Eddie Fitzgerald

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What is your Name and Current Occupation?
Eddie Fitzgerald: storyboard artist.

Past Crazy Jobs:
Crazy jobs? Hmmmm. Well, when I got out of school I washed  dishes, bussed tables and was an agricultural worker. None of those jobs paid  very much but I learned something valuable from each one, and I don’t regret the  experience. My first art jobs had to do with designing menus, letterheads and  all that, and that paid even less than dishwashing, because the clients were  always changing their minds.
Favorite Projects?
I have lots of favorites, but I guess the very best one was  doing the “Tales of Worm Paranoia” short for Cartoon Network. There’s no high in  the world like doing a cartoon of your own. I learned sooooo much by doing that.  On the positive side I learned that I liked doing slapstick and character  acting. On the negative side I learned that I have an odd tendency to fixate on  depressing subjects. That’s not the way I am in real life, so it came as a  surprise. Don’t feel sorry for me. Once I realized I had that vulnerability I  was able to get it under control…mostly.  Other favorites included working with John Kricfalusi on Ren & Stimpy, and Ralph  Bakshi on some of his projects. Tiny Toons was a lot of fun and so was the Tex  Avery show. So was working with Donovan Cook and…well, it would be a long  list.

Why Animation?
I’ve always loved funny cartooning, and animation is all about  moving cartoons in a funny way. The devil is in the details. The fact that your  character opens a door isn’t as important as how he opens the door.

How Did I Get into the Business?
I watched the black and white “Disneyland”  show every week when I was a tiny little kid. I saw Alice in Wonderland, Mars  and Beyond, Davy Crockett, Donald as a truant officer, excerpts from Three  Caballeros…it was Heaven! I just thought the Disney artists had the best jobs  in the world. Then there were Warner cartoons and Popeye, comic books, newspaper  comics, magazine illustration, Mad magazine…what a feast! And on live TV there  was Jackie Gleason, Ernie Kovacs and Sid Caesar. With all that old childhood  stuff in my head I filled a thick sketchbook with drawings, showed it to Don  Christianson at Filmation, and got my first industry job. I was walking on air!

What Do I Like Doing Best?
I like the challenge of making a film. Film is a  mystical thing; you can’t superimpose any old thought on it. You have to try  lots of ideas and see which ones catch fire. You have to be sensitive to what  the medium wants to say. You have to psych yourself into being in a zone. That,  and you have to do it on time or you’ll be fired!

What Do I Like Doing Least?
Reading scripts! Sometimes you get scripts that are twice as long as they should be. That causes the board to be overly long, and
when that happens the best gags and acting are cut. This industry would improve  100% overnight if scripts were shorter. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to  make things easy on myself. I believe in sweating blood to do a good job. I just  hate to see my best efforts cut and in a wastebasket.

Brushes with Animation Greatness?
Definitely! With John Kricfalusi! He’s  probably the best practicing line artist in the world, and on top of that he’s a  killer writer and director. I don’t think I’ve had a single conversation with  him over the years where I haven’t come out energized, and full of a sense of  mission.  Also I got to know Warners director Bob Clampett before he died. I can’t write  about Bob without being overcome by sadness. I really miss the guy. He was a  great director and a great human being. He’ll inspire creative revolutions for  many years to come.
My Hobbies?
I’m working on a graphic novel and on an animation blog called  “Uncle Eddie’s Theory Corner.” Check it out!
Advice To Young Animators?
Learn to draw and cartoon, even if that seems less  relevant in the digital age. Be an artist who uses programs, not a programmer  who knows a little about art. Content is everything. A hundred years from now  there’ll be virtual reality and holographic cartoons and nobody’ll care about  the strictly technical things we do now. They will care about expressive artists  like Don Martin, Milt Gross, Wally Wood, Rod Scribner, Jimmy Tyre, John Sibley  and the like.

http://uncleeddiestheorycorner.blogspot.com/

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7 Comments

  1. Eddie’s a wonderfully talented guy. I had a pleasure of meeting him last year.

  2. I’ve known Eddie for many years as we met during the shorts program at Hanna Barbera while he was making Worm Paranoia. You could hear his infectious laugh from down the hall! I love his Don Martin-esque type drawings… and his ability to render hands is bar none some of the best I’ve ever seen. Eddies my hero!

  3. Ah, his laugh. One of the animation artists I met the day before warned me about that.

  4. Thanks for sharing a piece of yourself with us. I can relate especially to the script length and the wasted effort & time we “board artists” put thru because of it. All in all, I can’t think of another job I would enjoy more(in this salary range).

  5. eddie its ralph just saw your worm I mean your cartoon wow I loved it great great great mouth action and animation thanks ralph

  6. wow what great timing mouth action poses on this cartoon you directed eddie funnnnny ralph

  7. Cousin Eddie. I am proud of you. You have made your mark in life with pen and pencil.
    Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
    Your cousin in Pa., Barbara Fahy

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