Animation feels more like a “night job” to me since I spend so many nights working on it, but in the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to have made most of my income by animating, for hire and otherwise (this does not necessarily mean a large income). Here are some projects I have been involved with.
The Panel (2003)
I met Santo Cilauro, of Working Dog and the D-Gen, at the National Young Writers Festival a few years ago, and this led to my making an animated intro for Working Dog’s very popular chat show, The Panel.
This was pretty much my first paid animation job, and with national TV exposure and a virtually unlimited brief, they don’t get much better. If only all clients could be as willing to take a chance. And on an untried cartoonist with a poo fixation, too.
Herman, The Legal Labrador (2004)
I spent two years plus making this labour of love, a cartoon about a doggie defence attorney. It consumed all my free time, and about six months full time. To date my direct financial profit on it has been under two thousand dollars. My direct financial loss is not worth thinking about. Of course I don’t regret it in the least, since the experience, friends and opportunities I gained from it are incalculable.
Plus, thanks to Herman I ended up working on…
Dogstar is a half hour animated kids show about a bunch of young’ns in the future who nick off into outer space looking for their lost dog. As of right now it has not aired in Australia — supposedly that happens later this year.
I was hired initially by the company producing the show as a storyboard artist, which was very exciting for me — I’d had jobs before, but it appeared as though my “career” was beginning, one where I’d finally be paid to do the kind of work I’m best at.
I started Monday, and was fired Friday. I never did find out exactly why. It was true that I had no experience as a storyboard animator on a TV series, but I had done a storyboarding test to get the job, so presumably my work was good enough to get me hired in the first place.
Meanwhile, Herman was still being shown at film festivals, including one in Melbourne which was attended by the guys (girls?… girls + guy) from BigKidz Entertainment, who saw it and wondered what kind of idiot animates a twenty minute film by himself. Later, they hired him for their team of animators working on… Dogstar.
BigKidz was subcontracted to animate nine of the twenty-six episodes, which they (we) proceeded to do. With style! And on time. So although things appeared to go awry at first, everything somehow fell into place perfectly and I had a great experience working on the show. The design is so damn nice. If only it was written a little better…
We are bound by a confidentiality agreement which forbids us circulating Dogstar-related material (the image above has already been seen on the website). Thankfully, another animator on the show has gone ahead and whacked some clips on YouTube…
Kickin’ It With Mr Flig (2005)
This was an exercise in being silly and spontaneous. It’s a tiny little series of animations starring a blue lump who is some kind of action hero… maybe.
I was unexpectedly contacted while I was working on Dogstar by an American cable channel, who bought Mr Flig and showed it on a toon compilation show with Happy Tree Friends and some other stuff. If I could bang out a Mr Flig every week I’d be set for life!
Right now (like, right now, in between finishing bits of this post) I’m working freelance on some web animation, and my “day job” currently is storyboarding one minute episodes of an upcoming Flash animation series full of fart jokes and violence. I’m very busy and very happy, and I am finally starting to feel as though that “career” might be going on. And what happens to your personal work when your career’s going on?
IT HAPPENS TOO!
You thought I was going to say my own stuff is getting shelved for the moment, right? Screw that. I’m going to have a new comic book done and ready to launch at this year’s National Young Writers Festival. Justin’s music video is still on the boil. And that Precinct animatic is so close to done, it’s got sugar bubbling up and caramelising at the edges of the cake tray.