Craig Elliott

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What is your name and your current occupation?
Craig Elliott, I am a visual development artist and character designer, as well as an illustrator and fine artist
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I only had one job, as a paperboy, before I got a job at Disney. Not a very exiting or crazy job, unless you consider a glass perrier bottle blowing up and cutting my hands up with flying glass exciting… or being unable to carry the papers some Sundays and sitting crying on the driveway at 3 am alone! There was the occasional dog that chased me for several blocks, making me have to come back later on to do the deliveries in that area. That always made customers mad, and they would call to complain about late papers. What can you do? I didn’t want to get eaten alive! These occurrences seem less common in animation for some reason…
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I think Treasure Planet, and Enchanted are some of my favorites. There is something about any project that is a joy though. The challenge of turning a story into a visual is always rewarding no matter what the final outcome, or even if my work is used in the film. I always enjoy shows that require a greater amount of imagination- Treasure Planet definitely qualified in that sense. The movie wasn’t set in a specific place that is real, so anything goes! My mind and energy really get pumping in a situation like that. On Enchanted, Kevin Lima (the Director) asked us to come up with a Disney forest world, but with a twist. It was that twist that had us trying all sorts of creative things to help Kevin find what would satisfy his vision. I think it was my friend Christophe Vacher that thought to suggest we try using the Art Nouveau movement as a springboard. We all took off, working from that starting point. I put together a 30- something page style guide with Art Nouveau cues throughout, and even had a chance to speak with Alphonse Mucha’s Great Granddaughter on the phone at length as part of my research!
How did you become interested in animation?
I think I always was attracted to animation because of it’s limitless possibilities for Continue…

Jesse Aclin

What is your name and your current occupation?
Jesse Aclin. Freelance Character designer currently working on a project with Reel FX.

 

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Crazy ey? well, working in the toy design field was a bit crazy for me.. I also had a gig where it was my job to create label art by moving around existing images and changing the layout based on where a certain stores price tag and logo go. That was fun!

 

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Working with Reel FX on “Turkeys”, as a character designer. It was my first real gig doing character design, so it was sort of like a dream come true for me and I got to design a lot of characters! Right now I’m fortunate enough to be working with them again on “Book of Life”. I’ve worked on some fun TV commercial spots with Nathan Love, designing characters. Those are cool because I get to have a heavy influence on the style. Working with Titmouse was a heck of a lotta fun and an amazing learning experience as it was my first animation gig. I was hired to work as a character layout artist on Disney’s Motor City. I ended up working on a bunch of projects there. Good folks there, and I learned what it is to be a professional working in the biz.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from a town called Goshen, NY. It’s about 1.5 hours outside of city. My path into the animation biz is a bit of a strange and round about one. I always drew sort of well and I knew I wanted a career in the arts. So, taking my fathers advice I went into college for advertising because Continue…

Sam Agro

 

What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Sam Agro, and right now I’m working primarily as a storyboard artist and illustrator for live-action film and TV. I also sometimes write and draw for the comic book industry. My writing partner Jerry Schaefer and I are currently pitching live-action and animation shows to various networks and production companies. No takers yet, but we live in hope.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I grew up in Canada, in southwestern Ontario, where tobacco growing used to be big business. When I was in high school, I worked a few summers as a kiln-hanger during the tobacco harvest.  I also spent some time as a sign-writer’s assistant. This was during the seventies when signs were still painted by hand. You used special brushes, and taped off the letters with this thin green tape. You really needed a steady hand to eyeball the curvy bits of the letters. I treasure that experience, because it’s all done with computers now, and the craft of signwriting is becoming a lost art.
 

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
In terms of the animation business, I’m afraid I can’t claim any projects of which I’m truly proud. I mostly worked on a lot of “toy shows” like Strawberry Shortcake, Ninja Turtles, Care Bears, that sort of thing. Nothing wrong with those shows, certainly, but they don’t aim terribly high. Working on Ewoks and Droids was somewhat better, but they ultimately fell short of their true potential. I did have a few ‘close calls’ with quality. I worked for one week on The Land Before Time at Bluth-Sullivan in Ireland. Unfortunately, I left for all the wrong reasons. (Mostly for a girlfriend, that later dumped me.) I ALMOST worked on the original Bruce Timm designed Batman show. I was all set to supervise storyboards for the Toronto unit at Lightbox studios. Sadly, Lightbox and Warner Bros. weren’t able to work out a deal. I might have had a very different career if that had panned out.  On the live action side, I am very proud to have storyboarded on the film Fly Away Home, and five installments of the SAW horror franchise. Even though the SAW movies aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, I got to work with some great producers, directors and crews during that time.  As a writer, I was fortunate enough to work on the Looney Tunes comic at DC for about 5 years. It was amazing working on Bugs and Daffy and all the classic WB characters, and I’m very proud of some of the stories I did for that comic.  As a comedy writer and performer, some of the work I’ve done with various improv and sketch troupes has been great. Terrific groups like Dangerous Poultry, Big City Improv, The Wrecking Crew and The Canadian Space Opera Company. The Canadian Space Opera Company does staged parodies of old science fiction movie serials and 1930’s style horror radio shows. I am extremely proud of those shows.

How did you become interested in animation?
Like most kids I loved all kinds of cartoons. Later, when I was a teenager, I was really into two things: Drawing and acting. One night I took a date to see Continue…

Christina Capozzi-Riley

What is your name and your current occupation?
Christina Capozzi-Riley Animator/Illustrator/Compositor & Small Business Owner (PetKaboodle, Inc.)

 

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Not sure about crazy. I only held two jobs prior to becoming an animation professional. I started working when I was 14 at a restaurant called The Wander Inn. I was a preparation chef in the kitchen. I prepared salads, desserts, appetizers and helped the waitresses get what they needed in the kitchen for their tables. I was one of the few who had a job working every weekend throughout high-school. I worked there for about 5 years and then began working at PETCO as a grooming assistant. (Bathing, brushing, grooming dogs & cats…the works). Not so much a crazy job..but some of the furry clients as well as their owners can be a bit on the crazy side sometimes. I worked there for another 5 years until I graduated SVA in 2005 and was offered a job at Asterisk Animation, LLC in Manhattan. Then in 2007 my husband and I incorporated PetKaboodle, Inc. and I now own an operate the retail business aside from any animation jobs.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
There have been too many to count! Some that stand out to me are a bunch of short segments I did in collaboration with illustrator Steve Brodner called “Naked Campaign” which was lots of fun! It was a challenge to complete each segment in a matter of days in order to air on time. I’ve worked many times with the lovely Gail Levine on a number of documentaries including one on Jeff Bridges and another on Cab Calloway. I enjoyed the many documentaries we did for PBS and National Geographic, as well as the children’s language series Little Pim. I also enjoyed working with off-site animator Doug Compton. I frequently in-betweened his work and have learned so much in doing so. One of the more recent pieces was a documentary on Carol Channing where her intricate dress sure was a tedious challenge to animate and in-between!

How did you become interested in animation?
Ever since I was two years old I would draw, draw, draw! Some of my very first drawings are of Continue…

Robert Weaver

What is your name and your current occupation?
Robert Weaver, Lead Cinematics Animator at Hydrogen Whiskey for Microsoft and LucasArt’s Star Wars Kinect game.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation? 
Hmn, crazy?  I can’t think of anything crazy…  Washing dishes back when I was 14 maybe…What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of? 
Shrek 2, Prince of Egypt and Spirit over at DreamWorks Animation.  Those folks put a lot of quality into every project, but those are the ones that stand out as special for me.  Medal of Honor (the relaunch) with EA/DangerClose and of course Star Wars Kinect with Hydrogen Whiskey.  How can you NOT love to get to animate Star Wars characters?

How did you become interested in animation? 
At the tender age of 16, I happened upon two animated movies that pretty much Continue…

Mark MacKay

What is your name and your current occupation?
Mark MacKay – Freelance Animator/Character Designer/Illustrator currently working for JMG Studio.

 

 What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Nothing too exciting, I’ve done the usual, line cook, busboy, grocery bagger, Assistant Manager at a local Pharmacy, and more of the same.

 

 What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
The project I am currently working on for JMG Studio is very exciting and I’m proud to be a part of it. Sorry I can’t give out too much information at this time.

How did you become interested in animation?
I’d say after seeing Disney’s “Pluto’s Christmas Tree” when I was a kid, or pretty much any Disney animation for that matter, I was hooked. That was Continue…