The Colors Behind The Pictures You See

Interviews Palette Magazine

Published on December 1st, 2013 | by Palette Magazine


Neil Wade – Production Cooridinator, Animation

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By Palette Magazine

Neil Wade is a Production Coordinator within animation. The Production Coordinator assists with the management of the production process from pre-production through post production. They maintain established schedules, assist the artists, and production managers. Neil has worked on Family Guy as a PA and on Fairly Odd Parents as a Production Coordinator.

Q: What did you go to school to study?

I went to school for architecture. I was very mediocre at it. My junior year I realized that wasn’t what I wanted to spend my life doing. I didn’t love it. I was surrounded by people who loved it. I wanted something I loved. I was questioning what I wanted to do with my life. I went to teach over seas, I went to Japan. I’ve always loved Manga and Anime. It was there, when I really committed to the fact that I wanted to be in the world of animation. This is what I love to do.

Q: How did you approach this new goal?

I went home to Oklahoma for a bit, I got scared of getting stuck there, so I came to L.A I applied to CalArts and a couple of other schools for animation. I didn’t get in. I almost left L.A, but I was talked into staying. I then applied to for graphic design and media art. I got in.

Q: Do you want to be an artist?

Yes, but as a hobby. I want to be a creator. I also came to the conclusion that I prefer to work on my own art, and not another persons design. I think my strengths are in storytelling and writing, in terms of what I can apply to my position now. I originally wanted to be a storyboard artist and do animation. But, I’m more of an illustrator.

Q: Have you ever created your own comic book?

I have several upcoming projects, a web comic in 2014.

Q: How did you get the job as a coordinator on Fairly Odd Parents?

I started out as an intern at Nickelodeon. I went back to college for graphic design and media art and was an older student, knowing this, one of my instructors suggested I find an internship. I applied to Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon… and a couple of other places. I interned there for six months, unpaid. It was 10 hours a week. From there I was able to get a job as a production assistant on Family Guy. I was at Family Guy for two years. I kept in touch with the Nickelodeon people, and when a coordinator position opened up for Fairly Odd Parents, I ended up there.

Q: Is there more stability with animation as opposed to live action?

I wouldn’t say that. In my opinion the animation world is in a state of flux, in that everyone is waiting on the next big hit. Television shows like Family Guy, almost always get picked up for another season. With children’s television, it’s more of a question mark. Also, people move around a lot, you might not know where your next job is.

Q: Talk a bit about the career paths within animation.

Within animation there are two routes, the production route, which is the administrative work and the artistic route, for the artists. A lot of people across the board in animation do have a artistic background. But not all create the artwork. A production assistant is the entry level position within animation production. On the art side, storyboard revisionist is the entry level position. A lot of people do that to get into storyboarding and that can be a path to directing.

Q: What would you say was the difference between the production of the live action show and an animated show?

I feel like with live action, there is a lot more people interacting, things happen faster on set. On a live set, who knows what might happen. Animation production can be solitary. Animation is all about timing and planning. There is a lot more rigidity. In animation the pace is slower, and we stick to the schedule. Within animation production there is more file sharing and server maintenance on my end.

Q: Final thoughts?

At the end of the day, I’m making cartoons and hopefully making kids happy. That keeps me going.

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