shown that you are hard working, reliable, and professional; otheropportunities will come.  Always be humble and keep your ego in check; especially when asking for opportunities ofadvancements.  Animation is fun, so don’t forget that even when you are having tough times!


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