Contacting Industry Professionals

As part of the module we were to make contact with industry professionals, i contacted many people. 3 have gotten back to me. They are…

Jonathan Temples

A Freelance Studio owner based in Belfast with over 20 years in graphic design, Illustration, animation, storyboarding and branding.

Martin Kenny

An experienced freelance graphic designer, illustrator and cartoonist.

 

Shaun Absher

A sculptor and modeller for Disney, having worked on films such as ‘Frozen‘, ‘Big Hero 6‘ and ‘Moana‘.

Each of these lovely guys have gotten back to me and received their unique questions. As of yet i have not received the answered questions, but they will be posted as soon as i receive them.

Since i am without questions thus far i have linked below, two interviews i did last semester with women who work in the industry, discussing sexism and inequality with the industry. These women are…

Joanna Romersa

A graphic and digital artist who is employed by Walt Disney Television Studios. She has gained notoriety for her efforts as an animator and animation director for various movies and television series such as ‘Lady & the Tramp‘ and ‘A Pup Named Scooby Doo‘.

Rachel Creaner

Graduated from Ulster University in 2016. Now an Assistant Art Director at ‘Paper Owl Films’

Joanna Romersa Interview

Rachel Creaner Interview

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Interview with Disney Legend, Joanna Romersa

A skype call interview i did with Joanna Romersa about Women in the Animation Pipeline and what has changed over the years. I later typed up for anyone who is interested.

  1. You started your career in the inking and painting department of Disney, despite the obvious sexism of the job, was it an enjoyable experience? Did you always yearn to do more?

Well it really wasn’t very enjoyable in the beginning because it was really, pretty boring. They made me draw circles and loops and ovals and landing of a plane and taking off and gliding with the pen. It was really boring, and I almost quit, because I thought I can’t just do this. A dear friend of mine later said “Just sit down, shut up and learn it, and you’ll have a job for the rest of your life” and little did I know, just how true It was.

 

  1. Was it after sneaking into the animation building (and being caught my Walt) that your desire to animate grew, or was it always there?

No, I had no intention of animating when I started, it was just all kind of a fluke, but as I progressed as an inker and it was no longer a challenge, I realised that I needed to do something else. I actually asked the production manager if I could indeed train as an inbetweener and he said “no, because you are a woman you are going to go away and get married and have babies and never come back, and we invest too much time and money into your training and it would be for nothing, therefore you are delegated to the ink and paint department, or you could be a checker if you choose.” But that really was not interesting at all to me, and so shortly after that I left.

 

 

  1. What was it that made you decide to finally leave Disney and move to Hanna Barbara whilst studying?

Well, I didn’t go directly to Hanna Barbara, I took time off to have my son and I worked for a independent ink and paint company that inked commercials. We did the very successful commercials of the day, like ‘The Bank of America’, ‘The Western Airline’ and things, and it was a good entering job for me because I could work at home a lot of the time. Then as Joe (her son) grew, and was able to go to nursery school and kindergarten and what have you, that was when I went to Hanna Barbara.

 

  1. In relation to a man, were your wages equal? In recent years has this changed? Do you feel that the wage you were paid fairly represented the amount of work produced? Do you feel that it was enough money to live off.

For the time it was enough money to live on, and yes I was paid the same proportion to a man, because it was ‘union’. There were stipulations as to what your salary would be. You had automatic pay raises in the beginning, an inbetweener would be paid so much and an apprentice or whatever, And then you would skip to a different place in the system and you would be at the bottom of the barrel again. And you would have to go through the progression of pay raises, eventually, by the time I had gone through all of the stages of assistance animation, they made me an animator. So then I started at the bottom again, but it was quite a bit more money at that time. It was very comfortable.

 

  1. In more recent years of your long career, it appears that you have had the role of ‘timing director’ what exactly does that role entail and what led you to that job?

 

When the animation was being shipped over seas to Australia and Taiwan and the Philippines, there was no longer a job for Animators, so timing directing came in as a way to fill in the jobs for the animators that were still there at Hanna Barbara. And a timing director charts how on the timing sheet how many drawings it will take for a given action. We work with the storyboard. In the old days we didn’t have what they call ‘quicktime’ that they use now. We just used the storyboard and a thing we called ‘slug’ and each of the panels of the storyboard were designated an amount of feet and frames, footage written onto the exposure sheet, and that exposure sheet then followed the storyboard and the soundtrack too the animator. Also the dialogue was written on the exposure sheet and Bill Hannah was the one that invented the idea of mouth charts, and mouth charts were A, B, C, D, E, F and that indicated a closed mouth, a slightly open mouth, a wide open mouth and ‘Ooo’ sound. And because we spoke English, many of the places that the animation was sent too had absolutely no idea what that dialogue represented, so these letters would phonetically explain the sounds so that they would animate that the picture of the mouth witch would then of course bond to the soundtrack.

 

  1. In an industry swarming with men, what made you decide that this was what you wanted to do, and in fact something you as a woman COULD do?

Because it paid well, and all of the directors and producers were men and again the pay scale went up the higher you went up on the totem pole, so to speak. And since I was going to be spending all my time there, I just assumed make more money, and more interesting jobs, because the director does direct but he or she may influence the actors to annunciate certain dialogues, certain expressions and It was basically just more interesting. The industry swarming with men…well they kind of nice men, haha. I didn’t really suffer from being one of the only women in the building, but some people were real jerks, but for the most part they were friends of mine, and they helped me. It was hard wok, and that’s what it took, I think for any struggling artist or someone who is trying to get into the business, don’t think its going to be easy, because its not. Its going to take a lot of patience and a lot of hard work and I think one of the reasons I did succeed was that I was just very stubborn and I wouldn’t accept ‘no’. Many times I had to go around it because I was a woman. You can’t really confront somebody who is your boss, I did that once and I realised it really didn’t work. If your determined and you want to do it, you can do it. You just have to be smart about it and go for it, and if it doesn’t work for you do something else.

 

  1. Do you feel that being a woman has ever been a factor that has held you back or slowed you down in progressing through your career?

Oh yeah, in the beginning. They really didn’t want me in there because it really was like an ‘old boys club’ and I couldn’t talk about guns and cowboys and whatever else, haha…fishing gear etc. But it didn’t bother me, if the conversation turned to something I wasn’t interested in I just either left the room or shut up. In the beginning they just said “no, you can’t” but because technically the business changed because inkers were women but when the Xerox machine came in, that left room for us to excel or go back into Xerox or go ahead into animation. It was a good opportunity and they did accept women as assistant animators so when you became an assistant animator, that meant you eventually became an animator. So that was a door that opened naturally.

 

 

  1. What advice would you give to young women trying to get into the industry?

First of all, most of the studios nowadays demand a college education, and education is going to make you a broader person, through the years do better without, but initially if you want to get into a major studio they are going to look for that degree. So go to college, get your degree, major in film, or art or literature that will aid you. Always remember no matter how pretty the picture, if you don’t have a good story you don’t have anything.

 

  1. When starting your family, did you find it was difficult to remain in the industry?

I worked from home and It was no problem as long as I did my job and met my deadlines it was fine. I have to tell you, sometimes I worked very late at night because I was taking care of kids during the day, but because I could work at home, I had a salary, you just do it. I think it would have been easier if I didn’t have my children but that would not have worked, haha. I am glad I did have them.

 

  1. Discussing the topic of sexism and inequality, is there anything you would like to add?

Well, nowadays…I don’t know. The role between men and women is pretty much equal. I don’t really think, well…yeah if you get an old guy that’s just hard nosed about it then you might have a little bit of trouble. But for the most part the world is changing and its changing for the good as far as equality is concerned. I think just to be smart, considerate, to go for the opportunity when you see it. If you see something isn’t working don’t just sit there, and don’t become obnoxious about it, you back up and you find another avenue. Be persistent and go for it, pursue your dreams whatever they are.

Talk with Greg Maguire

One of our tutors, Greg Maguire decided to give us a talk on his animation career, which was so interesting.

greg@inlifesize.com

@greenboots

  • went to our uni (university of Ulster Belfast) from 1985-89
  • Did foundation year at Belfast Metropolitan then went on to do his degree in design.
  • Failed a few modules before realising he wanted to work with computers
  • Left uni and got a job in Dublin for knowing Boolean, when there he saw there was animation wanted in Belfast.
  • Ended up having to work on commercials for the shop chain, Spar. Obviously, he hated it and ended up phoning a friend who worked at Don Bluth, managed to get into Don Bluth by a fluke of running down to Dublin for a day to hand in his portfolio.
  • Did a job there by doing everything no one else wanted to do like installing software until finally he was asked to model. When working here he got to go to conferences around the world and got to meet the likes of John Lasseter.
  • Everybody was geeking out about everything in the animation field because it was all new and no one had done it yet.
  • Don Bluth badly managed his money, he got money for one movie and used it to finish the previous until finally, he lost everything.
  • Greg went onto work in LA for a month, he lived in a  garage for 3 weeks because the hotel he had been staying at was cockroach infested. Won a grammy for what they created in that month though.
  • By the time he got back to Ireland Don Bluth had got back on his feet financially.
  • 3 months later the guy he had been working with in LA worked at his company for 2 years doing stuff MTV, Coca Cola etc
  • After a while he got an interview at Pixar, he wanted to be an animator but Pixar offered him a lighting job, so he said no. Disney rang him about a month later, he took there job, they gave me a lovely cottage to live in and had 40 hours a week work which was brilliant compared to the hours he had been doing.
  • When he started he realised the guy above him was a prat, he started learning how to rig and ended up rigging over 80 characters for the film Dinosaur.
  • He started going to 2D animation and Storyboard classes as well as sculpture, performance and improv classes, all to learn to a be a good animator. He then got to animate in dinosaur and realised how crap teh rigs where, so he started re-rigging. This went down really well!
  • After that he moved to a teeny 3 man company and was the first company Lucasfilm reachec out to. Around that time Maya became the big thing.
  • Lucasfilm was working with Maya and Greg knew nothing about it.
  • They then started working on Curious George. His visa was great so he could move to whatever company he wanted.
  • Curious George got cancelled and got offered a job at ILM which was an amazing experience.
  • Got taught simulations for Pirates of the Carribean.
  • Good job he learnt it because it came in useful when he did the dementors for Harry Potter.
  • Got phoned to work on Happy Feet and had to rig again but problem being every rigging this was created was owned by the company and not him, so he decided to start his own company. Had the rigs ready for Happy Feet in 3 months.

Gregs Advice

  • Make sure your CV is PDF and easily reachable with keywords like ‘maya’, ‘mel’, ‘creature animator’ etc
  • make sure your cover letter is to a person and not whom may concern.
  • Make sure to send website and showreel
  • Always put your best bits at the beginning.
  • Names, addresses, contact info at begninning and end of the showreel and on every page you send

What Each Person Does in the Gaming Industry

Concept Artists– Usually draw 2D images environment or character passed onto production. Responsible for keeping continuity, if art is good, more chance of real game to be good. (Take note of how artists present work).

3D Artists– Working day consists of sculpting objects, characters in 3D changing high poly to low.

Technical Artist- Only some studios will have one as it is usually just part of the art and programming team. Shader programming and shader optimisation is a main part of the role.

Animator- Most often applied to give life to a game. Also applied to elements like trees and flags, not just characters. Blending animation to character controls seamlessly.

Animation & Design in Games Industry

Game Development

  • Different from film or Television because its interactive where you can even change the outcome of a story.
  • Requires art but also a lot of technology
  • Teams work closely from start to finish unlike film

A Brief History

  • before 1950’s, cards and board games on top
  • computers where unavailable
  • 1970s- Early arcade games, Pong, Space Invaders etc
  • 1980’s- Market crashed, to many similar arcade games, lost popularity.
  • 1985 onwards- Nintendo releases NES new level of quality. Cartridge games become popular. Nintendo had high quality control- Very little violence.
  • 1990’s- home computers changed everything. First 3D games became available.
  • 2000’s- large and more complex games. Online games become common. World of Warcraft, Runescape etc
  • 2000 onwards- reemerge of indie arcade games
  • 2010- App’s become a game console within phones. Phones now even have 3D detailed gaming too.
  • Now & Future- Oculus Rift now in Public Domain

Game Design Workers

  • Art
  • Animation
  • Audio
  • Game Design
  • Management
  • Programming
  • Quality Assurance

Programming departments are now much larger than art departments.

Art in Games

Concept Artist– Work closely alongside modellers

3D Modeller– Characters and environment, some specialise GUI Artist

Texture Artist– may model as well- looks at shaders

Technical Artist– Bakes simulation, works with programmers

Visual Effects Artist

Chinese Animation Industry

1949-1970

Shanghai Animation film (central planned economy)

70’s-80’s Sino

Foreign joint ventures in Southeast of China

90’s-2000’s

Television animation booming, Television state own, private and foreign companies produce animation.

2000-

Industry is listed as one of states strategic industries and considered as a part of culture creative industry, entertainment and digital

Strategies of Chinese Animation

  1. company- Shanghai Animation
  2. Cultural Industry Park
  3. Educational Base

Regional Development

  • Beijing and Tianing Base Animation making
  • Shanghai, Hangzhou Financial and Talent
  • Changsha Base Original Animation Dallan Base Outsourcing
  • Guonghou and Shenhen base derivative Products
  • Chengdu base- Digital game and Entertainment

Shenzhen National

58 Domestic Companies

10 Oversea Companies

32 Original Animation Companies

9 Mobile phone and game companies

7 Derivative product produce companies

3 Project Agencies

2 Publishing Companies

1 Finance Company

2 Tech Supports

3 Societies

5 Original Animated Companies

3 Training Companies.

2010

47 billion RMB (6 billion euro)

values of gross adjust for animation industry

8300 enterprises in industry

in 2011, 435 pieces of TV series, 261,224 minutes

24 pieces of animated film, plus 10 imported animations.

Problems with Chinese Animation

  • films don’t do well, only make about 1 million
  • Everyone watches them online
  • Have low product
  • Aimed at 4-14 year olds
  • similar storytelling adopted from comic books
  • Entry barriers in industry
  • Chinese superstitions don’t allow certain stories. eg, talking animals etc
  • made in China but not created in China
  • Limited to no brand influence

Report on Industry

on March 20th we have a 3000 word essay to submit, it is to be a Report on ‘Industry’. Some of the ideas/inspiration we were given are…

  • recession
  • focus on Belfast or America/Worldwide
  • 2500-3000 words required
  • can discuss animations
  • can discuss certain studios
  • go any direction that is relevant to better understand the industry
  • submit a digital and physical copy

How to better your essay

Even if your content isn’t good, if grammar and formatting is good you can still do better than you may think.

Essay Requirements 

Style and Format:

Margins: set the margins of your document to 2.54 cm on all sides.

Font: Times New Roman, black colour, font size 12 throughout.

Essay Title: appear at the beginning of the page (centre aligned), in font Times New Roman size 12 and in bold. It should not be in italics or underlined.

Subheadings: left aligned and in bold.

Text and Paragraphs: All text justified (except for captions, which should be centred). Indent the first line of each paragraph by 1.27 cm; use the Tab key in Word instead of using the Space key five times.

Spacing: double-spaced throughout including references (except the indented quotes, which should be single-spaced according to Harvard referencing style). Add another one space between end of paragraph and new subheading.

Page Numbers: include page numbers in essay. Use Times New Roman size 12, and place in the top right-hand corner of each page.

References: the References section should list all works cited (including films) within the essay; with the words “References” as a heading (left aligned), in font size 12 and in bold. (How to cite within the text and list the references at the end of essay, please see the Harvard Referencing System.)

Quotations: double quotation marks throughout. The only exceptions to this rule are: quotes within quotes (instead, use single quotation marks).

Order: -Report Title

-Author’s name, student number and module name (centre aligned and not in bold)

-Essay body

-References

Images and Captions: insert all images and captions (centre aligned) in their proper places. Captions should appear in bold, centre aligned, and directly under the image (no space).