What is your name and your current occupation?
Kyle Marshall -Director/Storyboard Artist/Character Designer.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
During high school and the first couple college summers I worked on a bee farm in small town Saskatchewan. I got destroyed by the bees, and realized fast my future was not in the honey business, but it helped pay for school. I then planted trees for one summer living out of a tent for a few months in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Just finished Directing the pilot for Michael Rex’s Fangbone. Really cool series of books, and proud to be part of that pilot.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I grew up in Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada. Always wanted to get in film and TV growing up, and ended up in a small animation college. Originally planned to study animation and live action, but fell for animation, and now here we are.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I usually split my time between working in a studio and freelance from home. Right now, it’s freelance boards from home. I’m a bit of a night owl, and seem to get inspired when the sun goes down, also less distractions. But, if I don’t get work done in the morning I feel the day was wasted, so usually start the day at 9 am and then do my running around, errands, etc in the afternoon, and come back to finish my work at night. I’d like to say that is a usual day but each one tends to be different from the last.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Always enjoyed the storytelling aspect of the business and drawing in general. I really like pitching ideas, working out gags and story. There is so much to learn in terms of storytelling, it’s just a blast to discover new theories and put them into practice. In terms of drawing, it’s fun finding new artists and styles, and playing around with different ways to design, board, color, etc.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Bad drawing days. They always seem to come back when I start a new gig, first few days I pull a complete brain fart and forget everything.
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 mainly use a Mac and do my drawing on a Cintiq.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
It’s a bit of a love/hate, but the uncertainty of the business. It’s fun to have no idea what I’ll be working on a year from now. The projects and clients are always evolving, and makes for an exciting industry to be part of. But at the same time, I always have this fear in the back of my head that the industry will dry up and force me into a real job.
If you could change the way the business works and is run how would you do it?
I wish the artists would have more control over their ideas, especially when creating new series. I find in the smaller markets, creators are pushed away from their projects and not really given the opportunity to bring their vision to life. I understand the business aspect of it, and how so many voices get involved, but that would be my one wish for the business.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
My first time attending the Ottawa International Animation Festival. I was a small town kid, watching the opening night ceremonies thinking that I was in a room full of the most talented animation artists from around the world, that was a bit mind blowing.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I’d say in relation to the business, when I moved away from home to take on one of my first jobs in animation. I didn’t have much money and left home for the other side of the country. It was a small studio of about 20 people, and they started laying people off within my first month on the job. I was watching friends I just made getting canned, and waiting for my name to be called, thinking I’d have to fly back home and tell everyone I failed at this dream of making cartoons……and then they would all laugh at me. Finally, I was one of the last 4 or 5 people left and my name was called, which was almost exactly a year from when I started. Luckily I had another job lined up that took me to a new town and the next phase of my career.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
Have a few pitches in various stages of development. Other than that just starting to get back into making short films and hoping to have those out later in the year.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I got nothin’. Don’t have the height to make the NHL, so this drawing thing better work out.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Most days I still feel like I’m trying to break into the business, and I’ve been in it for 9 years. The one I’m still working on, that I feel is a valuable tool, try not to get worked up or envious when peers are climbing faster than you are. It’s tough when you see others around you land that cool job, or get their show green lit, and you are still waiting for yours. Just keep your head up, bust your ass, and make sure you keep on track with what your vision of career and life should be. Every journey is different, and has it’s own ups and downs, learn to love ride.