Animation Director

In animation, the director isn't dealing with actors. Here the job is a lot tougher—the director is dealing with drawings, pencil lines on flat pieces of paper. The only problem is, those drawings can be just as temperamental and difficult to work with as their real-life counterparts, and it's up to the director to keep them in line, so to speak.

Jeffrey Allen Lynch directs for the hit television show "The Simpsons." His job is to guide the episode through the steps to make it into a half-hour television show, but the steps are almost identical for an animated feature film. The first step is the storyboard, much like that for a regular feature, only more detailed. The storyboard then goes to the designers.

Once everything has been designed and approved by the director, all the characters, background, and prop models are bundled together into a "model pack" and given to the animators and background and layout artists. Everything that will appear in the show starts out its creative life here. In any animation studio, the model pack is referred to more often than the phone book.

Then it's time for the animation director to cast the show. Casting in animation is different from live-action casting. In the first place, all the voices have been hired and recorded already; we're not talking about them. Second, we already know what the characters look like since they were already designed. Then what does Jeffrey Lynch do to "cast" his show? He hands out assignments.

If a character is going to do a song and dance, then Jeffrey assigns that character to the animator he feels can do the best job. Usually, though, it's not that specific. Jeffrey knows which animator is good at which character and assigns accordingly. The same is true for backgrounds. Once Jeffrey hands out parts, it's time to animate and shoot.

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