Elroy Simmons

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What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Elroy Simmons and I’m a 2D Traditional Animator (and sometime Director/Designer). I’m also a part-time tutor on the Access to Motion Graphics course for adults at Tower Hamlets College, East London

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

 I’m not sure about crazy jobs, so much. When I was on my degree, I worked as a caricaturist – at local markets and for a company that organized swanky, massive Office parties in London. I’ve sold drawings (with varying success) since I was 12 (to schoolmates), but the first time I set up a ‘pitch’ and drew absolute strangers was, as I said, while I was ‘studying’ Animation at degree level.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
 I’ve been relatively lucky – so far, in so much as a lot of the stuff I’m able to derive the most pride from, is work I’ve designed and directed – as well as animated; so though the budget may be small, the amount learned is broad and the fulfillment felt is massive (“A Haven In a Brick Jungle”, “No Search/No Entry”). I think the best time I’ve had professionally was working on a cartoon short called “George et Alfred”; it was a ‘souped up’ spin off from a series shown on TF1 called “Ca Cartoon”, and it was broadcast that Christmas. The Director – Mark Woods, wanted two Supervising Animators – and asked me if I wanted the role, and to know who I’d suggest as the other Supervising Animator. I suggested a friend/colleague – Rob Newman. The studio that made the series (and presumably still do) wanted British Animators to work on the cartoon (their thinking was that British and American cartoon animation had ‘compatibility’, and more importantly that British Animators work longer – and for less money. So, for about three months we worked on the short with a crew of French Animators, in Paris, being put up in a Hotel about five minutes from the studio, and the studio even paid for weekly Eurostar travel back to London. Believe me, this level of care is stuff of myth in London. We had a party for all of the crew – even the Producers – at the end of the job. I’ve worked as hard since, but I’m not sure I’ve laughed so much – and I’ve not had reason to be as competent at speaking French since, either.

How did you become interested in animation?
 I remember seeing the workmen building the circus tents in”Dumbo” on what must have been “Disney Time” (a show that would pop up on the BBC) when I was very young. I was confused by how they seemed real, but were like moving sweets; I think I was ‘hooked’ then. I’d enjoyed drawing from very young, about 3 years old, but the time I was six, I’d said ‘out loud’ “I want to be an Animator”. My teachers at Primary School  (Mrs Sheffield at the time, then Mr Fairhall and later Mr Bandey) were all very aware and very encouraging (I was a bit of a ‘swat’, generally – so it never really interrupted my school progress), so I drew relatively often, regularly pestering my Mum for ‘Drawing Books’ to keep me entertained at home – and then by the time I was eight years old, I’d got into ‘flickbooks’ (Mum was a nurse, so there were thick Medical books that she didn’t mind me drawings on the corners of) – and it just went on from there, really. I remember thinking I could Continue…

Luc Desmarchelier

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What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Luc Desmarchelier. I am currently a full time faculty at the Laguna College of Art and Design where I teach Visual Development and Illustration. I am also working as a free-lance artist in the animation industry.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
As an Art Director for an Advertising agency in the french caribbean islands, I had to design and supervise many commercials on such small budgets that I had to do a lot more than is usually expected from the art director. This included appearing in one of the spots in full make-up, with my teeth painted white with nail varnish… Not something I would do today.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
The ‘Corpse Bride’ was a wonderful project. All of Dreamworks animation early projects were exciting; among them ‘Spirit’ is the one to which I made the greatest contribution.

How did you become interested in animation?
I was always interested in animation as an art form, but I didn’t realize Continue…

Jerry Fuchs

What is your name and your current occupation? 
My name is Jerry Fuchs, and I am a cartoonist who animates. I am self employed at Fooksie, LLC. I create cartoons, comics,illustrations, and animations,(both Flash and Traditional).
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Well, I am 48, so I have had the opportunity to:  Worked in high school as a janitor, and in the school’s kitchen, in the summers I drove a dump truck and laid cement, fixed pot holes, pulled dead sheep out of settling ponds, (don’t ask), and did a lot of painting.  While attending the Joe Kubert School I worked in a bodega in Dover, being part grocer, part deli-man, and part bouncer.  I have worked in the optical field, selling eyeglasses and doing contact lens trainings. I have also taught karate classes.

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What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of? 
While working at Stone Mountain Productions as the Art Director I was very proud of the laser modules we created that were shown in Dorney Park, Cedar Point, and the State Fair of Texas, as well as Stone Mountain Park in Georgia.  In 2009, my first foray into the Independent Film Festival circuit, “Loser Pays, Winner Stays “, came in second in its division in the DRAGON*CON Independent Film Festival.

 

How did you become interested in animation? 
I have always loved cartoons and comics. Growing up there was an unwritten rule in the house, if there was anything animated during primetime, I had control of the set. My Saturday mornings were filled with Continue…

Ivan Pinzon

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What is your name and your current occupation?
Ivan Pinzon, Principal Engineer, SketchBook Dev Lead.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I worked for Imaginova Corp, developing an Astronomy App called “Starry Night”.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
My current project, SketchBook for iOS and for desktop and Starry Night
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in Bogota, Colombia and 14 years ago I moved to Canada. I got involved with the digital artist world when I joined Autodesk to work in SketchBook.

 

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
It’s a combination of different things: code, debug, investigate and learn, plan and schedule future releases and a bit of customer support.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I really like to investigate and play with new concepts and ideas, try to find something that is going to be useful for our users.I also enjoy optimizing code. Faster is better.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Finding / reproducing bugs that caused our users to lose work. It’s frustrating to get these complains and more frustrating sometimes to not be able to reproduce these issues.

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?
My main development machine is a Mac and developing for iOS requires to have some iPads, iPhones and iPods. It’s incredible how technology has evolved. The latest iPhone/iPad are more powerful than the computer I had a few years ago. This has allowed us to push for unbelievable features for a mobile device. Something that a few years ago was just crazy to even imagine. The current trend were mobile is getting closer to desktop is very interesting. Seems that these 2 will eventually merge.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Keeping up-to-date with all the technology changes and being able to take advantage of them in a short period of time. It’s both challenging but at the same time motivating.

If you could change the way the business works and is run how would you do it?
I would like to spend more time investigating to find new innovative tools. But, work has to be done so finding a good balance is never easy.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I’ve had the chance to watch and listen to a few amazing guys, from sketching artists to animation professionals from studios like Pixar and Marvel. Different techniques and tools.  This has given me a chance to understand what artists need and with this I try to find a fun, simple and effective way to expose this in our software.

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Leaving my family and my past in my home country and starting from scratch again in Canada while keeping my wife and kids afloat
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
All I can say is that I’m working in some interesting technologies/features that I hope eventually are going to see the light of day.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I love airplanes. I have a private pilot license although I haven’t flown in a few years and I like to build and fly aerobatics model airplanes.  I’m lucky to have my son Nicolas as my partner and we compete in Canada and the US.  I also like to play the piano.

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?Although I’m not an artist, I’ve had contact with many that have started from zero and have been persistent enough to develop a clear style and technique that differentiates them from the rest, finally becoming successful and recognized. Take advantage from the social networks: Deviant Art, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, …

 

Michael K. Foster

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What is your name and your current occupation?
Michael K. Foster, character designer and animator.

 

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Not sure if they’re crazy, but when I was younger I was a stock boy for a health food store, talk about nut jobs.  I was a professional mover for three years and spent many of those nights sleeping in the back of the moving truck trying to keep warm in those dirty moving blankets because there was no time to go home.  My first art related job was designing yellow page ads.  Ever see those ads?  That’s pretty much the lowest design job there is.

 

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Wow, um…I guess one would be a new product for Anagram Intl. a company I used to work for.  They’re a huge national and international mylar balloon company.  Not what you may think of when talking animation, but I was contacted by them with nothing more then an idea and told to make it work.  It was all based around the QR codes that you see everywhere that can be scanned with a smart phone.  I developed a line of character driven mylar balloons for children with themes such as pirates, skateboarders, princess’s & mermaids.  Each balloon had a scannable QR code printed on it and when scanned, a short fun animation played based on the balloon.  It was a way to “continue” the story from the balloon.  The balloons are being sold throughout the U.S.  It may not be a huge deal, but for me, it was something because it started as a blank idea and it turned into something bigger.  This also helped my approach for new clients because it showed that animation is not just for TV and Film, but many other industries.

 

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in Ann Arbor Michigan and raised in Hillburn NY a small village about an hour north of NYC.  I got into animation some what by chance.  A company I used to work for was in need of some simple character driven animation to help promote a few new products.  My boss came to me and basically said, Continue…

Scott Adams

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What would you say has been your primary job in animation?
Background painter and color stylist. I’m currently remote freelancing for Warner Bros. on Scooby-Doo Mystery Inc. and Looney Tunes Show. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and used to work at Wild Brain before they relocated to LA.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I was a bill collector for the credit card division of a big, unpopular bank in the early 90s. It was all done on an automatic dialer, the account would pop up on your screen and you’d have to quickly process what their situation was and try to get them to pay their bills. Sometimes it was depressing, sometimes it was fascinating and entertaining. People will tell you anything when they owe money. Mostly I just left a lot of messages and sketched in my book.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated is at the top of my list right now. It’s the coolest show I’ve gotten to work on, I’m a genuine fan.

How did you become interested in animation?
I’ve always been a fan of cartoons, of course, I wanted to do comic books, but never Continue…