What is your name and your current occupation?
Doug Wood – Head Writer on FLOOGALS, an upcoming Sprout/NBCUniversal live-action and CGI series for preschoolers.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I was an actor so many of those jobs were crazy. Playing an elf on a TV commercial stands out, as does a role as an anorexic Sumo wrestler on an NBC musical/comedy series with Smokey Robinson.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I was the development exec on some great properties– IRON GIANT at Warner Bros., TINY TOONS and ANIMANIACS at Amblin. I’m also proud to have worked on a little film called BALTO– the first animated feature I developed while an executive for Spielberg.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Chicago. I acted there with Steppenwolf, Next Theatre Co., Second City and the Fine Line Comedy Duo. I came to L.A. to do the Fine Line on the Merv Griffin Show and at the Improv and Comedy Store, and wound up getting steady acting work for about a year. When that dried up, I found myself as a script reader, which led to my involvement on TINY TOONS, my first animation project.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Wake up and meditate (T.M.) Answer e-mail, check out Facebook, eat breakfast while gazing at the Santa Monica mountains, more e-mail, procrastinate, Facebook, more procrastination, more mountain gazing, finally getting down to work. Taking a break for lunch and a mid-afternoon meditation break, then more work before and after dinner. Sometimes I start the day with a Skype call to London where the show I’m currently working on is based.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I enjoy editing other writers’ work. They’ve done the hard part and I get to do the fun part– tweaking it to make it (hopefully) funnier, tighter, more resonant.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Getting notes from non-creative people who fancy themselves creative.
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?
Mostly just me and my little MacBook Pro.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Each time I finish a freelance gig, I have to scrounge around for the next one. The uncertainty isn’t fun as you get older.
If you could change the way the business works and is run how would you do it?
Can’t you tell from my previous answers that I love the way the business works? That I find it just peachy and wouldn’t change a thing?
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Many. I worked in Israel on an animated feature that never made it to the screen with some amazingly talented people from all over the world.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
There have been many but in print they seem trivial compared to those who have really suffered.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
The past couple of years I’ve gotten into indie film making. Directed and co-wrote a short called HI, LILLIAN that did well on the festival circuit. Followed up with another short I wrote, directed and produced called ENTANGLEMENT that is just now starting to screen at festivals. I love this kind of work because I have total creative freedom, something that is rare, no– unheard of, in my other line of work– writing for children’s TV. I also enjoy writing small, dark screenplays.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I’m a garage sale junky– finding antiques and collectibles each and every Saturday morning in L.A. And, of course, the cherry stem thing.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you– make them happen yourself by getting your work out there, by any means possible. Also, make sure to have a rich life apart from the business– it’ll help keep you sane.
NOTE: Photo labeled, “NIP” is a character design by Asaf Horowitz from the un-produced animated feature, THE WILD BUNCH.