What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Edward Ernest. Iâ€™m an associate flash designer at Sony Pictures Interactive.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I was working at Home Depot doing early morning shifts as a freight package handler. Thereâ€™s nothing like getting up at 3am to unpack and stock products and being unappreciated for your workâ€¦(sarcasm).
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Iâ€™ve worked on a social game called â€œIsland paradiseâ€ and Sony Pictureâ€™s first facebook game â€œHotel Transylvania Social Gameâ€.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in New York, Iâ€™ve lived in Philadelphia, but Iâ€™ve spent most of my life living in Atlanta, GA. I loved watching cartoon as a kid (I still do ). I wanted to be a paleontologist because I loved drawing dinosaurs, until I realized what they do all day. In high school, my twin brother and I would watch the behind the scenes of our favorite animated movies. I always felt that I wanted to do something with my talent in art but I didnâ€™t want to be a starving artist, showcasing my paintings until someone found some weird profound meaning to buy it. A recruiter from the Art Institute of Atlanta came to my school to tell us about the programs they offer. I had a â€œeurekaâ€ moment because my love for cartoons plus my talent in art, plus the countless times I spent watching extras on cool things animators are doing for movies all made sense with pursuing a degree in animation. And the rest was historyâ€¦.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I get to work sometime between 7:30-9am (my job is very flexible), check my emails, design and animate things for the game, then play the game, everyday. Pretty sweet! (not sarcasm)
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Playing gamesâ€¦.why not?
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Leaving work. No, really it would have to be when I hit an artist block and a project is due really soonâ€¦.YIKES!
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Adobe Flash, Illustrator, and Photoshop.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Working hard on a project, just to be told to make so many changes that I would usually just start over (reference the Yeti from the dreamworks animated movie â€œRise of the Guardiansâ€).
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
When I was in Canada for an animation convention, I attended a seminar with Eric Goldberg and Peter Sohn. I got a chance to speak to both of them at the convention.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I moved to Los Angeles to work for a small company in Beverly Hills called Meteor Games. After seven months I got an email with a few others to meet in the boardroom. I thought it was a team they were assembling to create another game, but to my surprise we were all the people that were laid-off. Fortunately, this was a learning experience for meâ€¦..trust God. Within one week, The Lord blessed me with my current job at Sony Pictures.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
Working on a cartoon short right now, Itâ€™s kind of under wraps until itâ€™s ready.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
After watching an episode of â€œChoppedâ€ on the food network, I like to come up with something spectacular in the kitchenâ€¦..is that considered unusual?…my wife thinks so.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
For the students learning animation, pleaseeeeeee learn outside the class. Itâ€™s always good to find out what is going on in the industry so youâ€™re not out of the loop. Textbooks alone arenâ€™t going to put you high amongst the competition. Do internships, cling to the people who are already in the industry or have been there. Now for the people who are out of school and looking for a way in, stay sharp. Donâ€™t stop sketching, designing or animating. Keep your portfolio fresh and full of varieties. Ultimately, you must network. Stay in contact with people within the business.