Q: When did you first realize that you wanted to work in animation?
When I was really young and began drawing VHS covers to the Disney Movies I owned. Beauty and the Beast was really hard.
Q: Who is your biggest inspiration?
Hard to narrow it down over the years, but ever since knowing her, my wife. She’s the combination of skill and passion that drives me to achieve my own goals, plus we work together at the same studio and sometimes, the same project. Nice!
Q: What is your favorite animated movie/show?
Disney’s Atlantis The Lost Empire and for show, Batman: The Animated Series
Q: What would you say to those who are not getting hired by a studio or having trouble finding a job?
Cast a lot of nets and branch out skillswise. Animation and working in a studio that produces it in the US is a very small field to pit yourself against breaking in. If you have a degree in art, it will translate to other fields as long as your foundation is strong. There are many roles in the creative process the studio system employs. I come from an After Effects background. It’s a toolset that takes years to master, but is capable of being used in a multitude of disciplines. I you love animating in AE, but can’t get work with it, practice rigging, practice compositing, practice green screen removal, practice roto, practice motion graphics, practice 3D, etc. One day all or one of these aspects will lead to something, that will then lead to at least 3 more jobs that will lead you to something you might like and from there, closer to what you truly want. Be ready for anything.
Q: What are some stories of your path to art and animation?
Speaking of anything, I got my foot in the door at a small studio in NYC via a paid internship that lead to a full-time job and from this, lots of professional experience. I also met my future wife here. My commute from NJ on a regular day was 2 buses and a 30 min walk or subway ride if timing was right amounting to 2 hrs. I honestly never looked at it that way those 2 yrs working in the city. Now I walk to work in 5 mins and never want to commute again. Anyway, this was a from a job I got accepted to at 11pm the night before by someone called Odin Phillips. I had no idea what I was in for. Over time I learned Odin wasn’t running HR or even existed, but I am glad I went out on a limb and took the job.
Q: What’s it like working in Austin? And how is the creative community here?
I’m coming up on 5 years being down here and being introduced to Alamo Drafthouse. In this time, I’ve met a lot of amazing and talented artists that I have the honor of working alongside. I’m constantly in close proximity to some great comic shops, game shops, and restaurants as well as beautiful feats of nature. I have everything I need here.
Q: What is the best part about your job and working on the show?
Best part is seeing a project grow from concept to a finished piece we then share with the world. Working in our Boutique department, I get my hands on a variety of jobs and styles to work in. The work is always fresh and interesting.
Q: What do you love most about working on Powerhouse Projects?
I love having the crew that I’m a part of and get to lead. Everyone gives it their all. No one is done learning and improving their game.
Q: Who is your favorite Powerhouse project that you’ve worked on?
Loved compositing for Castlevania. There were many instances where I had the chance to get the shine just right on the edge of a blade or other times where I got to add fire to all the things. I’m actually super stoked for my current work with our Boutique team and our next series which focuses on subject matter that would blow my 10yr old Age of Empires mind to ancient pieces.
Q: Most challenging part of working at Powerhouse?
The ongoing dance I do with Time. I plan my coffee breaks around render time. I drink a lot of coffee.
Q: Any cool little known facts about production (funny stories/cool animation tricks/etc)?
I learned early on we are a Levels house of compositing and that Add blend mode doesn’t need to be used all the time. I love our render farm.
Q: If you could be any anime character who would it be and why?
Shiro Amada from Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team. I like how the character evolves through being a first time leader of a group from all aspects of life and prevails against the adversity that comes with being in the middle of a massive conflict, fighting against forces beyond his control. In some ways it parallels a time when I was a Senior Patrol Leader in Boy Scouts when I lead my own motley crew through adventures. Other times it’s like present day where I supervise and work with professionals sharing in the same goals.
About the Author
Hailing from "Parts Unknown" Virginia, Ryan scoured the United Stated searching for a place to call home. After a short stint in the "Entertainment Capital of the World" Ryan wandered into Austin with nothing but a Gameboy Color, his Star Wars Blu-Ray Collection, and too much hair product. Now a Production Coordinator at Powerhouse Animation, Ryan works all across the board on studio projects. A word of caution though, there are rumors that if you look in the mirror and say his name three times he will appear behind you and beg you to watch the Prequels with him.
Powerhouse Animation Studios, Inc is a traditional animation studio based in Austin, TX. Since 2001, we have been bringing ideas to life. Powerhouse produces film, television, and game animation, including commercials, video game cinemas, character designs, storyboards, animatics, Flash games, Facebook games and more. Give us a call and let us walk you through costing and the production process, and tell us more about your idea.
8140 N MO PAC EXPY BLDG 2 Suite 225
AUSTIN, TEXAS 78759-8837