Dan Seddon

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What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Dan Seddon, and I am a Character Designer currently working for Elliott Animation here in Toronto.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Before getting into animation, I didn’t really have any crazy jobs, grocery stores, factories, nothing crazy. I did work for a long time for my dad in his Contact Lens Company making contact lenses, it was the worst and most boring job ever.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of? 

Not so long ago I finished up a big freelance project with Arc Productions (Formerly Starz Animation). It was an incredible opportunity for me working for a really big name (which I don’t think I’m aloud to say), on a really cool new Action-Adventure series that is partnered with Cartoon Network. I also don’t think that I am aloud to go into anymore details about the show, but it was just a really cool project and I cant wait for it to come out so I can share some of my designs.  While at Sheridan College, I also had the chance to work on a short film with some really talented people. We created a really cool film, Electropolis, which went on to win some prizes and festivals. I’ve always been really proud that of what we accomplished together and I will always remember that as one of my most favorite projects I’ve worked on.

 

How did you become interested in animation?
I’ve always been interested in animation, and to be honest I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t interested in animation. From as far back as I can remember, I was always drawing and watching cartoons, it was my favourite thing to do and probabally the only thing I was good at.

 

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I am from Cambridge, Ontario, a small surburban city about an hour outside of Toronto. I had alot of support form my family and friends growing up, and while I was in High School my art teacher recommended I apply for the Animation program at Sheridan College. I guess that was what really triggered my mind into thinking I could make a career out of doing something that I loved to do, and that was really how I got into the business.

 

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
With my job at Elliott Animation I have the pleassure of working from home, so typically my day involves me getting out of bed and taking a few steps to my studio. There are days where I dont even put pants on, its pretty awesome. When im in my studio though Im very focused, I like to start my day off by checking my mail and tackling any revisions I may have from the day before. After that is out of the way I’ll watch leica reels, look at storyboards, and then design what need to be designed for each episode of the show that I am working on. I am working on a pretty cool flash television show so I get to do alot of poses for the animators, its really fun.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
With this new job I like getting revisions the best. I know that may sound really weird but my Supervisor, James Walsh, and our Director, Todd Kauffman, are extremely talented artists and through their notes and revisions I learn so much and see where I go wrong. I think being open to criticism and listening other artists it a very important way to grow and develop your own skills as an artist. Its really great, and if you keep an open mind in this industry you have the opportunity to learn something new everyday!

What part of your job do you like least? Why?

Currently, as fun as working in my underwear may sound, I like working at home the least. There is something really great about being in a studio environment and I miss it with this job.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?

For work I use Adobe Flash and a Cintiq 21ux, for my personal work however I prefer to not use technology. I love to use prisma color pencil crayons and any paper I can find around my studio. If I feel like colouring my personal work I will use Photoshop.

 

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?  

I think that the most difficult part about being in the business is the fact that there is very little job security. It can be very stressful as your contract comes to an end and you need to start looking for a new job.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?

I am fairly fresh in the animation industry and have not had any brushes with animation greatness, I had feedback from the creator of the show I freelanced on for Arc which was pretty amazing, but I am yet to personally meet any legends. I will be attending CTN expo this year, so hopefully I will get the chance to run into some there.

Describe a tough situation you had in life. 

A tough situation I had in life regarding my career in the animation field? When I graduated from Sheridan I was having trouble landing a full time job, I picked up small freelance gigs here and there, but I was having the hardest time getting into a studio. It became very disapointing and I almost decided to give up on animation all together. Im very glad that I didnt though, and I think I learned alot abut the industry and how to be patient.

 

Any side projects or you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?

Unfortunately right now I have no side projects., my head is full of ideas, I just cant seem to find the time to get them out.

 

Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?

I can preform open heart surgery blindfolded, but I guess thats not that impressive or unusual. Other than that, I don’t really have any talents, I really enjoy playing soccer. Besides animation and drawing, soccer would be my other passion. I’ve played it competitively all of my life and I find it to be a great way to clear my head when its clogged with hundreds of thoughts and ideas.

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?

I know everyone probably says this, but I think for an aspiring animation student I would highly recomend that you push yourself to practice and draw draw draw! Next time you sit down to watch some TV or play a video game, why not just go draw instead. Your ony going to accomplish stuff and get better when you are actually doing something about it. I think another peice of advice would be to network while you are in school, send an email to your faviourite animator, designer or storyboard artist, introduce yourself, share your work, ask for feedback. You would be surprised how cool everyone is in this field and I guarantee that most of them would actually all take the time out to write back and help you out.

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