What is your name and your current occupation?
Ryan Woodward – animator/storyboard artist/professor of animation.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Little ceasars pizza!
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
My latest Bottom of the Ninth. My short film, Thought of You. and of course some nice films like The Avengers, The Iron Giant and Spider-man 2.
How did you become interested in animation?
Ever since I was a kid. It’s what I always wanted to do. There really wasn’t any other option for me.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
From Newbury Park, CA. Got my first job in the Warner Brothers Feature Animation training program. From there, I was put on Space Jam.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Every day is different and even the seasons are different. Because I’m a university professor, I have summer’s off so I try not to work too much during the summer. I travel and vacation with the kids. In the fall and winter and spring I teach my classes, and I work on whatever project is on my desk. Sometimes it’s a film like The Avengers. Sometimes it’s a personal project, like Bottom of the Ninth. But there’s always some project that keeps me up at night working.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I like beign creative and coming up with ideas, stories and characters.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
I stress alot about creating good work. Drives me crazy. I want to create great work so bad that I get bummed out when I know it’s not coming out very well. I also have a hard time leaving my work at work. It’s always in my head wherever I’m at. Even on a vacation, it takes me a day or two to unwind the mind and just enjoy the trip.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I work with a cintiq to draw on. After Effects to do compositing and digital efx. Maya for 3d animation. Flash for 2d animation. and a bunch of others as they come up. And I work almost exclusively on a mac.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
It’s always changing. But I actually like that. It’s tough when the business is so unstable and the hiring and the letting go, is so shameless. That’s part of the reason why I’m trying to do my own thing lately, I’d like to treat people like people and not product.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
yeah. I met shinishiro watanabe (cowboy beebop) in rio. Didn’t recognize him at first, and felt like a doofus when I realized who he was. Made great friends in spain and in rio with Carlos Saldanha (Rio, Ice Age) and his wife. Great, fantastic people that will be great long time friends.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
hmm. most of my tough situations are self imposed so it’s hard to complain or whine about them. I roughen myself up too much and take on too much work sometimes forcing me to never sleep and neglect other more important things in life. then hell brakes loose and I have to re-assess my life and put things back in order. That seems to be a scenario that happens over and over again and I never seem to learn the lesson because I get so caught up and into my work and creating stories. At least there are great patient people around me that understand and have patience with me.
Any side projects or you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
Bottom of the Ninth. Coming out real soon if not already by the time this interview is released. 6 months of craziness. Loved every minute of it and it really encapsulates everything that I know how to do. It’s an animated graphic novel available for the ipad and iphone.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I”m an avid cyclist, mountainbiker, waterskiier and love wakesurfing. During the summer, not a day goes by that I’m not either on my bike or on the boat.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Just follow your gut. Don’t follow trends or high paying checks. Follow what you love to do and if you do it well, the industry will find a place for you.