What is your name and your current occupation?
F. David Meyers, 3D story artist on the Clone Wars animated series at Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I was a Ink Retoucher for a photo lab (covered up spots on developed photos by hand), Checkout Supervisor at Kmart, trust me it was crazy.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I love working on the Clone Wars a lot!! It’s a dream of mine to work on Star Wars.
I also really enjoyed working on Team Smithereen with the Dan Clark company. That was one of the funnest jobs I ever had.
How did you become interested in animation?
As a kid, films like Mary Poppins and Sleeping Beauty were magic to me. I wanted to be a part of that.
I think it was a culmination of the love of drawing and the idea that animation is a legitimate form of storytelling and fine art together.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I am from Orange County in Southern California. I got into the industry by working two jobs to make ends meet and realizing that I wouldn’t be happy until I followed my childhood dream to make movies.
I mainly got into the industry by studying at California Institute of the Arts and connecting with people in the biz from there.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Drive up to Big Rock Ranch (which is part of Skywalker Ranch) Get to my desk. Say hi to coworkers. Check emails, and then open the door to the Star Wars universe on my computer. Work on my sequence blocking, staging, and shooting. Have lunch. Then check in with my Director a couple of times in the day to revise, revise, revise, until we can get closer to what the vision of the story is. It could range from a spaceship battle, to a lightsaber fight, or to a political discussion. Each day is an adventure. Then I drive home and think how lucky I am to do what I love!
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I love the people I work with and the collaboration. I really learn so much. I love it when it’s a creative challenge to my skills with cinematography and story. I also love it when I get to work on an iconic moment in the Star Wars history that refer to the films or characters that I love.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
It can be really intense and long hours if there are major changes made toward the end of our deadlines. But our team usually comes through and we support each other.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Mostly 3D programs that Lucasfilm has developed for their projects. We used to use Maya as well.
I would say the most difficult part about being in the business is dealing with coworkers or colleagues who let their pride or ego run their careers. You can really burn bridges like that, and we really need to be collaborative and help each other keep this art of film making alive. A negative attitude can really influence everyone around you, and it makes it difficult to get things done creatively.In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Oh yes! I am so grateful to have met many amazing artists and mentors that have really made a difference in my life. Corny Cole, Mike Mitchell, Dan Hansen, John Mahoney, Glen Keane, Ollie Johnston, Mark Hamill, George Lucas, Frank Oz, Dave and Jennifer Skelly, Ted Ty, Rumen Petkov, Richard Williams, Mark Andrews, Brad Bird, Pete Doctor, Mike Nguyen, Cynthia Overman, Eric Goldberg, Andreas Deja, Mike Gabriel, John Lasseter, Seth Green, Frank Terry, the list goes on… They are all amazingly talented and kind people.
Well I would sum up my toughest journey I ever had to make was accepting myself for who I am and believing that I can do what I set my mind to with faith in God, and in myself. One example of this was finally accepting and facing past abuse I had received. It took a lot of work but I stuck to it and came out happy to be alive and able to move on.
Stay tuned!! I am working on two stories. One is a short film I would like to produce and eventually make in Cg animation. Another is a epic three act story, both are in revision mode now and I am getting feedback from Designers and Story Artists to eventually make a story reel for both. I also am getting into Watercolor and ink drawings, Calligraphy, and learning Guitar.
Nothing really unusual, but I can recognize and remember most actors and actresses in many of their films. I never forget a face! I also love studying biographies of famous or influential people.Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Believe in yourself and trust your gut, it is usually right. Don’t burn bridges, help build them with those around you. Have a vision of you doing what you love. It will help you through the times you think things aren’t going right. Watch movies all the time and study them. Study the masters and diversify your experiences in life, it can only add to your art, not take away from it. Work effectively, not hard. Killing yourself for art isn’t worth it. Be helpful and humble. Challenge yourself to learn constantly. Adapt to the needs of who you work with. Always ask for feedback and try to understand what really is going on. It’s what’s inside the box that counts, not how it is wrapped on the outside when it is delivered to you. To thine own self be true, and trust God.Here is my blog of some artwork, and links to projects I have worked on.