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So last month, some kid on YouTube asked me to do an interview for her college animation project, so I figured I may as well repost it here.
So what inspired you to start animating?
A little website called Newgrounds, which all the kids at school would try and workaround the school’s web filters in order to access all their weird Assassin games. If anyone even remembers some of my earliest animations, you can pretty much tell that Weebl was also a strong influence. Heck, the moment I got my Flash 5 trial, the first thing I made was a crappy Weebl + Bob ripoff titled Clif + Rich.
How long does it take you to make an animation?
It very much depends on how long the animation is, how complex it is going to be (for example, a hand drawn frame-by-frame animation will take a lot longer than a simple tweened one), how much drive you have to do it and, as is the case with most commissioned animations, when the deadline is. It’s hard to pindown a precise estimate since there’s so much on and off internet browsing to factor. In general, I’m kind of a slow starter, but if I can get into a rhythm I can do simple animations relatively quickish (a 10-30 second skit can normally be done in a day or two circumstances allowing). Like I said, there can be a lot of factors that can affect this time flow, such as waiting on feedback or certain assets or, y’know, new Game Grumps episode or something. XD
I noticed you do a lot of work for other people e.g. asdf movies (wow) how did that happen?
Kinda comes down to who you know really. I guess my first notable commission came from Akira the Don after his brother Zef spotted this James Bond parody I had animated, which eventually became Hypocrite. This, along with other stuff in my portfolio/showreel, attracted the attention of Weebl when he opened up an animator position on his site (be warned: he can be a harsh mistress, though I’ve yet to be determined if that’s in general or just me XD.) His connections also helped open up some commercial work, such as The Kevin Bishop Show. As far as Tom goes, we’ve kinda sorta known each other through sites such as Lock Legion and Sheezyart, as well as occassionally meeting him at expos such as MCM. He eventually asked me to do asdf4, and that would later bring about work on some of the other toons in the series.
I guess if you want to get work, the best advice is to put together a showreel of your best animation and get yourself out there. Something I am terribly bad at doing, btw, due to my social awkwardness.
Do you ever get stressed over it?
Oh yeah, things can get very paranoid if things don’t go your way. Heck, just booting up my computer is a test of ‘please god let this boot up okay’. And as many animators can vouch for, Flash can often provide a lot of grief in certain circumstances. More often for me is when lines and fills don’t draw the way I want them to.
Is doing animations like second nature to you now? I read that you started in 2003?
Yeah, there’s certain things you pick up on that can take you a while to figure out how to work properly. For example when I started out, I didn’t even know how to tween things. These days, I easily forget what parts aren’t common sense to newcomers like “you mean people DON’T know how to do a custom ease?” But yeah, like many things you gradually get used to it and things become second nature as you keep doing them.
What do you do when the animation doesn’t go the way it should, pointing to tweens I sure know they are very annoying. Especially flash overall, i find flash very stubborn.
I freak out, I guess. Most times you gotta suck it up, but if there’s something that can potentially screw up something you’ve been spending hours on, it can get pretty arse. That’s why you should always remember to save, folks.
Do you work best by having a story board there?
I do tend to draw up animatics, which help me plot out the actions I need and serve as a rough drawing guide for drawing the neat linework.
What advice would you give to any amateur animators that are just starting out?
LEARN TO DRAW
This is admittedly one of my great failings as I kinda picked up flash right after I stopped doing art classes, which came back to bite me in the bum when it dawned upon me that proper animation is 90% drawing. Even now I kinda struggle with it.
So yeah, just follow the sorta advice you can get from regular artists, draw from life, take nekkid lady classes, etc.
As far as actual animation goes, I was mostly self-taught, but there’s some books or tutorials out there that can help you, such as the classic Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams, or the recent Happy Harry’s HuHa2 How-Tos series on YouTube.
(interview by Kayleigh Stephens)