What is your name?
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Pinky & The Brain, The Simpsons and lately, Phineas & Ferb… My first job was as a background clean up artist om “The Simpsons” and it soon became one of my all time favorite shows to have worked on. I also hold extremely fond memories as a timer on “Pinky & The Brain” as well as numerous other Warner Bros. shows such as “Animaniacs,” which lead to my first Emmy nomination for Directing. I also hold a special place in my heart for the pilot, “Smirt & Kirkle,” that I co-create with Rusty Mills for Playhouse Disney. The experience was terrific and left a taste in my mouth for wanting to do another pilot. Currently, I’m having a blast working as the Timing Supervisor on “Phineas & Ferb” at Disney TV Animation and it’s turning out to be another great experience that ranks right up there with the best in my career. Yet all these great shows fall by the wayside when my kids watch one of my short animations that I’ve created, and laugh or tease me for my sense of humor.
How did you become interested in animation?
I was sitting in my apartment in Orlando, Florida, working as a boat driver at The Jungle Cruise at Walt Disney World when I figured out what I wanted to do. From that point forward nothing was going to stop me from making it to Los Angeles and working in the animation industry and I’ve never looked back.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born and raised on a farm in north-central Kentucky and as much as I loved being outdoors, and the hard work of being on the farm, I knew even as a child that a big city was where I’d have to live. My talents pale in comparison to my Father and one of my older sisters but my drive to work in animation was too strong to be denied.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
As the Timing Supervisor on Phineas & Ferb, a typical day is based on unseen chaos and the ever rising/falling volume of work that can’t be predicted day to day. Without a doubt some of my greatest and most fun days center on being in the animatic room with one of our executive producers, Dan Povenmire, and one of our Directors, Rob Hughes, or Jay Lender. When they start to make the comedy, I laugh so hard I can hardly breathe, much less leave to go to the restroom for fear I’ll miss even more side-splitting humor.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I love the interaction with my crew and the rest of the crew on Phineas & Ferb. People within our business are great. I also like accomplishing the impossible goal, or so many goals that no one believes you can do it. I like beating the odds. What part of your job do you like least? Why?I don’t like it when somebody doesn’t truely put out 110%. If you’re going to come to work and expect to be paid then you better come to work ready to kick some “butt!” What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?There is a lot of stress that can hang around for weeks. Animation is a tough business and we all face being late and unrealistic deadlines, but when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s all the more difficult.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Mostly Toon Boom, with a little Photoshop mixed in. Personally, I also work with Flash and Mirage as well as Sketchbook Pro.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Steven Speilberg personally on two occassions, which was a thrill. After being in the business for so many years I’ve met various actors and voice talent that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, such as Dean Stockwell, Shelly Duval, Casey Casem, Richard Dryfuss, James Belushi, others if I really thought long and hard about it, but Tom Ruegger
was certainly the most influential for me.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I was once unjustly accused of not knowing how to time on a show, which I had already been timing on for two years, prior to a staff change. My reputation was questioned and I had several friends that later told me that they were approached about lying against me, so the accuser could protect themselves and bring in new timers that were friends of theirs. The selfish, egotistical side of people can be quite ugly in this business, from time to time.
Any side projects you’re working on you’d like to share details of?
I recently launched my own website at www.animationsoup.net and I’m very proud to finally have it up and running. I’m always trying to create something worth pitching, as most of us do, and I’m always working on producing a small animated short film myself. I recently shifted my focus slightly toward producing animated content for others and though it’s been slow, the pursuit has been fantastic.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
If you draw, then draw all the time, if you paint, then paint all the time, etc., but do whatever you do as much as you can because you will always be developing and refining your skills. And study great TV shows, movies and scripts and stories. Read books, go to museums: feed your brain!