A CHAT WITH AN APPLE!
OKAY, so he’s not really an apple, but George Gendi, creator of Cartoon Network’s new show Apple & Onion (and the voice of Apple) is probably one of the best people around to ask about the world of animation. We spoke to George to find out what it’s really like being an animator, and to get his advice on how you could become one, too.
How did you get into animation?
As someone who was always interested in drawing, I wanted to study illustration. I did a course at Kingston University that was illustration and animation, and through that I discovered my interest for it. After graduating, I wanted to continue developing my own animation, so did a two-year animation master’s at the Royal College of Art. Afterwards, I worked as a freelance animation director, which is when I received an email from the Amazing World Of Gumball team asking if I would try out working with them on season one, which was being made in London. I took the test, got the job and at the end of season one I came up with an idea for a show. I then pitched Apple & Onion to Cartoon Network, who started developing it in the UK, before we made the fully-animated pilot over in Cartoon Network Studios in California.
Do you have any advice for those looking to get into that world?
It seems like over here in LA, once you’re through the door of a studio, if you do a good job, people are going to want to keep giving you work! As for how to get through the door in the first place – create lots of work that shows off your skills, talents and the kind of things that you’re interested in doing. Use the internet to display your work and get it under the right people’s noses.
Do you have advice on how to find your ‘style’?
Experiment a lot, but in the end, don’t be afraid to do it the way you really want to, even if others aren’t convinced. Although it may start out bad, there’s a reason you want to do it like that in the first place, so I think eventually you will get somewhere worthwhile. That’s not to say you should ignore critiques – they will help you hone your skills and find your direction. Just make sure you pinpoint what it is that you love or are interested in doing, so that you don’t lose sight of it when someone else doesn’t see it.
What is it about animation that makes it so special?
When I watch animation, or even live action, I am essentially having an experience. What is special to me about these art forms is that as a maker of it, I get the chance to design an experience for whoever is watching!
What’s the best and worst thing about what you do?
The best thing is that I get to make things that can make people laugh and feel good. The worst is not that getting there is a long, hard road – that can actually be really enjoyable and definitely rewarding – it’s more that it’s easy to start worrying and doubting yourself along the way. That worry and doubt, if I let it stay for too long, is the worst thing about what I do.
What’s your favourite thing to draw?
Probably Apple & Onion at the moment!