What is your name?
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I like the two movies I am finishing now: Zhu Zhu Pets: Quest for Zhu and Power of Zhu. They are coming out real well. I usually hate my work as soon as it is done so usually the answer is …what ever I’m working on now!
How did you become interested in animation?
As a kid I loved both Warner Bros. shorts and Disney features but I think it was Chuck Jones and Rankin Bass TV specials that really got me into animation. “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” (by Jones) “The Mad Mad Monster Party” by Rankin Bass and “It’s Christmas, Charlie Brown” are among my very favorite animated shows.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Maine and started animating as a child. At Rhode Island School of design I double-majored in Illustration and animation and at CalArts I got my masters in Animation. My first paying animation job was in New York City but I can’t remember where it was. At CalArts I met a lot of animation people some of whom have become quite big in animation and one of my class mates got me my first real animation job at Warner Bros. on “Tiny Toons Adventures.”
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
As a director I have a lot of duties but there are things I do that other directors might not. I over see every phase of the project from design and script to post production. Today was a typical day of working on two movies at the same time where one is in post and I am calling retakes on final color scenes for the first movie and calling retakes for grayscale layout and animation for the newer movie. We are also developing the premise for another movie in the series at the same time.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
The hardest part of any job is dealing with unrealistic schedules, budgets and people. I work pretty good with a budget and a schedule but there is always some ignorant person trying to make you do it twice as fast and for half the money but with the unrealistic goal of making it twice as good!
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I don’t like the business side of things and am glad to not have to deal with it but when someone makes a bad decision that I have to live with it really stresses me out. Being a name in this business leads to nasty surprises on the internet! I hate when people rant and rave about how bad so and so is at directing and etc. and I will not allow that bitter taste in my mouth by mentioning anybodies name in a negative way on the internet– I’ve had my share of bad press– and you know who you are — shame!
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I work on the computer every day but the thing that I do best on the computer is design with Photoshop. My cartoons for the last five years have all been CGI and it is pretty important that you learn how to see the world in 3D when you work in CGI. The latest project I am working on is stereoscopic 3D and that is not one of my favorite things but it is a trend they may last a while so I just have to get used to it! Calling retakes on 3D stuff will give me a headache.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I have had some fun meeting some big names in the business to name a few: Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera were at Warner Bros. when I was there and I was right down the hall from Bill so he passed my office every day to say “we should have lunch together sometime!” It never happened, but I enjoyed talking with him none the less. At the same time I was also an office away from someone I truly admire a great deal and that is Brad Bird. He is a nice guy to talk to and very talented. When I used to be a BG painter I worked with the late and great Maurice Noble who had done so many wonderful layout and color designs for Chuck Jones, he was a bit on the bitter side and said the Ted Giesel (my idol Dr. Suess) couldn’t draw!!! The creators of the fantastic Batman: The Animated Show Bruce Timm and Eric Rodamski are giants in animation but have always been good people to me. I don’t want to bore you with too much name dropping but I did have the good fortune to start my career working with Producers, Tom Ruegger and Steven Speilberg and they were both phenomenal influences on my life and career so thanks for that!
Describe a tough situation you had in animation.
I’m going to skip this as I still need to maintain my employability!
Any side projects you’re working on you’d like to share details of?
I have for years kept my painting going and as of late I have really pushed myself to be in galleries and that has been an interesting journey. Check out my website:http://www.bobdoucette.com/I have always loved caricature and I have a book of my caricatures out and a blog of those so check it out at here: http://douceart.blogspot.com/
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Please learn how to draw well, I can’t state this enough! As a director I am always training new people and the ones who work out the best have a bit of talent and a whole lot of will to succeed! You need to be curious about the world and keep learning all the time. Don’t try and get a job animating if you are looking in TV because it is all done overseas for TV! If you come to my door looking for a job you better know how to draw, and in perspective would be nice!