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J.J. Sedelmaier Discusses Animation Career Success
The creative minds at J.J. Sedelmaier Productions have worked tirelessly for over two decades to bring us cutting-edge commercial animations, including spots for, VW Speed Racer, Slim Jim, FootJoy, and Hotwire.
MTV recognized their avant-garde talent when they contracted J.J. Sedelmaier to create most of the animation for the first season of the long-running MTV show Beavis and Butthead. Saturday Night Live also recognized the team's talent when they asked them to create some animations for the show's nation-wide audience. SNL's Saturday TV Funhouse and the uber popular Ambiguously Gay Duo was even created by Robert Smigel and Sedelmaier.
Recently J.J. Took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down to offer CareerAnimationReview's aspiring animator readers solid career advice based on his own career and success.
What is your firm's focus within animation and what led your firm to have such a focus?
We started the studio initially as a TV commercial production source specializing in translating print artists' work into film. It provided a fresh and unique opportunity for our clients to get their messages across utilizing new graphic styles not usually seen in advertising. Our reputation soon provided an opportunity to evolve from TV advertising into broadcast and series production. (We inaugurated MTV's "Beavis and Butt-head" after having been open for only a year and a half) This soon segued into series production development, print, and other design/animation related services.
Fill in the blank: The future of animation is ______________.
The future of animation is "anything it needs to be".
What are the best and worst aspects about working in the animation?
The best is being a part of a craft that allows complete control over the results and the satisfaction of gathering a talented crew to create and execute the work. The worst is confronting issues that are the result of confused priorities.
Among your firm's achievements, which one(s) are you the most proud of?
I'm most proud of our varied body of work that demonstrates a keen understanding of animation's potential.
What skills/qualities does your firm seek out when hiring new employees
- Drawing talent - with flexibility of style and technique.
- Ability to work with and inspire co-workers.
- Technical skills and knowledge.
What particular schools, if any, does your firm recruit new hires from? If none, where do you recruit new hires?
Good schools that seem to prepare their student are: Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), School of Visual Arts (SVA), Ringling College of Art and Design, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), CalArts.
What advice would you give to aspiring animators?
Research places you'd like to work at/with. Explore ALL facets of film, art, and life - be a sponge. READ! - literature, history, plays/scripts - go see theater!
What kind of education did it take to get you where you are today?
I went to the University of Wisconsin/Madison - a stellar school experience, but it was living in Madison and working in a Greek restaurant that I credit with my growth and preparation for life. Dealing with people and having drawing talent, coupled with a desire to learn and experience things are the important ingredients of any success I may have had. . .
What animation software packages does your firm prefer to use? And which one would you recommend for beginners?
Which one would you recommend to beginners? Flash, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator. . . use whatever the project can best benefit from. Software is only a tool. It's like asking, "What sort of pencil and what weight paper do you prefer to use?"
Could you share with us your best story about working in the animation industry?
First day working professionally in the industry (circa 1981) I was told by a journeyman animator (who later became a mentor) "Get outta here! Run as fast as you can! This is a dying industry!!"
Do you think that there is an increasing or decreasing demand for animators overall? Why?
There'll always be a place for talented driven people that can work with, and inspire others! This applies to ANY industry!
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