Q: When did you first realize that you wanted to work in animation?
I was always the kid that watched too many cartoons. I loved them so much, but didn’t have much confidence in my art, so for a while I focused on other forms of storytelling. While I was studying film in college, I found myself falling into the project management rolls constantly, and realized I might have something else to contribute to the goliath task that is creating animation.
Q: Who is your biggest inspiration?
Rebecca Sugar. A non-binary show runner kicking ass and creating diverse queer content? Definitely who I want to be when I grow up!
Q: What is your favorite animated movie/show?
This is something that changes pretty frequently, but I was a big fan of Voltron, Legendary Defender, especially the first 3 seasons. Studio Mir always does great work, and I liked the conscience effort you could see in the beginning to update the characters and design to be more inclusive for the next generation.
Q: What would you say to those who are not getting hired by a studio or having trouble finding a job?
Don’t focus on just one thing. Plenty of people are great at one thing and focus on that, but there’s also something to be said for a jack of all trades. This applies to artists AND people in production like myself. You great with spreadsheets? Awesome, tell people! You have experience with team management or troubleshooting software? I want to know! You’ve traveled abroad and studied different types of martial arts combat? Well, we might just have a show for you 😉 Also, go to industry meetups with business cards. A lot.
Q: What are some stories of your path to production?
I said that I found myself falling into project management rolls a lot, and I really meant that. The first show I ever produced was a complete accident. I went to a meeting for new people entering the station I worked at, just as a favor to a friend. I thought I would just be there as a guide for the newbies, I was not prepared to give an answer when asked what kind of show I would like to see made. I just blurted out something off the top of my head: partially CG animated show. This somehow found its way to a guy in my 3D animation course, who said he would love to help me on it. I panicked, said we still needed a few more people, but I’d let him know. Fast forward a week, and he’s got 2 others coming to me interested. The next thing I knew I was hosting auditions, making production schedules, and saying goodbye to the idea of a relaxing final semester.
Q: What’s it like working in Austin? And how is the creative community here?
Austin is an amazingly supportive and creative community. When I first started out in freelancing, I met so many people that wanted to see each other succeed. I would never have made it as far as I did without the incredible people I have met who not only gave me work, but taught me how to respect myself as a creator. It’s rare to find people that do that, but I’ve found them in abundance here.
Q: What is the best part about your job and working at Powerhouse?
As a production coordinator, every piece of art goes through me in some way, which means I get to see all of the gorgeous work from my colleagues. Basically, I get to look at pretty art all day from my favorite TV shows, and get to help the amazing people that create it! We’re all each other’s biggest fans here, so that is definitely the best perk!
Q: What is your favorite Powerhouse Project that you’ve worked on?
That is such a tough question, but I think Seis Manos because that truly is our baby, the first original pitch that came out of this studio and made it onto the screen. Working with Viz and Netflix was such a pleasure, and we all got to create something new and fresh, that not only paid respect to classic cinema, but took it one step further to make it more diverse and inclusive. I’ve been reached out to by so many people who said Seis Manos meant something to them and that is the kind of content I want to continue to create.
Q: Most challenging part of working at Powerhouse?
Not sure if it’s the most challenging, but definitely one that’s interesting is trying to keep all gory effects in order. A character will go from perfectly fine to missing an eyeball to broken legs all in the matter of a few shots and all those different states need to be tracked and communicated to our animation partners. For one scene it got so bad a character went through about 6 or 7 different fx costumes in a row.
Q: Any cool little known facts about production (funny stories/cool animation tricks/etc)?
Every single one of those gory fx shots we have to find reference for. The fbi is definitely monitoring my search history. Hot tip: Add prop whenever you have to google something like that. Save a life.
Q: If you could be any anime character who would it be and why?
I have a ton of favorite anime characters, but they’re all trash people who I don’t actually want to be. Have you seen anime? Their lives are terrible! If I had to pick… Maybe Washimi from Aggrestuko? She’s got her life together and can break a table with her heal. Yeah. Washimi.
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.