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Animation Battle Beast: the Chris Battle Interview

November 24th, 2006

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Chris Battle has made my “Coolest Names in Animation Top 5″ list. Not only does he have a cool name, Chris also rocks the Post-It note drawings. He rocks em’ Hard too!!!
Chris has been awesome enough to answer a few awesome CH.Fred Qs!

CHANNELFREDERATOR: Where were you born?
CB:Santa Monica, California.

How long have you been animating or drawing?
I’ve been working professionally in animation for a little over 13 years, but I’ve been drawing ever since I can remember.

Who are some of your influences?
In no particular order: Charles Schulz, MAD Magazine, Star Wars, Marvel Comics, Muppets, early Hanna-Barbera, Looney Tunes, all manner of Japanese Animation, Nintendo, Richard Scarry, Sanrio & San-X, Alice & Martin Provensen, Miroslav Sasek. Not to mention all my contemporaries.
It never ends… inspiration and influence is everywhere.
I heart the internet!
Did you go to school for Art or Animation? If so, where?
I was lucky enough that my high school had a serious art curriculum, and that my teacher (Artist LaMonte Westmoreland) recognized I was serious about my cartoons as “art”. Other than that, I never went to art school…. but I kinda wish I had.

Have you ever shown your art in galleries?
I’ve just recently taken part in a few group shows at local animation studios. It’s something I’d like to do more of.

What company do you work for or have you worked for?
The bulk of my career was spent with Hanna-Barbera/Cartoon Network while working on the Tartakovsky/McCracken rollercoaster.(Good times!) I’ve also done stints at Warner Bros, IDT/Film Roman, and Klasky-Csupo, as well as freelance for almost everyone.

What are you working on currently in the animation industry?
I recently finished work on a crazy R-rated feature film for Rob Zombie, THE HAUNTED WORLD OF EL SUPERBEASTO. It was a wild ride… Doug Lawrence (of SPONGEBOB fame) directed it, and the talent roster is chock full of geniuses from REN & STIMPY, DEXTER’S LAB, POWERPUFF, SAM JACK, etc. It should be out next year. I’ve just started work on Nickelodeon’s SUPER SCOUT, a new series co-created by Amy Poehler (UPRIGHT CITIZEN’S BRIGADE, SNL), and under the direction of Erik Wiese. The talent on that show is insane, too, so watch for that next year as well.

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to break in or just beginning in the industry?
1st, make the most of all the information that’s out there — There are so many websites and blogs full of info to learn from; It’s astounding. Know the industry and know what’s happening.
2nd, try to master a variety of styles/skills. It’ll make you much more employable and keep you working if you can, say, do both characters and props… or do BG layout and storyboard. If you can also jump from style to style, even better.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Don’t be a hermit, and don’t be an asshole. Be social; The more people you know, the better your chances are of finding work. It’s a small industry, and you’ll find that everyone knows each other. This can really work in your favor. It can also work against you if word gets around that you’re a dick, so don’t be one.

What do you think makes for a great cartoon?
The right collection of talent, a small amount of network interference, and a crew that truly believes in the project. Also that whole “lightning in a bottle” thing.

What animation DVDs have you picked up lately?
The new GORILLAZ Vol. 2, TEEN TITANS SEASON 2, BATMAN SEASON 4…. and a very rare DEXTER’S LAB Complete Series Set.
(*UPDATE- Chris writes in to inform me about the “bootleg” link I put up: “BTW, the Dexter’s DVD set you linked to isn’t the one I have, so I can’t vouch for it’s legitimacy… in fact, it might be bootleg. There’s 2 versions that are legit: 1) A special 5 disc set in CD jewel cases that was made just for a Cartoon Network contest winner. Genndy got a few of ‘em, and we used to have one at work for reference for the later seasons. (That’s the one I got, via eBay) 2) A bunch of slim-case DVDs from Columbia House home video (Not available any more) that came out in 2001. (Steve Lambe has the whole set… they all cost like $30 a pop at the time) Ebay is your best bet! Persistence pays off, my friend.” Thanks Chris! -JX!)

What animation/art websites do you check in on regularly?
Cartoon Brew is like that first cuppa coffee in the morning. Drawn! is a great place to find my favorite new artists. Then there’s the never-ending list of blogs and websites of all my favorite artists and cartoon pals. …I don’t get much done once that train starts.

Is there anything you want to say to the people out there in Channel Frederator-Land reading this?
How does everyone find time to post on their blogs so often??? I can barely keep a semi-regular schedule!

On that note, be sure to check out Chris’ Battle-blog on a VERY Regular basis @ Chris Battle Illustration.
It’s chock full of 110% all kinds of Awesome!
Thanks for chillin’ with us here @ CHANNEL FREDERATOR Chris!

Keep those Internet Dials Tuned in to Channel Frederator, Yr #1 SOURCE for Animation News & Interviews!
Is there even such a thing as Internet dials?
-JX!

Who Do YOU want to see On Channel Frederator?
Click here to subscribe to Channel Frederator or go to iTunes. Please send your suggestions to promotecartoons@gmail.com.
P.S.- I hope everyone had a Great Thanksgiving, and I hope everyone has a better The Day After Thanksgiving.-JX!

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Awesome interview! Chris is a real inspiration to me!

 

Chris is a real talent, I worked with him on Xiaolin Showdown at WB and he was, as you stated a whiz with the Post-It!

 

Hey I thought I commented. Now I know ALL of Mr. Battle’s secrets!!!!!!!!!

 

Chris is the most professional powerhouse I’ve worked with that I’ve never had the privilege of meeting.

ps. I heard a rumor that Chris’s last name used to be “Rockstar” but that he decided to go more conservative…

 

Chris is awesome! I had the privilege of working with him on El Tigre and Coconut Fred. He kicks major arse!

 

Chris Battle is super awesome :D! I miss working with him! Asides from his post it notes he makes great finger puppets too!

 

Chris is a top notch artist, a true bad ass- good choice for an interview!

 

Awesome Chris !!!

 

Cool Interview, Chris is truely an awesome artist!!

 

“The Haunted World of El Superbeasto”!? I can’t wait to see it!!

 

very Cool Chris!Great chat….I still have my ‘Mean Mindy’ finger puppet - ’sniff’ ahhhh memories…

 

nice, nice!
… Keep up the great work, Chris!
:)

 

more like… COOLEST NAME IN ANIMATION, PERIOD.

sho’ nuff.

 

Nice, but really there’s a few more “coolest Names” as well. Ub Iwerks for instance. Ub?!?! How cool is that? c’mon.
-JX!

 

Rock-Rock ON!

 
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