What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Uriel Mimran, I’m an animator. Currently doing sheet timing on a TV show.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Not many really. I did work in an insurance company one summer when I was in high school, which is not much. Boring. Oh yes, I worked a few days at a bakery, to help out a girlfriend.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
There are many. I’d say Nocturna, which is a project I really wanted to work on. I litterally tracked them down after seeing the pilot, and was extremely lucky they had a french co-producer. Then Lucky Luke, where the animation director handed me quite a lot of the horse character, Jolly Jumper. I got to animate whole sequences by myself. To finish, the Illusionnist, which was probably THE most challenging project I ever worked on. I think I had to learn animation all over again during this production.
How did you become interested in animation?
Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, I got to see all kinds of animation on TV and at the movies. At that time, they showed everything from Anime to Disney, WB and Tex Avery cartoons. I think what really tipped the balance in favor of animation for me was seeing « Who Framed Roger Rabbit » and meeting with director Paul Grimault. It was his assistant who indicated which school to attend to study animation.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Paris, France. I entered Gobelins in 1991, which qualifies me as a dinosaur, I guess. My first paid jobs were at Bibo films in Paris, then at Amblimation in London.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Lots of coffee. Then, paper, pencils, animation disk, pegbar, you know. I’ve also been using a Cintiq with Flash. And coffee.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Animating. The first few minutes on a new scene. When you’re not quite sure what you’re going to do, and how. That’s when the creative part of animation is at it’s height. Oh, and I love fussing about slow-ins and slow-outs. All the subtleties you can put in there. It’s amazing. And I love to see the audience react to things I’ve animated. Especially when the audience is kids. That makes it all worthwile.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Outsourcing. Seeing all of that work go overseas and come back butchered because of crazy schedules and inept management. How any passionate young animators could work and grow if only one show was made in-house.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Traditional. Pencil, paper, eraser, all that. I’ve been working with Flash on a Cintiq lately. For sheet timing, l use a lot of sticky notes to draw thumbnails over the story boards, and paste them on the x-sheet, next to the timing
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Crazy deadlines, never being sure when and where the next gig will be. That’s pretty stressful. Always having to prove yourself whenever you start on a new show. Basically it’s a bit difficult to be certain about anything in this business, and that can be nerve wracking. But it also keep you on your toes, which is good, even if your heart skips a few beats sometimes. Also, specifically for Europe, the movies are often underfunded. Meaning, tight schedules and outsourcing.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Having worked at Dreamworks on Prince of Egypt an El Dorado, I was fortunate to meet some truly great people. Nowadays, when I need my ego to deinflate a bit, I think about these guys and it puts me back in my place. However, I’ve met some really talented people everywhere, they just don’t have the same publicity.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Being out of work for months at a time is rough. A project I was scheduled to start on was delayed by a year, and I had no plan B whatsoever. Also, not being excited by the project I’m on is a real downer.
Any side projects or you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
Side projects…I like to draw zombies at the moment. You can see those on Twitter.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Not really, no. I like to do funny voices and imitate accents.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Be stubborn. Never give up. Learn from your mistakes. Be your worst critic. As someone ?(you know who) said : « If you don’t succeed the first time, try and try again ».