Spencer Ockwell

What is your name and your current occupation?
I currently make cartoons for Red Bull campaigns at an ad agency called Kastner & Partners. I recently animated the end title sequence for Mr. Popper’s Penguins (starring Jim Carrey). In the near future, I hope to be storyboarding and/or writing on an animated TV show.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I used to make pastrami sandwiches in the CIA cafeteria. Before that, I trained at-risk spider monkeys how to tap dance in Indonesia. I also worked at a Hilton, but never saw Paris and did construction, but it wasn’t constructive for my career.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I’m proud to have directed a few music videos and be signed with The Masses on their Masses Lab roster of directors. I’m also proud to be a Writer/Producer on a promising TV pilot for a kid’s puppet show, called Imaginus Zoo. You can get a taste of it atwww.imaginuszoo.com . The pilot is now represented by Continue…

Leisha-Marie Riddel


What is your name and your current occupation? 

My name’s Leisha-Marie Riddel, and I’m currently an Animator on a Music Video.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation? 
Crazy? Not so much, but I was a Prep cook at a local Restaurant, and a Receptionist during the summers at school. Prep cook was 14 hour days, so that kind of prepared me for animation’s work hours – but I was a lot more physically active back then.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of? 
So far since graduating, I’ve worked on several mediums all of which I’m pretty proud of, but I think my favorite two so far would be the Music Video I’m animating right now – and the feature film that I worked on earlier this year.

I’m extremely honoured to have been a part of both of those projects and to have my name on them.

How did you become interested in animation? 
I was about four years old when I watched Continue…

Lamont Wayne

What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Lamont Wayne and I’m a freelance Flash animator.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I was in sales related jobs for 10 years.   I’ve sold burial plots. advertising, cars, newspaper subscription renewals, done fundraising…  I’ve even sold vacuum cleaners door to door.  I’ve got the most crazy stories from the vacuum sales.  Here’s one of the crazier stories:

I ran into a real serial killer…
Well, I was running a crew of 5 salesmen up in Waynesboro, Virginia.  Day was going pretty good so far.  It was near the end of the day and everybody on my crew had sold.  We were really focusing on a certain cul-de-sac in a beautiful neighborhood.  Most of the sales were on that street.I was writing up the contract in one house when the lady of the house said “Have you knocked on that house across the street?”  I said no, we couldn’t get an answer there, why?  She said “A serial killer lives over there.”  See, they’re kinda like child molestors in so much as that when Continue…

Curt Walstead

What is your name and your current occupation?
Curt Walstead- freelance illustration

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I don’t know, animation is pretty crazy.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Dragon Tales, Baby Looney Toons

How did you become interested in animation?
Needed a job after graduating from art school and animation seemed like a fun way to make a living.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Grew up in central California in the small agricultural community of Merced. Animation was my first art job out of college.

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
If I’m on a project, I usually get about around 4:30 am and either sketch out concepts or get on the computer and start doing my finished
art. since I’m freelancing, part of my day will be spent reviewing the freelance job sites and making bids and checking in with my agent.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Sketching out my design concepts.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Clients that don’t understand the difference between subjective changes versus objective. If it’s subjective, then it varies from person to person and
it’s not really a change that ultimately matters in terms of whether the image works or not. You can end up wasting a day trying to read their mind as
to what they really want which they won’t know until they see it. That’s very frustrating. Also, clients that don’t tell you the whole story until your already
finished with the image.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Read the above comment. Also, trying to come up with a fair price. I always seem to be too high or too low with my estimates. You need to cut a balance
between the client’s budget and what your time is worth and you need to be flexible to get the projects.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Adobe Photoshop and sometimes Illustrator.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Nope.

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
The great recession of 2008.

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Take some business classes.

Vinu Thomas

What is your name and your current occupation? 
Vinu Thomas, Independent Animation Consultant

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Software marketing

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of? 
Wolverine & The X-Men

How did you become interested in animation? 
Tom & Jerry is to be blamed! Got the chance to watch them the early  1980s itself and got addicted.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business? 
I’m from India and there was no Animation Studio in the southern part.  Toonz Animation had started their  office here in the year 1999…..and then there was no turning back.

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job? 
Lot’s of Excel sheets, stroll through departments and coffee!

What part of your job do you like best? Why? 
Every project will have its own definite style and needs Continue…

Spotlight- “The Lift”

Today begins with a new feature here on Animation Insider where we showcase films of our interviewees. Todays film The Lift comes from New Yorker Robert Kohr. You can also catch his interview here!

About The Film: The Lift explores the consequences of one very common behavior of not holding the elevator door open for someone rushing to get on or worse, lifting your finger and actively pushing the close button. In this film, an elevator interaction between the two lead characters goes wrong, prompting a young woman to learn about being insensitive and to be more considerate in the future. 
A true labor of love, it took Robert and his team over 4 years to complete this 5 minute plus film that has been screened in over 55 festivals around the world, winning awards in 15 of them. Robert explored working with artists found online, all of whom he had never met and have developed continued working relationships with some of them. In this day and age it’s important to leverage social networking into your business model and The Lift is an example of this trend. 
Robert lives in New York with his fiancé and his computer.