What is your name and your current occupation?
Creative Director | CEO West Studio
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Before I went to college I worked in the photo lab at Costco. It is strange now to think about the fact that everyone was getting their film developed and waiting hours or days to see their pictures. It wasn’t that long ago, but now everyone has digital cameras and pictures are rarely ever printed.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Working with Director Sam Fell for a project that is still unannounced was a great experience. Sam was a pleasure to work with and I learned a great deal from the collaboration. Sharing ideas with creative people is the best part of my job and more often than not, those end up being the coolest projects.
How did you become interested in animation?
I have been interested in animation since I was a kid. I grew up with the classic Disney films from the 90s like Beauty and the Beast and Lion King. As I got older I discovered Miyazaki films and more stylized films like Triplets of Belleville.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I came from a typical suburb north of Los Angeles and was lucky enough to learn about Art Center College of Design in Pasadena at an early age. A lot of my business comes from video games, but when an animation project comes my way I really enjoy it.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
My day typically consists of using my mornings to manage multiple projects and giving feedback to artists. Then in the afternoon and evenings I contribute to those projects hands-on.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The best part of my job is sharing ideas and collaborating with some of the most creative people in the world. I enjoy my job the most when my clients are willing to take a risk and are committed to the quality of the designs.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
The part of my job that I like least is when I don’t have time to paint for myself. This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does I get anxious.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I primarily use Photoshop on a daily basis.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The most difficult part for me about being in the business is finding the time to work on my independent projects. I hope to one day get to a place where I have more time for my personal projects.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I’ve had a few great opportunities to share ownership on some original intellectual property, but ultimately those projects never saw the light of day. Hopefully one day they do!
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
The toughest situation I have had in life was trying to fit in. It wasn’t until college that I realized there were more people like me in the world and that my skills were valuable to a specific industry. After college I realized that I was lucky to be different and it is because of those differences that I have such a rewarding career.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I am currently working on some side projects, but at this stage I can’t say much about them.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I guess my hobby or unusual talent would be model making. I studied industrial design before getting into concept art and I learned a great deal about fabrication. One of the things I enjoy seeing are my designs coming to life in a physical model. There is nothing more exciting than when I can walk up and touch something that came from my own head.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
In order to break into the business you have to create work that leaves an impression on people and somehow inspires them. I also think it is very important to understand that most of the art that we create is for production purposes and needs to be turned around quickly, therefore working in an efficient manner is very important.