What is your name and your current occupation?
Temris Ridge, independent animator.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Not many. I went from high school to university to animation school with a little burger flipping and file sorting in between.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
One of my earliest, coolest projects was working on Sam Niemann’s project called “Ruby Rocket.” One of my favorite commercial jobs of my career has to be animating Pop Tarts commercials for TV, which includes GPS, Stuck, and Tour Bus. I was also very excited to get to do some animation for the end credits for the Laika feature film, The Boxtrolls.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Washington State, born and raised Pacific Northwesterner. I studied art, film, and writing in college and then went to Vancouver Film School’s 1-year classical animation program to learn how to animate. Immediately after that, I moved to Portland, Oregon in 2008. I contacted all the local studios and animation professionals that I could find and set myself up to be an independent animator and have been ever since.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Mostly spent glued to my computer, or at a computer at a local studio, animating my brains out. Every few days I make contact with clients or escape to draw with friends at a local bar or in the out of doors.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Some jobs allow me the freedom to really put in some creative energy and get expressive, using my own styles or designs. Other jobs may require less creativity, but I still get to animate something that, when watching it replay, gives me a giggle and I find that very satisfying.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Staring at a monitor for so many hours in a week can take it’s toll on the mind and body if I don’t keep myself balanced.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis, how has technology changed in the last few years in your field and how has that impacted you in your job?
I work with a home-built PC and Wacom Cintiq. Programs I use include Flash, Photoshop, After Effects, and Toon Boom. The biggest technology I’ve been excited about that I’ve only used in the last few years is the very enjoyable Toon Boom line of programs. It allows me to continue to animate efficiently and maximize the enjoyment of the process.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Running one’s own business as an independent animator requires quite a list of skills and abilities. Creativity, artistry, diligence, business professionalism, inspiration and surely some other things that are escaping me right now. I am content if I manage a few of these at once. Some of these things come easier at some times, and others not so much.
If you could change the way the business works and is run how wouldÂ you
I wish it was easier for animators and clients/studios to find each other.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
At Vancouver Film School and here in Portland I have encountered an independent animation great, Michel Gagne, who is a source of inspiration for me.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Coming to Portland, not knowing anyone, and introducing myself to other animation professionals and studios was a challenge for me. It is not uncommon for animators to have to force the skill of socializing and networking, and I was no exception! As any other skill, it becomes easier with time and practice.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
My latest short film, Zombie Fairy, was featured in 2014’s Northwest Animation Festival. Since that one was completed, I do not have any new film to announce as of yet. Every once in a while I post a comic or two.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Unusual, perhaps not. But I make a pretty mean savory French Toast, I can rock it at Mario Kart Wii, and I am a master at list-making.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Hard work and diligence is worth more than talent. Make your name and your work known. Get seen, be active, and don’t keep your projects on the back burner for too long. Nobody is in animation that doesn’t love animation, so do what you love!