Stephanie Olivieri Assistant animator/clean up artist-traditional, 2D, paper and pencil and storyboards (boarding, clean-up & revisions)
What is your name and your current occupation?
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I worked as a waitress and an actress before animation, so nothing too crazy.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Hard to say, honestly I love everything I have worked on for different reasons. Feature films are fun because of how long you are with the characters and crew, commercials and shorts are fun because of the crazy hours and cartoony characters. How did you become interested in animation? I went to an audition for a Disney film and was doodling on my call sheet, and they brought it up.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I am from all over really, but came out to Los Angeles for acting. Disney got me into the business by offering me an internship after the audition in above question. I turned that down because I was still acting. A couple years later I was depressed about how hard making a living as an actress was, so I went to see Lion King and a friend brought up the offer and why wasn’t I doing that. I went to the classes at the animation guild for a year and luckily was offered a job after that.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
It really depends on the project, but right now I am working freelance, so I get up early, 6 or 7, and draw until 8-midnight depending on how demanding the schedule it. I also will go to meetings and drop off and pick up work. And yes occasionally get a hike, or run in mid day and then continue working late at night.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I love that I get to draw for a living and the why is because I love to draw.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
That work is not consistent and you never know where your next job will come from, how much it will pay, or how long it will last.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Finding and keeping steady work.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
None really. I draw with paper and pencil, sometimes I scan in scenes, but that’s about it.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Yes of course because I have worked at all the major studios and all over the world.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Being out of work when animation crashed in 2001- that was the hardest time in my life professionally because the career I had was gone in an instant, or it felt that way. I had a mountain of debt and had to file bankruptcy, it was humiliating and demoralizing.
Any side projects you’re working on you’d like to share details of?
I am also a writer, so I have a lot of TV shows and novels that I work on.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Stay true to what you love about animation, but try to be current with software and programs. Flash and ToonBoom are the two that I would definitely learn if you want to work in 2D. Then of course for 3D there are so many depending on what you want to do whether special FX, gaming, films, etc. Also work hard and if you can focus on one main area. Be nice to everyone and don’t ever stab anyone in the back, not even to get a job. This industry is small and everyone knows everyone. Also remember not to compare yourself to others. We as artists are all different and there is no reason to try to be someone else, and worry about what someone else is doing. There will always be someone better and someone worse than you are. Lastly, draw, draw, draw all the time and study films, books, etc.