What is your Name and Current Occupation?
EddieÂ Fitzgerald: storyboard artist.
Past Crazy Jobs:
Crazy jobs? Hmmmm. Well, when I got out of school I washedÂ Â dishes, bussed tables and was an agricultural worker. None of those jobs paidÂ Â very much but I learned something valuable from each one, and I don’t regret theÂ Â experience. My first art jobs had to do with designing menus, letterheads andÂ Â all that, and that paid even less than dishwashing, because the clients wereÂ Â always changing their minds.
I have lots of favorites, but I guess the very best one wasÂ Â doing the “Tales of Worm Paranoia” short for Cartoon Network. There’s no high inÂ Â the world like doing a cartoon of your own. I learned sooooo much by doing that.Â Â On the positive side I learned that I liked doing slapstick and characterÂ Â acting. On the negative side I learned that I have an odd tendency to fixate onÂ Â depressing subjects. That’s not the way I am in real life, so it came as aÂ Â surprise. Don’t feel sorry for me. Once I realized I had that vulnerability IÂ Â was able to get it under control…mostly.Â Â Other favorites included working with John Kricfalusi on Ren & Stimpy, and RalphÂ Â Bakshi on some of his projects. Tiny Toons was a lot of fun and so was the TexÂ Â Avery show. So was working with Donovan Cook and…well, it would be a longÂ Â list.
I’ve always loved funny cartooning, and animation is all aboutÂ Â moving cartoons in a funny way. The devil is in the details. The fact that yourÂ Â 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”Â Â show every week when I was a tiny little kid. I saw Alice in Wonderland, MarsÂ Â and Beyond, Davy Crockett, Donald as a truant officer, excerpts from ThreeÂ Â Caballeros…it was Heaven! I just thought the Disney artists had the best jobsÂ Â in the world. Then there were Warner cartoons and Popeye, comic books, newspaperÂ Â comics, magazine illustration, Mad magazine…what a feast! And on live TV thereÂ Â was Jackie Gleason, Ernie Kovacs and Sid Caesar. With all that old childhoodÂ Â stuff in my head I filled a thick sketchbook with drawings, showed it to DonÂ Â 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 aÂ Â mystical thing; you can’t superimpose any old thought on it. You have to tryÂ Â lots of ideas and see which ones catch fire. You have to be sensitive to whatÂ Â the medium wants to say. You have to psych yourself into being in a zone. That,Â Â 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 areÂ 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 improveÂ Â 100% overnight if scripts were shorter. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying toÂ Â make things easy on myself. I believe in sweating blood to do a good job. I justÂ Â hate to see my best efforts cut and in a wastebasket.
Brushes with Animation Greatness?
Definitely! With John Kricfalusi! He’sÂ Â probably the best practicing line artist in the world, and on top of that he’s aÂ Â killer writer and director. I don’t think I’ve had a single conversation withÂ Â him over the years where I haven’t come out energized, and full of a sense ofÂ Â mission.Â Â Also I got to know Warners director Bob Clampett before he died. I can’t writeÂ Â about Bob without being overcome by sadness. I really miss the guy. He was aÂ Â great director and a great human being. He’ll inspire creative revolutions forÂ Â many years to come.
I’m working on a graphic novel and on an animation blog calledÂ Â “UncleÂ Eddie’s Theory Corner.” Check it out!
Advice To Young Animators?
Learn to draw and cartoon, even if that seems lessÂ Â relevant in the digital age. Be an artist who uses programs, not a programmerÂ Â who knows a little about art. Content is everything. A hundred years from nowÂ Â there’ll be virtual reality and holographic cartoons and nobody’ll care aboutÂ Â the strictly technical things we do now. They will care about expressive artistsÂ Â like Don Martin, Milt Gross, Wally Wood, Rod Scribner, Jimmy Tyre, John SibleyÂ Â and the like.