Romanian-born American Ovi Nedelcu, Author/ Illustrator, Visual Development, Character Design/ Stylist, and Story Artist, was interviewed for animationmagazine.eu.
His resume is impressive. He worked for Laika Studios, Disney, Warner Bros., Sony Animation, Cartoon Network, etc. His name is found on the generic Laika productions such as The Boxtrolls, Coraline and ParaNorman.
Also Ovi signed several storybooks for DreamWorks Animation. He wrote and illustrated a series of comic books. In May it will be released his book, „Just like Daddy.”
He is currently working on the production of Genndy Tartakovsky, „Can you imagine?”.
I see that you have a Romanian name. Are your parents from Romania? Do you speak a little Romanian?
Yes, I’m Romanian. Both of my parents are as well. We moved to the united states about a year after I was born in Arad. I still speak it a bit, but not well. But I do understand it pretty good.
What do you know about Romanian country and Romanian animation?
I know a bit about it yes, but not too much. I know there is a push there in animation and a bunch of studios starting up. its good to hear about.
I saw your website, blog and also your creations. They are very good. Congratulations!
Thanks! Glad you like them.
Please, tell me about your experience as a character designer and storyboard artist.
Doing character design and story has been really great and very fulfilling as a storyteller. I like to bounce back and forth between those two roles so that when one gets a bit stagnant I can switch over and get a new rush of inspiration. I jump back and forth but it all depends on the studio, director and what they are looking for.
I’ve noticed that you have participated in many animation films.
What does the animation mean for you?
Animation is just one of the many ways to express myself and my artistic drive.
Its a great medium for storytelling and really enjoy it. It means a lot when you think about the impact it has on society and how it can be used to inspire and teach and show us new things.
How did you start in animation film industry?
I got a Job offer during my second year in art school from WB animation and went on to work for multiple studios as I grew in the industry.
From whom did you learn animation?
I’m not an animator, so I don’t animate. I do character and story work. I learned how to do that from a lot of different people, books and classes over the past 15 years. a few people that helped me along the way are Brad Bird, Shannon Tindle, Joe Moshier, Mark Andrews, Ted Mathot and many others. Some good books I would recommend are „Drawn to Life” by Walt Stanchfield, „Understanding Comics” by Scott Mcloud, „Shot by Shot”, „The Five C’s of Cinematography„, „STORY” by Mckee, and „The Visual Story” by Bruce Block.
How would you describe your creations?
Fun, exciting, wondrous, and inspiring (I hope).
Do you make illustrations for storybooks? Do you also write stories?
Yes, I’ve done a few storybooks for dreamworks/simon&schuster called „puss in boots” and „shrek”. I’ve also written and illustrated a comic book series called PIGTALE and a picture book called „Just like Daddy” coming out May 5th 2015.
What was your work on Coraline, ParaNorman, Boxtrolls and 9TH GRADE NINJA?
Coraline I did some vis-dev and story boards. Para and box trolls I did storyboards and for 9th GRADE NINJA I did some character design work.
How is it to work for Disney, Laika and Warner Bros. Studious?
IT’S BEEN REALLY GREAT ALL HAVE THEIR CHALLENGES AND REWARDS. I ENJOY COLLABORATING WITH ALL THE OTHER AMAZING ARTISTS.
How does it look a day of your life?
I get up early, get the kids to school, get back to my office and start working on whatever assignments I have due for the day. I work until about 6pm and then its time for dinner and reading time with the kids. after that I spend time with my wife and then around midnight I get to bed and then start all over again. pretty typical I suppose.
What would you like to do but you don’t have time or ressources?
I would love to find a way to spend more time with my family and still have enough time to do all the work and projects I dream up. Its a balancing act for sure.
Can you make a living from animation in America?
I do, so yes.
Are you thinking of making your own animated film in the future?
I have a few ideas for animated films I would like to see on the big screen one day, sure.
What kind of animations do you prefer?
I like the classic disney films, PIXAR and Miyazaki films. I also LOVE the new Ernest and Celestine feature film that came out last year. its amazing. My favorite animated film of all time is probably the Iron Giant.
What do you think about American animation industry? But what about European animation industry?
I think the american animation industry needs to do more original films. PIXAR does a good job at it, but we need to see more of it. I don’t know too many euro animation films but I do like that they push the medium a bit more and tell all kinds of different stories.
What do you work at in the present?
Right now I’m working on Genndy Tartakovsky’s film called „Can you imagine?” for SONY Animation.
When was your last visit in Romania? Is it possible to comeback?
I have never been back to Romania, but I would like to one day. I would never move back there, but would love to visit.
Will you come to Anim’est International Animation Festival in Bucharest?
I don’t think my schedule and life would allow me to do so right now, but I would love to at some point. Sounds fun.
What advice do you have for Romanians who want to work in the American animation industry?
The same advice I have for everyone else, study the craft, forces on what you want to do, work hard, practice, practice, practice, and then get Facebook and work harder and practice more. Make connections, start a blog, and attend animation conventions. And last but not least, be nice to others. No one wants to work with a jerk.