What is your name and your current occupation?
Ron Gilmore, Computer Tech/Graphic Artist and Independent Animator.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I worked as a security guard at a church in downtown Los Angeles for a few months. A lot of interesting things happened there, but the incident that shocked me the most was when I caught a couple of homeless guys getting it on in the alley. I also worked for a furniture delivery company, which in itself isn’t crazy, except for the time I made a delivery to former NFL defensive-end-turned-actor, Bubba Smith. He got so angry with me that his hands were shaking when he told me to get out of his house.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I’m working with El Grupo 2D Animation and Story Workshop on a short film about a vampire dog called Nosfurratu. The workshop is headed by former Disney animator, Alex Topete and is comprised of animation students and industry professionals. The film is scheduled for a 2015 release.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from a small town in Northern California called Redding. I’ve loved comic books and animation since I was a child and even fantasized that someday I would produce my own cartoons. Years later with the advent of Adobe Flash I was able to realize that dream. In 2007 I was inspired to make a cartoon about raw-vegan superheroes called Rawman & Green-Girl (loosely based on me and my girlfriend) and entered it in the Green Lifestyles Film Festival. I produced another episode in 2010 and I am currently working on episode number three.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I spend a lot of time on character animation, but I handle and/or oversee all aspects of production including the script, storyboard, voice over, backgrounds and character design.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I really enjoy the voice recording process. Probably because I’m working with other people rather than sitting in isolation at my computer.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Raising money for projects. Computers have made it cheaper and easier to create animated content, but it still takes a decent amount of money to hire the right people to help bring a cartoon to life. My projects are mostly self-financed except for some money I received from private donations and an Indiegogo campaign. It can be difficult to get people to part with their hard earned cash to help support a project, especially if you’re not a well-known artist or celebrity.
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 use traditional pencil and paper in combination with scanners, a Wacom Cintiq and a Surface Pro 2 tablet. The software programs I use on a regular basis are Toon Boom Storyboard, Toon Boom Harmony, Photoshop and Adobe Premiere. Migrating from Adobe Flash to Harmony has made it much easier for me to produce better looking animation.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Anything that isn’t part of the creative process. Promotion can be fun, but sometimes it feels like a time-suck when I’m busy trying to promote a project through the various social media outlets and other avenues. I know it’s necessary, but I always feel like I need to be at the drawing board or computer, especially when I’ve been working on a cartoon for a couple of years and I just want to get it done.
If you could change the way the business works and is run how would
you do it?
I’d like to see the business run by more creative people rather than executives chasing trends or toy sales.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I saw Lou Scheimer at the Animation Guild’s Holiday party a year or so before he passed away. I was thrilled to see the guy responsible for producing so many of my favorite shows when I was a child.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
In the late 1980s there were days where I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed until it was time to go to work in the evening. I realize now that I may have been experiencing a mild form of depression. I eventually pulled myself out of my funk and moved to Sacramento where I joined a top-40 cover band.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
Yes, I’m the animation and IT director for the Green Lifestyles Network, which is a non-profit organization that promotes non aggressive media communication. I manage the animation interns who produce animation for our promotional videos. Once I’ve finished work on this episode of Rawman & Green-Girl, I’ll be able to get back to my other cartoon project called The Dynamite Brothers. It’s based on a short comedic film by Noah Nelson that I co-starred in over twenty years ago.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I can change my voice so that I sound like a woman when I’m on the phone. I’ve had a lot of fun over the years playing pranks on unsuspecting friends and co-workers.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Learn as much as you can wherever and however you can. Whether it’s self-study, at school or on the job, it doesn’t matter. Learn how to do a little bit of everything and get involved with other people and organizations that are doing what you want to do. Every project you work on no matter how big or small, helps make you a more well-rounded and experienced individual.