Dan Lund

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What is your name and your current occupation?
Dan Lund and I am currently an EFX animator at the Walt Disney studios as well as, cant believe this is coming out of my mouth….an APP developer. I am releasing an animated knock knock app on Aug 1st (knock knock and the Who’s There Doors) so that seems to be my occupation these days but don’t tell Disney that, they think its just a hobby.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation? 
I was always into jobs, ever since I was 14 I worked and loved the power I felt in doing a good job for someone. The worst was being a car jockey but i have done it all (burger king, Root beer stand, old folks home, fry cook, video store…)
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of? 
Almost every Disney film I have worked on had a moment either artistically or work experience wise that made me proud. The BIG ones, of course, were great (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King) but when i look at Princess and the Frog i feel my my artistic level kicked up a notch. Even after some 13 screen credits, when you think you had tried it all, learned it all and maybe even lost the thrill a bit…a film opens up a brand new box of crayons, for me that film was “Frog”.  I am also very very proud of my personal work especially the 3  “Hildy Hildy” shorts (strike TV and all over the youtubes)  that i directed/animated and then sold to TBS as an animated series. Collaborating with Hildy’s creator, Patricia Scanlon was a moment i would not trade for anything.
How did you become interested in animation?
Always loved it but never studied it…totally learned ON THE JOB, something that could never happen these days~ I’m very fortunate to have been in that position.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Loves Park Il, went to film school in MPLS and got my job at Disney straight out of college just as a fluke. They hired me as a production assistant on Prince and the Pauper, saw something in me and trained me to be the EFX animator i am today. I really OWE them EVERYTHING~

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I’m an early bird when it comes to work so being in the studio for a few hours by myself, before anyone else is there… just my coffee and radio, kicks my creative spirit into high gear. Currently I’m designing EFX so its about planning what I want to pitch to my boss or the production. Once I have the idea I want to pitch then its all about putting on a show, it might mean animating test scenes to prove my point or putting a board of research together but it always starts a bit self motivated. Once ever few days, you get onto everyone’s radar that you have something up your sleeve and then you present it. I love the art of the pitch but more than that i love when it inspired a room full of artist to add to it and make it better than i ever imagined. When I’m in a more typical production mode as EFX animator, it’s about cranking out footage… then my day is pretty much locked at the desk, in the trenches drawing till my hand is numb. I say that as a good thing…I LOVE IT!

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I like having an outlet for my creativity and not just for myself but for a bigger purpose. A Disney film is so collaborative and i like being part of a team, having a boss to make proud and sharing all this with others when the film is released upon the world!

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
The fact that i fear its going to end tomorrow every day. Having something this good makes you really not want to loose it. I know i have to re-earn my place here every day…

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
For being an EFX guy i am sooooo not a tech person. I wish i was but my brain just doesn’t work that way. I’m an old school drawer… I do draw on a computer and we use Harmony as our package, I love it. I cant imagine drawing on paper again. The compositing aspect has changed how i view myself and how others view us efx guys.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I dont think there is a difficult part, i spent my whole life wanting to be in it. I hate when people forget what it was like to not be where you want to be. Once you sort of get there you should not bitch about how tuff it is. I’ve worked as a fry cook, i know what tuff is and working in the entertainment business is not difficult unless you don’t like to work hard.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I get to meat alot of legends in animation but when i directed the doc “dream on silly dreamer” i was able to work with Roy Disney very very closely and i did feel like i was touching greatness!!!

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Thats easy, getting laid off from Disney when they decided to close down 2D animation. I literally never thought i would work again, lost who i was and for the first time in my life, felt how scary that dark hole called depression could feel like. I tried very hard not to fall down it but i got close and am now very sensitive to anyone who is having a tuff time of it (being out of work) cuz it can crush a spirit you never thought was crushable.

Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
YES!!!! I am releasing and app that is called “knock knock and the who’s there doors” Its an animated, voice activated app and i am so proud of it. Please download it on the app store and if you like it, post a review. I want this passion project to really make it out there in the crowded app world. Alot of folks tried to talk me out of it and i would love to prove them wrong.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I’m told I am the “Best Uncle Ever”~ so that’s, i guess a talent or at least it is to Carson and Mason.

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Find a way to have fun working for free, be nice, make others look good and wait your turn. If you don’t get your turn then self produce one…

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