Q: When did you first realize that you wanted to work in animation?
I thought I wanted to make comics in high school. I had a lot of OCs and read a lot of manga. It wasn’t until I was in college and realized that I was more passionate about film language and the subtlety of emotional acting, especially in animation.
Q: Who is your biggest inspiration?
My mom. She’s not an artist or anything she’s just really cared that I was passionate about animation and design. She pushed me when I couldn’t push myself, when burnout set in, when I had doubts about my career path. She did a lot of research and studied up on my field and put effort into understanding how it related to me. Even after college when finding a job and keeping up with my portfolio was rough, she encouraged me to do what I needed to do to meet my goals. My mom is as responsible for where I am right now as any of my educators or collaborators.
Q: What is your favorite animated movie/show?
Full Metal Alchemist (Brotherhood and the OVA) FMA blew my little mind as a teenager and then again in adulthood. It appealed to all my interests and shaped my tastes in narrative, action and screen design.
Q: What would you say to those who are not getting hired by a studio or having trouble finding a job?
Keep polishing your skills, testing your limits and studying. Implement what you learn into your portfolio and constantly revise it. Stay in touch with your peers and old classmates. Take their advice even if you don’t think it will help. Also, it’s not a race. It’s not easy, either. Everyone works differently and at varying paces and some people have to push themselves harder than others. It took me 5 years after graduating to find a studio job. It was a lot of freelance AND retail work for me in those years. I was often dejected and admittedly found that comparing myself to others slowed me down. A close friend and now lead teammate, who I deeply admired pushed me to rebuild my portfolio in order to apply for a boarding position on Castlevania and encouraged me to build it on subjects I cared about and that made me feel proud of myself.
Q: What’s it like working in Austin? And how is the creative community here?
Austin is amazing! It’s sunny most of the time, the food is excellent and I’ve met so many wonderful, creative and inspiring people. I feel very lucky to be working for Powerhouse because of how deeply it values individuality and collaboration. They encourage you to bring your own flavor to the projects as well as do your own personal projects. I’d say the community is very nurturing.
Q: What is the best part about your job and working on Castlevania?
Being a fan and working with other fans. Not a lot of industry creatives have the opportunity to say they are working with property that they genuinely love. Many of my team members from the Directors to the PAs are fans of Castlevania and it’s a really great time!
Q: What do you love most about Castlevania?
IT’S GOTH AS HELL! Vampires, monsters, the occult and luxurious eyelashes are my exact flavors of everything.
Q: Who is your favorite character?
Dracula. Love me a fictional sad dad.
Q: Most challenging part of working on Castlevania?
It’s anime. I know some people would debate that statement but I think a lot of people on the team would agree that making an anime, trying to capture that style/feeling is a challenge for most western animators and board artists, especially if they went to school for it. There was a general sentiment in art school that anime was over designed, under-animated and you should generally avoid it. Now it’s a skill in high demand and trying to rise to meet that standard in a show like Castlevania that boasted some really stunning work before I even got on board is a constant challenge.
Q: Any cool little known facts about production (funny stories/cool animation tricks/etc)?
There are so many Alucard figures floating around the studio that we’ve built a shrine in the directors’ office. Konami sent our directors an enormous Alucard statue and its surrounded by smaller Alucards and tributed with loose change to ward off Dracula’s curse.
Q: If you could be any anime character who would it be and why?
Utena. She has fabulous hair, a pretty girlfriend and a sword.
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