What is your name and your current occupation?
Libby Ward, currently writing for WB’s Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! (with Jon Colton Barry).
Kevin Glikmann voice over actor. Currently the voice of Leonard the evil squirrel-alien on Nick’s Get Blake!
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Libby: I’ve always been involved in animation, but before it was a full time gig I supported myself calculating commercial airline weight and balance, playing on the Seahawks NFL drumline and leading underwater tours as a SCUBA Dive Master in Hawaii.
Kevin:Telemarketing for the Riverside Police department Costume Ball.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Libby: I loved working for the Muppets and Henson (my original comic entertainment inspiration) and I’m crazy about Scooby-Doo!
Kevin: Get Blake! My first cartoon series. We did 52 episodes. It’s currently on Nicktoons.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Libby: I’m from Seattle, WA. I started drawing in elementary school, recreating images of Bambi, Little Foot and Hagar the Horrible. I was disqualified from
winning a prize in my 5th grade science fair because the zoetrope I built (with a Lego motor) and the animation example cells I painted weren’t considered “sciencey” enough. I have a claymation slug, called Sam, who opened most of my early films by RAWING exactly like the MGM lion (a commandeered sound bite and homage). I morphed into a writer as I realized that I most loved being the weird spark that ignited a project into being.
Kevin: I’m from Los Angeles. Took an intro to animation voice over class and the teacher told me I didn’t belong here and put me in the advance class.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Libby: Since I’m a flibbertigibbet who often writes from home, my routine consists of: dinosaur mochas* at my favorite coffee shop, typing out script pages, walks around the block, typing out script pages, spontaneously handwriting phrases like “I know my cat’s a communist” in my notebook, typing out script pages, pretending to be a lobster with my improv team, drinking whiskey cocktails, practicing magic or drums or drawing, typing out script pages, realizing I’m starving then doing something about it, completely revising everything I’ve written because “it can always be better” and it “needs a hedgehog in a bowler hat,” shower, rinse, repeat.*dark chocolate mochas topped with marshmallows, served in a dino mug- RAWR.
Kevin: Audition. Audition. Audition. Wait. Wait. Book.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Libby: I freakin’ love every bit that allows me to watch the next artist in the production timeline totally elevate my work in an unexpected way. The actor whose line read makes me snort-guffaw, the artist who adds a skull-n-crossbones helmet to the bunny on the motorbike, and the composer who selects the perfect time to use a vibraslap.* Watching something I started, grow into a beautifully weird and wonderful thing? Keh keh keh, Yesssss! -taps finger tips giddily together like maniacal school-yard genius-*Vibraslap is a welcome element anytime.
Kevin: I love finding the right character voice for a character drawing. It’s very satisfying when that match occurs.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Libby: I am dubious about any efforts from outside sources to over-explain or under-intellectualize. I don’t agree with improv legend Del Close on every subject, but I wholeheartedly agree that we should, “treat our audience like poets and geniuses.” Any attempts to do otherwise, tend to bum me out. Why? Because I’m a nerd who believes in the golden rule and wants to be treated like a poet and a genius (even as I’m pouring keys onto my cereal and putting milk in my backpack).
Kevin: Finding representation. You have to knock on a lot of door before the right one has interest in you.
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?Libby: Yay for laptops! I use my laptop every day in every location in every seating arrangement possible. Sometimes I am even dressed like a human adult with responsibilities. Often, I am not. I dig Final Draft (esp Command K for CAPS), Storyboard Pro and Photoshop. The internet I find equally useful and vexing.
Kevin: I’m on the mac all day recording voice overs in pro tools. Back in the day you would go to your agents and record and you didn’t have to know about computers and mics and such. But now most everything is done at home. And it’s not as great because you used to get to see everyone in the waiting rooms at the Agency. Plus, you got to work with the booth director. Now you have to know how to direct yourself. Much more challenging.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Libby: Mmmmmmmm….mmmmmmmmm…the instability of work that is often feast or famine is tough. I exhaust myself quicker when I’m not “working.” This business, for me, is as much about being a small business owner as an artist. And I don’t wanna. I just want art, fun, shenanigans, art! But I do marketing, accounting, contracts, publicity….so I can do more art!
Kevin: Not getting feedback on auditions and directing yourself.
If you could change the way the business works and is run how would you do it?
Libby: Doop de doop de doo…if I could change it? I am thinking and stalling. Ah ha! I think the number one thing I would change…though I’m nostalgic and love writing for the Scooby gang…I would love to change the development mindset so that funding would go sparingly to remakes/rebooots/rewhatevers and double down on original properties.
If/when I have retro-fever, I’ll happily rewatch the originals that inspired many of us. But if we could shift the dynamic so that original content is number one and gets the funding, energy and enthusiasm it deserves that would be fabulous!
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Libby: Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes. I’ve been so fortunate to interact with artists of every sort. I have a warm nostalgic spot in my heart for the many greats who have worked (and still do!) traditionally with paper and pencil. I have studied with wondrous talents and I would very much like to live at a stop-motion studio. (My house does not currently have storage labeled and filled with: bathtubs, monsters, and bicycles). If I name names, (I’ll be no better than HUAC), also I’ll be promoting a few and leaving out hundreds. There is greatness everywhere and I’m so psyched to be part of this community.
Kevin: Require feedback for auditions.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Libby: To avoid being a total downer I’ll stay away from rock bottom and just mention some sedimentary layer. When I worked for the airlines I was in a super math-y important job. Though I was good at it, it bored me to death and sucked up more than 40 hours a week. I had colleagues (still friends) who appreciated art and humor. I had supervisors who did not. So I used the best benefit I had: free flights, and gallivanted all over the country. Especially spending most days off in LA and Chicago to play with improvisers and artists. Leaving that job was a banner day! The one grrrrreat thing I did get to do there was paint all the office windows for Christmas. (The few days I remember as being fun at work). I painted scenes from the Grinch all over the airport. (My favorite was Max waving as he rides on the back of the sled. Best. reindeer. ever.)
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
Libby: Yes, of course! Is this where I get to talk about Techtopia? Because I’m doin’ it. I get to combine my nostalgic love, and our currently available technology, to bring old gadgets to life…through animation! I have always believed that even “things” have a destiny: rocking chairs must be rocked in, pianos must be played, tread mills must have clothes hung upon them. By enlivening the spirits of all the characters (phones, walkmen, encyclopedias) I can make sure that everyone fulfills their destinies: people and gadgets alike! I’m so excited to see our short completed…then fulfill our destiny of producing a Techtopia series.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Libby: I’m a constructive and mechanically inclined sort. I have an affinity for Rube Goldberg devices. So if you need something done laboriously and hilariously, I’m your gal!
Kevin: I used to raise chickens and run my diesel car off veggie oil that I got from a thai place down the street.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Libby: Make things, make friends, make things with your friends. Having built a large group of friends who, mostly, are not writers allows me lots of freedom and opportunity to say, “Hey actors, story artists, composers, animators, bg artists, vibraslap prodigies…let’s combine our talents for the greater good!” And they say, “Yeah!” And we do it and I buy ice cream and we have a movie and brain freeze, and it’s great!
Kevin: Build your network of friends. They will help you get jobs.