What is your name and your current occupation?
Mike Carlo and I’m an Animation Director/ Director at Titmouse Inc.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I was an usher at a movie theater when I was in high school, and was subjected to wearing a really dorky uniform. I was also a Deli clerk, and worked in a record store, but my first paying job was scaring people in a haunted house around Halloween time.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Superjail!, Motorcity, King Star King, and Breadwinners to name a few. All of those were awesome experiences on a number of different levels and I’m extremely flattered to have been a part of them.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Long Island, and after a couple of years of not being able to find work a couple of friends of mine from SVA helped me get internships and my first few animation jobs. I’ve been fortunate enough to worked steadily ever since. My family was also really supportive of my career and convinced me I could do it.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I get to work about an hour early each day, and then just try to hit the ground running. Sometimes I’m involved in 2 or 3 projects at once, so everyday changes except for how busy I get. It’s pretty much madness until its time to go home where I take a calming ride on the subway during rush hour where I get to interact with clinically insane people, street poets, and mariachi bands while trying to read a book.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I like that I get to work with a lot of different artists both new the business and industry veterans. It’s also a plus when you get to work with your friends.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Stress but it’s the same stress that comes along with any job that is deadline based. For obvious reasons I don’t like stress although I do work best under pressure.
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?
I work on a mac and a cintiq in Flash, photoshop, After effects and most recently Storyboard Pro. I think the technology aspect of it has been really beneficial. The speed with which it lets you produce animation has helped a lot in making me a better animator. It also makes it a lot of fun, and I’ve been able to make a film a year for the last 5 years because of it.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I like to stay pretty active, even on my own and sometimes balancing work, personal projects and a social life gets pretty hard. Luckily I’ve been doing a pretty good job of having a life outside of animation and it helps that my wife is really supportive of my work.
If you could change the way the business works and is run how would you do it?
I don’t even know, I used to think I did, but no perfect way seems practical or even likely to happen. I think every project, studio, etc is different and the easier you are to work with the better it can be for you and others involved. I guess if I could change anything about how it works it would be for everyone to be easy to work with under whatever circumstances you’re under.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I had Ralph Bakshi as an advisor for a portion of my thesis, I got to meet Dan Haskett and got the chance to flip through some animation he was working on. I’ve also had the good fortunate to know, and work with people like Christy Karacas, Peter Browngardt, Gary Doodles, and Chris P all of whom I am big fans of their work.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I wish I could say it was something like, I once had to diffuse a time bomb in the basement of an orphanage, but that’s not the case. I was bullied a lot as a kid. That was a tough time for sure, but it helped shape my sense of humor and motivated me to make draw and play music. I’m also surprised by how NOT socially awkward I turned out, ha.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I’ve been pitching a bunch of different things from shorts to bumpers to series ideas. I’ve also started work on a new short that is still a long way off, but I’m having fun with it. I’m in a band too, and we’re working on some new material.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I can speak as if you’re hearing me through a broken intercom or telephone with a bad connection…no joke. It seems to go over well at parties.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Be open to new ideas, work your ass off, and stay inspired. Also, don’t be a jerk! It make the whole experience of working as an artist much more enjoyable when everyone is working together rather than against one another.