Temple Mathews

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What is your name and your current occupation?
Temple Mathews, owner of Temple Mathews Prods. Inc. Currently a screenwriter and author.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Roofer, clerk, shoe salesman, film producer.


What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I wrote “RETURN TO NEVERLAND” an animated feature for Disney that did over 100 million worldwide. Also “THE LITTLE MERMAID II”.  My YA trilogy, “THE NEW KID,” “THE RISING,” and “THE SWORD OF ARMAGEDDON” was published by Benbella Books and continues to sell.

How did you become interested in animation?
A friend called me up and said hey would you like to write for this show, and I did, and I enjoyed the fact that I could hang around home and play golf and make money not having to commute.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Animation became interested in me. I sold a feature spec script to Ron Howard’s company and got lots of meetings from it, one was at Disney TV Animation, and they hired me for three years.

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I work out to get that out of the way, then I procrastinate as much as possible, then sit down and start writing. Always the hardest part. I learned early in my career that you can’t write unless you write, which sounds moronic, but it’s true. About half of the ideas I get occur to me while I’m writing.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
When I have that “aha” moment, solving a story problem, it’s kind of a rush, a flood of relief.  I also love it when the product is finished and people laugh or cry or whatever. When the story draws the audience in it’s a really good feeling.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
The solitude sucks, any writer will tell you that. But the other side of the coin is that I don’t have to deal with annoying co-workers and the politics of offices, which can be petty beyond belief.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Final Draft and Final Cut Pro Express and Final Cut Pro X.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Getting the gigs on a regular basis is always a difficult challenge.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I was recording “RETURN TO NEVERLAND” and a voice actress was given direction to “go younger” with the voice. I closed my eyes and listened. She went from 15 years old down to 5 in about 30 seconds and it was amazing.

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
My agent not returning my calls. Open heart surgery. Divorce.

Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I expanded from animation and live action screenwriting to writing novels and have a YA trilogy, “THE NEW KID,” which has been very rewarding. The letters I get from young fans are wonderful and heartfelt.

Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I play some blues riffs on my Strat. But not with my tongue or any other unusual body parts.

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Malcolm Gladwell writes in “THE OUTLIERS” about the 10,000 hours rule, meaning you have to put about 10,000 hours into any art or business venture before you’re ready for greatness. So don’t talk about the business, just draw and write and produce product. Eventually it will get good and you’ll start making money.  The most important piece of advice I can give is this: Don’t work for free. When I drew a line in the sand and said I wasn’t going to do any work for anyone for free, that’s when I started making a real living as a writer.


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