Frequently Asked Questions

I get questions through email about animation, working in animation, getting a job in animation, etc. on a daily basis. Below, I answer some of them.

  1. Believed in myself.
  2. Put in 10,000 hours. (Google it and you will understand)
  3. Stuck to my guns.

Only the best work. My reel is under 3 minutes and I have been animating for 20 years, you do the math 🙂

Absolutely. That is if you want to be more marketable.

I highly encourage all forms of exploration creatively for animators. Animation encompasses kinetics, anatomy, cinematography, design, and so much more. If you want to create believable performances with characters and creatures, acting classes are a MUST. I participated in a two-year program performing and studying improv and it was the most enriching and scariest thing I ever did. The studio I studied at in Hollywood is now closed, but I am sure there are plenty improv conservatories near where you live. Sign up!

  • Do good work and don’t create drama.
  • There are no shortcuts.
  • You get good only after volumes of work.
  • Then, people notice.
  • Be a kind person that people enjoy being around.

This depends on what you want. The online schools focus only on animation and get your where you need to be with your reel to get a job. But, are you thinking you want a more well-rounded education? Are you sure animation is for you? Going to college will expose you to much more and more critical creative thinking.

Oh god no. I hate that thing. What the dopesheet does to your curves in Maya!!! is completely unpredictable!!! But, if you have a workflow that uses the dope sheet and it works for you, Do it! My workflow breaks down like this…

  1. I plan with pencil and paper, thumbnails.
  2. I shoot reference video.
  3. I create draw overs in photoshop
  4. I create a few thumbs and gestures maximizing on those main story poses from the video reference.
  5. Make a pass at some poses with the rig in Maya.
  6. Start all over again at #1

It’s always great to learn other skills and you can relate to other artist and their contribution to the pipeline. However, rigging is not required if you want to be an animator. Sometimes games studios like animators to rig, but features and commercials rarely expect an animator to rig since the two are such completely different disciplines.

If you want to be a rigger, then learn how to rig!

If you want to create your own films independently and have no desire to work in production, then I advise you to learn rigging since you most likely will not be able to afford to hire riggers and will need to do it yourself.

I get this question often because people are trying to figure out if they should shell out the money for college.

The beautiful thing about the internet is there is an enormous amount of content out there to learn from.  This kind of access did not exist when I was coming up as a newbie animator.  Back in the early 90’s we all shared xeroxed handouts that had been xeroxed so many times you almost couldn’t read them anymore.

The problem is not everyone has the stamina and perseverance to learn on their own.  Also, it’s a much slower process without a mentor/teacher to push and guide you. If you are a self starter and go-getter, you can achieve everything the students in college are. James Cameron used to be a truck driver. He would go down to the USC library and pull any thesis that graduate students had written about VFX or film technology. He literally put himself through a graduate course on film technology simply by reading the theses on the shelf. It was all there in the library. Today, everything is even easier to get online.

What university offers that you cannot get on your own:

  • Connections with fellow students that last beyond graduation and open doors
  • Connections to faculty and staff that do the same
  • Access to guest speakers and lecturers
  • Exposure to diversity in faculty and students you might not have access to otherwise
  • Critical thinking

Yes, especially if you plan on doing creature work.

Long hours sitting in the dark in front of a screen concentrating. Oh, and lots of men doing the same.

Lots of talk about Star Wars, Star Trek, and D & D.

It’s not enough to just make stuff move around. You have to make me believe it is a living, breathing, thinking character. Even if the character is a dot on the screen.

  1. Get a demo reel.
  2. Put it on Vimeo.
  3. Get a tumblr and put your resume there with your contact information.
  4. Then, go here:
  1. Siggraph.
  2. The bar closest to the studio you want to work at aorund 8PM?
  3. I am not kidding about that.
  4. And, check this link:
  • Exploring all of the possibilities
  • Working outside my comfort zone
  • Avoiding the path of least resistance