Mike Roush

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What is your name and your current occupation?
I am a lead animator at Titmouse inc.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
One of the most memorable was having to dress as an aardvark in from of a toy story in the mall and take pictures with kids. Memorable like a reoccurring nightmare.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
We’ll at Titmouse we just finished one of my favorite projects I’ve worked on called Motorcity for the Disney XD channel. It just got cancelled. Doh.

How did you become interested in animation?
I guess like everyone, watching a movie when I was young then finding out grown ups got paid to make those movies.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I grew up in Pleasanton in northern California, and went to school at CSUF in southern California.  I got my first real break into the animation business at Titmouse about 9 years ago, it was a much, much smaller studio back then.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I guess a typical day for me is getting to work around 10, doing any number of lead animator tasks that don’t actually involve animating (emails, production pow wows, and animator questions) until 11ish.  Then there are a couple dailies meetings which takes us to lunch. Then back to helping out animators and the production staff with problems that need putting out til about 2. After that I have either designs, backgrounds, comps, layouts, or other speciality shots that need my attention till about 4. Then I get about 3 hours at the end of the day to work on whatever shots I have on my list at which time my day is about up at 7.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I think getting to really dig into a shot that I have a clear idea what I want to do with. I guess it is the pleasure of seeing the scene really come to life, no different from when I first started animating. It hasn’t gotten old yet.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Hearing about our limitations, whether it be money, time, or client willingness. I think every animator I know when they talk about winning the lottery doesn’t talk about boats or houses or vacation. They alway say something like…”If I had a bazillion dollars I’d open a studio, hire all my friends, and we’d make animated (blanks) for the rest of our lives with no one to tell us how to do it”.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
A wacom cintiq….I have had a stylus in my hand every work day for about 10 years now.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I think the most difficult part of being in the business for me right now is making sure I am allocating my time in a way that lets me still do the thing I love, but at the same time growing my career.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I’ve met a shook hands with a lot of big guys in the animation business but one that I was really happy to have gotten to talk to was in college was Maurice Noble before he passed. We invited him to talk to our animation club and then selfishly I showed him some of my layouts for my student film I was working on. Like the classy guy he was he gave me a couple compliments and then ripped me a new one (as we used to say). It hurt a bit but he was right and he treated me like an artist not a student.

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Well one tough year I had was when I lived about an hour and a half away from work without traffic so that my wife could drive her hour commute in the other direction to do a veterinary intership. To say the least after that year I had put some serious wear and tear on my Books on Tape membership card. It was worth it though, and now my commute is only 25 minutes.

Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I do have a side project I’m working on right now but I’ll have to say I’m not sharing any details. I will tell you why though….I have found that if I start talking about something I’m working on at all, for some reason I stop working on it. I think it takes away the yearning I have for people to see what I’m doing hence I get relief and I put yet another project in the half finished pile. It is a big pile for me.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I can put my wife to sleep in under 10 minutes just by talking about the newest cool thing I have learned about in space exploration. I can get an ember going with the bow drill method of primitive fire making….I’ll let you know when I actually get a fire going.  And I don’t know if this is a hobby or me just being weird but I love exploring maps…just looking at all the places I haven’t been yet, and now that I have the updated google earth on my mac at home it is all over. I spent one night just flying around New York city the day before I when for the first time. I knew my way around when we got there.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Do what you love what you really truly love…there is a job out there where they pay you to do it. Make sure your reel, portfolio, and resume screams that you love “this” and you’ll eventually find that job.


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  1. Pingback: Review: The Hidden Life of the Burrowing Owl | Animation Insider – "Interviews about Animators by Animators"

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