GENE - You were the first person I hired when I started Fatkat back up in 2003. In 2004 you left for another studio but returned again in 2006. What made you want to come back to Fatkat?
GER – The main thing was how I was treated at the other studio. I went from feeling like I was useful and ‘in demand’ at Fatkat, to feeling like I couldn’t do anything right, and that I was expendable. I constantly had to worry about how long my job would last, and when the work finally dried up, I was promised more work that never came. When I came back to Fatkat I immediately felt useful again, it was great. It’s also nice that I don’t have to worry about my taxes, and my health care, two things that were major concerns at the other studio.
Since Geremy returned in 2006, Fatkat has added an additional 60 amazing people.
GENE - Since you’ve come back to Fatkat, what’s the biggest change you’ve seen besides the obvious massive growth.
GER – Pretty much everything! The number of people we have now allows us to do things in a more structured way, which is fantastic. When I was here before, we just didn’t have the bodies to have different people for all the required positions, so there was constant changing of gears happening. That’s calmed down now.
GENE - What are some of the more memorable projects you’ve worked on over the years at Fatkat?
GER – I suppose I’ll just list the ones I can remember, and the rest aren’t memorable, eh? And Yet I Blame Hollywood, RCMP Safety and Security, Bank of Commerce Monopoly, Mr.Mom, Toyota spots, Magic Mountain spot, Museum of Energy, My Adventures with Cloe, Happy Tree Friends, Trevor Romaine Collection, Gushy Grams, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.
The Gushy Grams project kept Geremy and his team busy for a good stretch earlier this year.
GENE - You’re a producer at Fatkat now, and a producer can sometimes mean different things at different studios. What does your job entail at Fatkat?
GER – Basically bridging the gap between the crew and the client. Whenever the client has concerns, questions, suggestions, or anything, they come to me, and I smooth things out. Sometimes it’s as simple as answering their questions, but for requests, I have to assess the difficulty and time requirements, and come to an agreement with them. Often, end clients know nothing about the processes of animation and don’t realize that what is, in their mind, a simple request, is actually a nightmare for us. Most of the time when I lay out what’s involved they change their mind, so it’s helpful that I’ve been through pretty much every animation process already. It’s also my job to keep the projects on a schedule that works for both the client and for Fatkat, in accordance with when other projects are starting up, etc. I don’t really draw or animate anymore, but there’s a lot to manage!
GENE - As a producer you’re responsible for a lot of people, what works best to get on your good side?
GER – As a producer, I like it when people ask me questions. It shows that they actually think about what they are doing. People think they’re bothering me, but they don’t realize they’re earning themselves brownie points in the process.
I also appreciate self-control. Being able to contain your level of work based on the needs of the show is a skill in itself, and one that a lot of people who are otherwise great animators don’t use. It’s great to push yourself artistically so you improve, but when I see someone able to adapt to the level of the show, even if they CAN do it better/more fluid/etc shows a respect for the project that I applaud.
In early 2006, Geremy was hired as a designer on the famous Happy Tree Friends Series.
GENE - If there was one thing you’d like to have a crack at doing at Fatkat what would it be? Why?
GER – I’ve done pretty much everything to some extent already. I’d say my favorite thing so far was working design. I enjoy being able to draw, and I find a design quota relaxing and easy to deal with. Of course, that wouldn’t get me any closer to my REAL ultimate goal..
GENE - Developing shows internally at the studio has become more and more popular over the last year. Your show “Dumb Green Meat” is getting good reviews from the higher ups. Can you tell us a bit about your show and how you came up with it?
GER – Well, Dumb Green Meat began while I was still in college as a sort of joke. Making fun of the typical “Huge guy named Tiny”, I decided “How about an ugly guy named Sexy?”. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I love big green things, so naturally, Sexy would be an Orc. It just kinda went from there. Sexy developed into something quite different from his initial concept as I added more to it however.
Dumb Green Meat focuses on the misadventures of Sexy and Heavy, two orcs rooming together in a perfectly mundane modern city. They deal with regular everyday issues like work, commuting, taxes, and love. The official pack says that I use Orcs and fantasy creatures to poke fun at cultural and social differences but the real answer is that I want to see a cartoon about Orcs. One of my personal philosophies has always been “Don’t pander to anyone.” How can I tell a story convincingly if I don’t even want to hear it? My target audience is always me. If other people like it, well that’s great. If they don’t, then I still like it, and at the end of the day, I’ve poured myself into something I really love. Funny how it works though, because I’ve always found that when I create for nobody but me, everybody likes it better.
GENE - I haven’t unveiled the strategic plan yet to the crew, but where do you think Fatkat will look like in 5 years? Where do you see yourself in that mix?
GER – Seeing as I haven’t even seen it, that’s a tough question! I see FatKat in a sort of puberty stage right now. I think we’re just about done growing, but we’ve still got some maturing to do, filling out a bit as it were. In 5 years I expect Fatkat will be sturdy and barrel-chested. Like a sasquatch.
As for me, well I’ve made it no secret from day one that my true passion is games, not cartoons. By the time 5 years have passed, I’ll have been 9 years in this industry, and in my 30s (eww). I’ll have at least one game under my belt (does that mean it’s in my pants?), hopefully a few more than that. Ideally I’d be sitting in an office somewhere thinking up games all day and contracting the animation work to you guys! Hah!