Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Wynne.
Michael, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Grew up in Philly. Started drawing as early as my fingers could hold a pencil. Went on a family trip to Disney World with my family and saw the animators working on the behind the scenes tour, and knew at 7 years old that I wanted to be an animator. My dad bought me the Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life book and I was obsessed. Every class in school was a new opportunity to animate onto the edges of every notebook. Had teachers in school telling my parents I was a great kid, and I owed them credit for whatever future I had in movies for all the practice time in their classes.
I graduated High-school in 94 and went to SVA in NYC for film and animation, and quickly realized I was much more interested in the computer as a tool for animation than anything else. Also I hated the smell of turpentine and as much as I loved painting with oils, you can get the same blending techniques and none of the mess or smell with a huge Tablet in Painter (at that time) and now Photoshop. Also that UNDO button is awesome. I owe my first job out of school to a studio class where we went to Radical Media and I met Jules Tortulani, and asked her when she would need help. I started at Radical a month out of graduating and did a lot of fun work there before moving on to MTV to work on some kids show work there. When 911 went down in NYC I was at MTV at the time and working on kids TV. Work didnt last long on that show, after wrapping up a handful of seasons, and having the entire industry crushed from 911 and the economy drop out, I went on to motionagrapher and kept seeing all of the work was in Motion Graphics and knew I had to stat exploring that route.
Out of work in NYC and no evidence that I could do motion graphics with a character animation reel, I needed work and needed money. So I took a job with my fathers HVAC Rep company back in Philly and quickly figured out I could use my animation and 3D skills, and design sensibilities to create some slicker styled “how to” videos for some of the complex engineered equipment he was selling, and worked out a deal with the manufacturer to build a handful of DVDs for them to package along with the praducts. At my cousins wedding out here in LA I was overheard by the company he was working for (My cousin is a Flame artist) and they offered me a Motion Graphics position with them that I JUMPED at as I always had wanted to come out to LA. That was the kickstart to me being in LA and i have jumped all over the place out here when I was freelancing, learning all sorts of things from so many people. I am now a Creative DIrector out here working on all of the kinds of movies that would have the younger kid me peeing his pants at the idea of it. As for the artwork side of me, I have never stopped drawing and painting to some degree, I am a workaholic and a night owl, even working 12 hour days, after my beautiful wife and 2 girls go to sleep I am usually painting something or creating some kind of artwork on my computer late into the night…
Has it been a smooth road?
The challenge is always maintaining the lifestyle you want to live and having the time for the personal projects, which often times are the most challenging ones. The work projects are limited by time, so you have to do the best you can under the time deadline, the personal stuff has no time frame, so the challenge is balancing what keeps your interest long enough to push your creativity further and your skills and techniques, before getting bored and wanting to move on to the next idea. Nothing in life is smooth road, not if you are taking the chances to grow and move and keep things fresh. As far as work goes, i have been fortunate to have met great people and do some great work together that has snowballed into some fun big things, and a steady life.
What’s your outlook for the industry over the next 5-10 years?
I can see the industry heading towards the social media and the content platform a lot more. People seem as interested in how things are made these days as much as the product itself. Graphics in Marketing is only growing, and everyone is trying to one up the competition, and push it further and further. People want the “experience”, and to feel a part of whatever movie or entity they are interested in, so there is a lot of content heading towards VR and other immersive types of entertainment. That would be a huge current trend I see for now, and a new interesting challenge with all new parameters to work on
What has been the primary challenge you’ve faced?
The biggest challenge is not getting too frustrated. There are so many cooks in the kitchens and so many people have say over certain projects, you dump so much creative energy figuring out the many solutions, and many times they just get dumped. Staying fresh and being able to roll with the creative changes and still trying to push it further and further within budget is probably the biggest one.
What would you tell someone who is just starting out?
Work everywhere. Get your hands on anything and everything you can. Do as much side work and personal work as you can, and push your creativity and all ideas. Learn from everyone you meet, whether it is learning the right thing from someone you see doing it right, or learning a very wrong way to not do it. Learn. Create. Always go forward.