What is your name and your current occupation?
Gary Blatchford. Owner and director of “illusion Animated Productions”. I have lots of hats, I direct, draw storyboards, animate, create layouts, I used to slug and write x-sheets in the good old 2-D TV animation days. Increasingly I have been putting together teams of freelance artists to provide pre-production services to other animation companies.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I never really worked before getting into animation, I worked for Richard Taylor Cartoons after leavingSt. Martin’s School of Art in London. Dick was one of my tutors and became a major influence and mentor to me. While I was a student I used to draw portraits in my local pub to earn beer money. The craziest thing I did was, I was the singer in the worse pub band in the world. We were quite capable of emptying a busy bar in 10 minutes. I taught animation at Dun Laoghaire college of art and design (now called IADT) in the mid 1990’s, but that is not really crazy is it?
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I am proud to have been associated with just about all the projects I have been part of. Even the less successful were learning curves. I have also met some really talented people along the way. In 2004 I directed a seven minute short 2D animated film called “The Pope’s Visit”, with funding from the Irish Film Board, RTE and the Arts Council. The great Aidan Hickey wrote a terrific script and acted as producer for me. It is being shown at the Annecy Festival this June as part of the Irish Animation show. In recent years, I have been providing storyboards for the TV series made by Brown Bag Films, including: “Olivia”, “Noddy”, “Octonauts”, “Doc Mc Stuffins” etc. They have lovely projects and a fantastically talented team of creative people. For most of the 1990’s I was studio director at Murakami Wolf Dublin, which became Fred Wolf Films Dublin. Starting with “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. We also worked on “Speed Racer”, “Sinbad”, “Zorro”, “Dino Babies” and I directed all three seasons of “Budgie the Little Helicopter”. In 2005/ 2006 I directed the “Slim Pig” series for Cheeky Animation. I have animated on a lot of commercial spots and music videos, for which you seldom receive a credit, but they are often the projects where you get to stretch yourself creatively.