Frederator: Where were you raised?
Steve: I grew up in Newfoundland, Canada. A long, long way from Burbank, California.
Frederator: What was your favorite cartoon as a kid?
Steve: Great question! Hard to pick just one, though. I’m an 80’s kid so I grew up watching tons of toy cartoons like He-Man, G.I. Joe, Transformers, Visionaries, Thundercats, Sectaurs, M.A.S.K., etc. From a technical point of view, they weren’t great cartoons, but they were really imaginative. Not everything revolved around high school, like today’s cartoons.
Frederator: How’d you get your education in cartooning? Did you go to school for animation?
Steve: Well actually I fell asleep in a boat in Canada, and woke up off the shores of Malibu. Fred Seibert was fishing on the beach, and offered me a job on his new show. I keeed……I keeed….
Sure did. I went to a small community college in Miramichi, New Brunswick (Animation in Canada isn’t taught in universities for some reason). I was part of the second generation to take their new Animation and Graphics program. It’s goal was to train students in both the 2D and 3d realms, so we were taught both how to animate classically on paper and in Softimage/Maya on the computer.
It was a great training ground as an artist. Top of the line animation equipment and software, affordable tuition, and lots of talented artists (both students and teachers) to learn from. One of the faults of the program however was that you never had enough time to focus on one area. Once you got into your 2d animation, you had to drop everything to go to your 3d classes, and visa versa. So upon graduation, we were all pretty tech savvy, but not necessarily the best trained animators. I hear the program is structured much differently now (2D and 3D are two separate programs), so I think all those kinks have been ironed out.
Frederator: You made the move from Chicago to Burbank to work on El Tigre, right? How’d you get that gig and what was the experience like?
Steve: Sure did. I was working for a video game company out in Chicago at time, and got an email out of the blue from the creator, Jorge Gutierrez. I guess he had seen my blog on the internet, and thought I’d be a good fit for the show. At first he asked if I was interested in doing some freelance design, and I said most definitely (having been a huge fan of his work). So six months went by with no word, and then I finally hear from him again, but this time asking if I would consider moving out to Los Angeles. Well long story short, one month and 2000 miles later, I was living in Burbank and working at Nickelodeon on El Tigre. Working on the show with so many talented people was a truly amazing and educational experience, and I really have to thank both Jorge and Sandra for giving this humble little Canadian such a great opportunity.
To be continued…