Brendan Burch sounds like the alliterated name of one of Stan Lee's superheros or villains, but in this case it is the name of another creative creator. Brendan is the creator of Six Point Harness animation studio, as well as numerous cartoon films, shorts and series.
Brendan's LA-based studio has quickly become known in the industry for its cutting-edge technical knowledge, smooth production pipeline and the incredible artistic talents of its staff.
Brendan, along with John Andrews (former Executive Producer for Klasky Csupo), has been successfully running the studio and garnering such projects as MTV's Good Vibesk and Where My Dogs At?, Playtone's Electric City, BET's Read a Book, Nickelodeon’s El Tigre, NBC's hit series Medium and many more. In addition to TV the studio also works on feature films, commercials, web, flash projects and music videos. To give you an idea of their talent, the studio also created the uber-funky title sequence for Dreamwork's Eurotrip.
In addition to running Six Point Harness for the last 8 years, Brendan also imparts his wisdom on the younger generation by teaching part-time at the California Institute of the Arts. It was no surprise then when we asked him to participate in ACR's interview series for aspiring animators that he jumped at the chance:
What is your firm's focus within animation and what led your firm to have such a focus?
Six Point's focus is top quality cartoons for TV, Web and Movies. We take pride in the bar of quality we set on every project.
Fill in the blank: The future of animation is _________.
What are the best and worst aspects about working in the animation field?
The best part about animation is that we're making cartoons. The worst part is that it's a lot of really hard work that is usually cramped by a tight budget and/ or schedule.
Among your firm's achievements, which one(s) are you the most proud of?
We're currently most proud of the series airing on MTV called Good Vibes and our huge YouTube original, Dick Figures.
What skills/qualities does your firm seek out when hiring new employees?
We seek solid drawing skills, flexibility of style, strong digital skills, and a can do attitude.
What particular schools, if any, does your firm recruit new hires from? If none, where do you recruit new hires?
We have had a lot of success with Sheridan in Canada, Cal Arts and USC.
What advice would you give to aspiring animators?
Draw a lot, know what you want for yourself in 10 years and nobody in this industry is difficult to get a hold of.
What were your most challenging projects, and why?
TV Series (especially the first season) are notoriously the hardest. There is a lot of getting to know the project, writers and tone of the show; it's a whole lot of work starting anything from scratch.
What kind of education did it take to get you where you are today?
I went to Cal Arts for Character Animation.
What animation software packages does your firm prefer to use? Which one would you recommend to beginners?
We primarily use Flash.
Has the trend of outsourcing animation overseas affected your firm, if yes, how have you dealt with it or compensated for it?
Yes--outsourcing affects any US animation company. We have produced 99% of the animation we do here on US soil. The biggest competitor is Canada. Their government tends to cover massive portions of production budgets. To compensate, we just do really great work and hope that our clients want a top quality product when they call.
Do you think that there is an increasing or decreasing demand for animators overall? Why?
I think it's increasing. Animated Features kill at the box office and on Television. The web is opening lots of new doors and ad dollars are starting to make their way to online. It's a really exciting time for animation.
Check out more interviews at Animation Career Review's Interview Series.