What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Dane Romley and I am currently head of the training department at Topdraw Animation studio’s in Manila Philippines.
Oh wow let’s see, I worked a few summers at Valley Sash and Door in Burbank, California. In college I worked a few semesters at FedEx ground in one of their warehouses, and then I also worked at Trader Joe’s for a little bit. I was a late night security guard for a week before I quit due to the late hours. Oh and I was also a video game tester for a month.
The project I am most proud of I would have to say is The Simpsons. I was a character layout artist for 5 years and it’s really nice being able to say I had a part in one of the biggest culture icons of our time. Other projects I’m proud of are Mini Loup, Guess How Much I Love You, and Dennis & Gnasher.
I was born and raised in Sun Valley, California; just outside Burbank. I attended Woodbury University from 2001 to 2005 and it was my professors that encouraged me to apply to The Simpsons as I approached my senior year. Two of them were working there at the time and they took me to Film Roman to meet some of the artists and directors, and from there I took the test and got accepted. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have got the job, I owe them a lot. August of 2005 I officially started my animation career.
The thing I like the best is seeing my trainee’s apply the techniques I’ve been showing them and seeing the progress they make during training. Once they start actually working it’s also very rewarding to hear a director tell me how much they like working with someone I’ve trained because it mean’s I’ve done my job.
There are times when I have to be tough on people and the culture here is not used to that. I once threw an artist out of training because I caught him copying other people’s work and lied about it, then proceeded to copy my work and tried to turn it in to me. It’s also hard telling someone that they just don’t have what it takes weather it be skill or attitude, no one wants to be told that but it’s my job to make sure they’re ready for the working world.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis, how has technology changed in the last few years in your field and how has that impacted you in your job?
Nothing that you would call unusual, besides drawing my hobbies are playing video games and spending time with my family. I can make a water drop sound with my mouth, does that count? Oh and I have an almost photographic memory; almost in that I can clearly remember people’s clothes and hair style at any point in time.
Ask a lot of questions and network as much as you can. The time students spend in school is limited so I encourage them to ask a lot of questions in order to get the most out of their professors. This can be anything from animation technique’s and guidelines to what state the industry is in at that time. This industry is always changing and it’s important to keep up with the changes. Also get to know the professor’s because most, if not all, are working professionals and they can help you get that first internship or job. Don’t be a suck up, be genuine, all working animators can tell the difference between passion and plastic smiles. Above all never give up. I have heard of many people who give up their dreams because it was too hard or they were rejected from the studio they really liked. As long as you remain passionate about your craft doors will open.