Jerry Suh

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What is your name and your current occupation?
Hello! My name is Jerry Suh and I am currently a Background Painter at Nickelodeon Animation Studios.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I went to Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), GA and we have a huge fashion program there. I was never interested in fashion before, but I applied for a modeling gig when they were looking for fitting/show models for their big annual fashion show for graduating seniors. It was quite crazy because there were hundreds of girls in the audition, from in and outside of Savannah. What was even crazier was that one of the juries was Miss J who is known for America’s Next Top Model. I don’t know how, but I did get in to be one of the few models to represent the SCAD Fashion Show. And yes, Miss J coached my walking! It was really fun and exciting experience that I did not expect to happen, and I am glad it did.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Baxter is a 3d animation short directed by Ty Coyle. Working on Baxter as an Assistant Art Director / Lighter was a really rewarding experience. It’s probably because of the sense that we were really making a film together, and that every collaboration and individual contribution turned into a real result we could see. Ty was also an amazing director to respect our creative input for the film. I did a lot of concept art to set the overall mood of the film, then color scripted every shots to show crews the overall aesthetic of the film and help the lighting team lit their shots, then lit two of the highlighting shots of the film myself.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I am from South Korea but I moved to Boston. about 10 years ago. As cliche as it sounds, it’s been my dream to pursue animation since I cannot remember how long ago. But as I grew Continue…

Josh Sobel

What is your name and your current occupation?
Josh Sobel Owner at Josh Sobel Rigs + Freelance Character TD at Psyop

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Not too much crazy. Worked maintenance (painting walls, mostly) and was a cashier in a cafe briefly.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I’m the most proud of the animated Disney short, Feast. It was my first simulation project and also probably the most distinct and artistically-driven.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Until I was 12 I lived on Long Island and after that I went to high school in Fort Lauderdale. I fell into both art and technology while there and CG animation seemed Continue…

Rich Dannys

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What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Rich Dannys. I’m currently working as a Layout Artist at Yowza Digital, here in Toronto.. We’re in production on a new web cartoon series for Nickelodeon.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
My summer jobs during high school, involved working at a pickle factory: shipping, receiving, and (later on) in their “Tank Farm”. Smelly work, but at least you could work on your tan!  After college, I worked for a time at a comic-book distributor called “Andromeda”. Distribution nights, involved making very early-morning drives to both a nearby bus terminal for accounts in Montreal, Ottawa, and the Maritimes. And to Toronto Airport for accounts in Calgary, Edmonton, and Victoria, BC..

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I’ve enjoyed most of the stuff I’ve worked on.. Layout on ‘BEETLEJUICE’ holds a lot of happy memories for me. My start in the business, and not a bad cartoon either.. When I started work in Design, I got to work on ‘CADILLACS & DINOSAURS’.. A very small, tight crew. I think we did good work, that was helped by a solid Japanese overseas studio..  Working on ‘RIPPING FRIENDS’ at Red Rover was also pretty great.. We had a lot of freedom on that cartoon, and Andy Knight had a genuine respect for all of the artists working at his studio..

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business? 

I’m from Scarborough, a suburb in the east-end of Toronto.. Went to Sheridan College for ‘Classical Animation’ from ’83 to ’85, but dropped-out before finishing. Was working retail at a comic-book shop when a buddy suggested I take the Layout Test at Nelvana.. They seemed to like the work I did on it, and hired me to do Layout on their ‘BEETLEJUICE’ cartoon in 1989. Later, I did some Design work at Nelvana, for their action-adventure cartoons.. And in the mid-90’s, I began freelancing full-time under my own corporate identity: ‘Flying Dutchman Studios, Inc.’

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Get into the studio around 10am.. Get my Scene list and check it against the current animatic. And then either begin roughing-out or cleaning-up my individual scenes. This also usually involves designing some stuff that hasn’t been designed yet.. Lunch around 12.30 pm. And a mid-afternoon coffee run around 3.15 pm, or so. Head home around 6.30 pm.. Lots of kibbitzing with fellow in-house artists, throughout the day, etc.

What part of your job do you like best? Why? 

I get a lot of satisfaction purely from the act of drawing.. I really love drawing. Particularly, when I have a good idea of what each scene requires. The art of composition and making things “read visually” is also enjoyable. The staging, etc.. And when you get those rare moments when you can sneak something into a cartoon that you find funny or amusing, on the Design or Layout end. That can be a lot of fun, too..

What part of your job do you like least? Why? 

Working from poorly-executed storyboards can be a real drag.. Trying to “fix” stuff that just isn’t working, but has somehow already gotten past layers of approval.. That, can be a frustration. But you always do what you can, to “plus” things. And hope that the phenomenon won’t materialize again, or continue throughout the duration of the production..

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?
Right now, I’m using Photoshop on a cintiq.. I still prefer the old analog pencil-and-paper. But realize that it isn’t coming back anytime soon, and that’s a shame. The hardest thing for me to get used to now, is no longer having a nice thick storyboard that I can leaf thru at my leisure and make my notes, etc. Having to log onto a computer just to check an animatic, is annoying. And nowhere near the same experience.. I don’t read my books digitally. And would prefer not to “read” my storyboards that way either, given the chance..

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Keeping pace with new software and new methods of production.. Each studio invents it’s own production pipeline. Some are good, some not so much.. The changes in the industry are happening so fast now, that it’s hard to keep pace with it all.  Working contract-to-contract can be difficult, too. Though that aspect does seem to be improving lately, to a degree. Working full-time as a freelance artist will always be a challenge, I think.  And having a regular gig is something that we all dream of..

If you could change the way the business works and is run how would you do it?
It’s always nice to have bigger budgets with longer production schedules.. But my entire Animation career has been in TV production. So that equation doesn’t seem to materialize very often.. More money to make cartoons, and more time to create them? That would be a nice improvement..

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I don’t really have Animation heroes, per se.. I had Kaj Pindal as my Animation History teacher at Sheridan. He’s a bit of a local legend here, I suppose.. And I enjoyed working alongside Jim Smith when he came up to Red Rover studio, during production on ‘The RIPPING FRIENDS’. Looking over his shoulder as he storyboarded, proved insightful.. Most of my artistic heroes come out of the Comic-Book field, I guess? I got to meet Mark Schultz, when we did ‘CADILLACS & DINOSAURS’.. Later on, I got to know Dave Stevens pretty good.. He’s famous for creating ‘The ROCKETEER’. But he actually started out as an Animation Layout guy; working at both Filmation and Hanna-Barbera. So, we were always able to discuss Animation on that level.. Boy, I really miss that guy!

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I’m currently seperating from my wife.. Does that qualify? hah   In the past 10 years, I  also spent a good deal of time caring for my aging parents.. That too, posed it’s share of challenges.  But for the most part, I’ve been very fortunate in my life. For which, I’m very thankful!

Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I’ve been talking it up for years, ad nauseum.. But one day, I AM going to publish my own comic-book project! I self-published a sketchbook in 2003, and loved the entire process.. Taking control of one’s own artistic destiny, can be a tremendously satisfying endeavour..  I heartily recommend it!

Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
As a younger man, I used to take stairs (both up-AND-down) two steps at-a-time.. I’m a short, stocky guy. with very strong legs. I inherited my Dad’s physique, I guess. Dunno, if I’d try it now though. I’m a lot older. Perhaps, wiser?.. Some, would argue that point. So, I guess the Jury is still out on that one!

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Draw, draw, draw.. And draw some more.. I’ve taught a little bit. And always tell my students that drawing is the very foundation of the Animation (or Comic-Book) business. Storytelling too, certainly. But without learning fundamental drawing skills, you’ve really crippled yourself from the very start.  After that, Humility is a pretty good tool to have, too!.. When you stop learning in Life, you get old very quickly. So make a point of learning something new each and every day!

Continue…

Libby Ward and Kevin Glikmann

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What is your name and your current occupation?
Libby Ward, currently writing for WB’s Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! (with Jon Colton Barry).
Kevin Glikmann voice over actor. Currently the voice of Leonard the evil squirrel-alien on Nick’s Get Blake!

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Libby: I’ve always been involved in animation, but before it was a full time gig I supported myself calculating commercial airline weight and balance, playing on the Seahawks NFL drumline and leading underwater tours as a SCUBA Dive Master in Hawaii.
Kevin:Telemarketing for the Riverside Police department Costume Ball.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Libby: I loved working for the Muppets and Henson (my original comic entertainment inspiration) and I’m crazy about Scooby-Doo!
Kevin: Get Blake! My first cartoon series. We did 52 episodes. It’s currently on Nicktoons.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Libby: I’m from Seattle, WA. I started drawing in elementary school, recreating images of Bambi, Little Foot and Hagar the Horrible. I was disqualified from Continue…

Kevin O’Neil

What is your name and your current occupation?
Kevin O’Neil and currently a freelance special effects animator.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Being a bank courier, picking up bank checks from all the big banks in downtown Chicago, for Jet Courier services in Chicago, back in the 80’s. I worked at Midway and O’Hare airports in the middle of the night, 1 am to 5 am. Also before that, I taught guitar for 6 years, and played in a few bands in Chicago. I was a full time musician before going back to art school at age 28. So I don’t know if they were exactly crazy, just jobs.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
One of my favs was Iron Giant at Warner Feature, and Hercules and Mulan at Disney Feature. Working at Disney TV on The Tigger Movie was also a lot of fun, and working with Jun Falkenstein was a great experience. I was glad I got to work at Disney if even for a short time. Brad Bird at WB, John Musker and Ron Clements at Disney. Great people if you ask me. Proud to be a part of those films. The caliber of artists at these places is just great. Actually the caliber of artists at most of the studios is great, it’s just too bad a lot of the stuff we saw in the studios is art that never makes it to the screen.  I also worked at Warner’s Classics back in the 90’s as a character animator. We did a lot of commercials. I worked with Keith Baxter, Jeff Siergey, Spike Brandt & Tony Cervone. The place was fun and I got to draw Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. How could that not be great?  More recently I had a lot of fun on the Priest animated prologue for Genndy Tartakovsy. I did most of the effects on that except a couple of shots. It was fun because it wasn’t your normal efx, there was a lot of blood and guts and I got to blow things up. I finally saw an unedited clip of the whole thing online. I guess for the movie, it was tamed down.

How did you become interested in animation?
I guess just watching and growing up with the usual cartoons like everyone else. I leaned towards Warners. But I got into rather late, in my late 20’s. I was undecided in art school whether to pursue Continue…

Kickstarter: Techtopia: An Animated Comedy Short

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Here’s an interesting Kickstarter with a technology twist. I’d actually like to see this made! Check it out!

The Finkelsteins, a family of out-dated gadgets, cast out of Techtopia by Gooog Inc, find purpose again by starting a temp agency in the suburbs of Passé, “Where no one goes obsolete!”

Techtopia: an animated comedy short pilot, is brought to you by this excellent team:

3-time Emmy winning Simpsons director, Mark Kirkland…
Life of Pi animation lead, Will Kistler…
Voice of Cartoon Network’s Tom and Jerry, Rick Zeiff…
Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! writer, Libby Ward….
Voice of Leonard on Nick’s Get Blake, Kevin Glikmann… 

Audio recording completed (Igloo Studios). Working with a great animation company (Lady Bug Studios) to produce a high-quality product. Please help us see this animated project to to the finish line! www.TechtopiaShow.com