What is your name and your current occupation?
I’m Jez Hall and I’m currently series director on Fleabag Monkeyface.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I haven’t really had any proper jobs, let alone crazy….. I was an illegal wine waiter once. Illegal as in I was only 16. I wasn’t some kind on Pinot Grigio gangster. Drive by cork popping… I then drew comics before getting in to animation. Â Animation is crazier than pouring wine.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Theres lots. I’ve been doing it over twenty years so it would be a big list. The list of projects I’m not proud of would be way bigger.
How did you become interested in animation?
People paid me money.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Im from a small town in the countryside in the UK. I live and work in Manchester.Â I was freelancing comic and illustration work and I saw an ad in a magazine called Creative Review. For work as a story artist at Cosgrove Hall of Danger Mouse fame. I had no idea what it was to be a storyboard artist. I got the job anyway and worked with my animation hero Vincent James as his assistant. It was a shock, from drawing 5 pages a week of comics to 30 pages a day as a story artist.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Coffee first. It takes me an hour to get to the studio. I check email and spend the day talking to people, typing, doodling in meetings and drawing. I share an office assistant director Mr Chris Wayles. We ho and hum our way through the day then have a yawning race late afternoon. Chris usually wins. That boy can yawn! Â Through production the work changes. From thumbnailing boards for our board team at Cartoon Saloon in Ireland, to Colour keys for the design team. Later it morphs into lots note making. Notes on blocking, animation, render….music. We are at the back end of the show now so its mostly picking up render issues for the last shows and audio stuff. Music and Sound effects.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The drawing part. and talking. Getting the latest render through can be a thrill. Or not.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
My work PC. Its rubbish! I want a new one! Also typing into excel trackers. ExHELL!
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
A computer and a telephone. A motor vehicle also.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
If Im freelancing its clients and money. Mostly getting clients to give me money. If I’m directing, it’s communicating what you want to an overseas studio.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
As in someone famous I’ve met? Are animators famous even? I’ve worked with a few very respected people. Mostly its was great. Once or twice it wasn’t. Some people actually did think they were famous. If my mum never heard of them they aren’t. Thats my gauge.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Work related, I’d say almost really starving was tough. I had a couple of potatoes to eat and no money. I lived in a roof in Leeds when I was a young chap starting out. I did illustration work and comics. It didn’t pay too well. Not enough to sustain a young mans lifestyle anyway. Thanksfully my girlfriend came back early from a holiday. She had a normal job. We had pizza and beer. Obviously I married her.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
I’ve always lots of things going on. My own shows and a live action movie idea. Im also working on an in-house more serious project. I’d like to learn Z-brush but never will. I’d also like to know more cocktails off by heart.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Actually nothing. This is the only thing in the world I can do. Im pretty much an idiot at anything else. I play the guitar badly. Loudly and badly.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Draw and be great at it. Be bloody minded and hungry. You may think you want it. How bad? I hear people say how much they want to work in animation but aren’t prepared to make a sacrifice. Take a risk, go all out.