The following animators began their lucrative career by earning a degree in animation. With a lot of hard work, creativity and perseverance, they turned their animation education into successful and, more importantly, passionate careers. Some, such as Seth MacFarlane and Tim Burton, have even developed into household-names.
At only 8 years old, MacFarlane wrote a comic strip that was published in his local newspaper. A few years later he decided to pursue a true career in Animation. Graduating with a degree in animation, he headed to LA where he worked on various Cartoon Network and Disney Channel programs. Soon his hard work, determination, and creativity caught the eye of Fox executives. Swiftly moving up the career path he had the opportunity to present his original creation, “Family Guy,” to top executives in 1999. Just one short year later, in 2000, the show was awarded an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Animated Program. Even today, “Family Guy” continues to be one of the most popular animated shows during prime time. MacFarlane is also the creative mind behind “American Dad” and “The Cleveland Show”. MacFarlane continues to be one of the most well-known Animators of today.
Burton was born in Burbank, California, in 1958. As a teen, he would create short films in his backyard and eventually earned his degree in animation. Little did he know that this was the start to a successful Hollywood film career. Tim Burton has been behind numerous Box Office animated hits, including Beetlejuice, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Corpse Bride. Burton is most well-known for the dark and gothic themes of his creations, and he continues to direct and produce films in Hollywood today.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Overtoom soon took a large interest in photography and cameras. By the age of 12, Overtoom had built a household dark room where he would develop photos that he had taken. After graduating, Overtoom attended Pasadena’s yearly Animation Celebration where his film “No Parachute” caught the attention of Producer Mike Girard. Girard hired Overtoom onto Nickelodeon’s “The Angry Beavers” where he worked as an Animation Timer. In 1999, he moved over to another Nickelodeon series, “SpongeBob SquarePants,” to be an Animation Director. Overtoom has also worked as an Animation timer on “Family Guy” episodes, and a sheet timer for Nickelodeons “The Might B!”.
Messmer was born in 1892 in West Hoboken, New Jersey. As a child he loved drawing and cinema; Hy Mayer later taught him the craft of Animation. In 1914 the two worked together to produce advertising films. Soon he teamed up with Pat Sullivan who worked the business side of their relationship. This partnership is what led to the creation of the well known animated character, Felix the Cat. Messmer continued to work on Felix the Cat until 1983, when he died of a heart attack. His work continues to be published in news papers, films and TV reruns today.
Jones was born in Spokane, Washington in 1912, however grew up in Hollywood. Throughout Jones’ 60-year career he was the winner of three Oscars and an honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement. Jones was the creative mind behind the creation of Road Runner, Marvin Martian and other well known animated characters. He also helped bring to life many of Warner Bros. most well known characters – Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, and Daffy Duck. Jones worked at Warner Bros until 1962, when the studio was closed. In 1962, he opened his own production company, Jones Enterprises. Jones also worked on “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, producing, directing and writing the screen plays for the film. Jones’ work is still honored at museums and film festivals today.
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