FOX Finalists Jay Malone

FOX Finalist Interview Week keeps on rollin' along--rollin', rollin', rollin' along--as we sit down with each and every one of our Five Finalists in the < a href=""> FOX Aniboom Holiday Animation Challenge!

In the hottest seat on the interwebs today is "Santa Intervention" animator Jay Malone, who's here to talk animation, art, comedy, and everything else a FOX selectee would talk about.

Let's get goin'!

Where are you from and where do you work (city, studio, or home studio)?

I'm originally from Nova Scotia, Canada. Which is on the east coast. It's a lot like New York only without all the people and buildings. Also there's less of a urine smell. I now live in Los Angeles and work from home.

When did you first become interested in animation?

I've always been interested in illustrating. When I was in high school my goal was to become a political cartoonist. I was heavily influenced by a local artist named Bruce MacKinnon who is well known world wide for his work. I also tried a few attempts at my own panel cartoon and was influenced by The Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes. I moved to Toronto when I was about 20 and started doing standup comedy. I was asked to do a punch up for an animated show up in Canada and that's when I really fell in love with the idea of animation. But I really didn't really give it much serious thought until about a year ago when I saw a guy working his own animated project in a coffee shop here in LA. He had a wacom tablet and I was so blown away by what he was up to that I just asked if I could sit down and pick his brain for a minute. Then the more I looked into it the more I felt it was something I could do. So I bought a tablet and some animation software and got started.

What do you like about animation?

The first thing that comes to mind is that you can do absolutely anything. I've written a lot of sketches that really just can't be done with live action, unless George Lucas is willing to let me borrow some time at Skywalker Ranch. But with animation they can take shape very easily. I also really like the control I have. I can write it. Get some friends to help with the voices. Direct them. Then animate it. So it's my project from start to finish. Having a background in the standup comedy world I'm used to having a lot of control. So naturally that's one of the aspects that gets me really excited.

How did you get started in animation? Did you have any kind of formal training?

I haven't had any formal training. Like I said, I've been drawing most of my life. And these days I just don't feel that it's necessary to spend a ton of money on schools and training when pretty much every program on the planet has great tutorials online. They're cheap and very helpful. I'm also a big advocate of just doing things and learning as I go. Yes, there'll be a lot of wasted hours on trial and error, but I find you generally find ways to get things done.

What techniques did you like to use in your animation?

For Santa Intervention I worked strictly within the Toonboom Animate software. It's an AMAZING program. As to the 'techniques' I'm not even sure how to answer that! It was really a struggle to get it done as I had just purchased the program and had to figure it out as I went. Which was frustrating because I was getting much better near the end of the project and then wanted to go back and fix all the earlier scenes. And it was a MESS. I like to think I'm more organized now. Although, I'm probably not.

What works of animation, comics, film, or books inspire you and your work?

I'm a fan of shows like The Simpsons, South Park, Family Guy, but Home Movies is probably my favorite. I love what the Super News guys are doing on Current TV. I also really love all the Pixar films. The 3D animations consistently blow my mind. I have no idea how they do any of that!

What attracted you to the FOX competition?

Honestly, I really wanted to start doing my own animations but I was too lazy to figure out the Toonboom software. I then thought that if I found a competition and had a deadline it would force me to get off my ass and learn what I needed to learn. I'd posted an earlier animation (which is barely animation at all, more talking heads) on the Aniboom site when I first got into it and really liked the website. They then put that animation titled: The Baby Kissing Incident, on their youtube site and it got a ton of hits in the first three days up. So I would periodically go back to the site to see what was going on. That's where I found the competition.

What’s your favorite holiday?

I might have said Thanksgiving if you'd asked me prior to the last one. I'd decided to cook the big meal myself and it was a bit of a disaster. No one got sick mind you.. but still, using that as a mark for success is setting the bar kinda low. So I guess I would say Christmas. 'Cause you get presents. And my mom always does the cooking.

What is your ultimate dream?

My ultimate dream is to be a well-known touring comedian with his own network series.. be it live action or animated. Or maybe both. I'm pretty greedy.

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