robert iza

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The 2016 Nick Animated Shorts Program is ON!

We’re now taking global pitches for our 2016 shorts program – anything original, humor-based and character-driven is fair game. We can’t wait to see your ideas start rolling in! If you’re interested in submitting, visit nickshortspitches.com for more info.

We’re also very excited to officially announce the 22 participants selected for our 2015 program! Click here to see the full list.

ALSO, you can watch past shorts on Nick.com, including most of the ones GIF’d above!

(Top L to Bottom R: Summer Memories by Adam Yaniv, Ice Station Zedonk by Tom Parkinson, By Request Pizza by Arica Tuesday & Mick Ignis, Magic Children by Monica Ray, Off the Shelf by Robert Iza, Bug Salad by Carl Faruolo, Planet Panic by Gene Goldstein, Zombie Brothers by Eric Robles)

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More board to final comparisons from “Robert Peary” with a critique on Peary’s design.

I feel like the design they did for Peary didn’t translate as well with a lot of the final animation, as I felt since he’s mischievous, the round eyes in the center like classic Jay Ward, along with very round shapes would have done it more justice. DHX did the best to translate it, but I wasn’t comfortable at the time speaking up about the design choices for Peary.

You can see where they started with the design, and where it ended up, but I still think it should have been simplified, more round and eyes in the center, making for a more appealing design and easier range / expressions.

My Experiences

Someone had asked about my experiences and advice on getting into this industry and the kind of work that I do, so here goes

Ok, so basically, I knew when I was a kid I wanted to make cartoons. As I grew up though, I got into comic books, anime, and live action movies. I took video classes in high school, and wanted to go to USC for film school. I switched schools senior year when my family moved down to California from Washington state. I wasn’t able to take the video class they had cause I had already taken more classes then they had, so to fill the credit I needed to graduate, I took an animation class. I fell in love with animating.

Then, I had heard of CalArts, but it sounded scary/ intimidating to me, so I didn’t look into it until years later. I ended up going to what I consider the McDonalds of “Art” school, the Art Institute of LA. While I did learn some things, they had a weird agenda, and wouldn’t let me focus on pre production and 2D (I knew I wanted to get into storyboarding and work in TV moreso than Feature animation) I was passionate about it regardless, and got myself an internship at Cartoon Network, which was a fun and valuable learning experience, and met a ton of Awesome people.

I ended up quitting school after 3 years, and then struggled for a really long time. I got back into painting, did a whole bunch of gallery shows, and went through bouts of depression and trying hard to get work in the industry. I worked at a small studio in the middle of nowhere East Coast side of Canada, called FatKat animation, for a couple months doing flash animation before getting laid off and coming back to the states (The studio shut down in about a year from then)

I also I bounced around between California trying to get work at the studios and taking tests, and struggling some more, and a couple times of moving back in with my family back up to Washington state.

There was lots of uncertainty, and the state of the economy AND the industry itself were at a low for a while, and it was hard for me to get much work wise. I worked a crummy caricature job in Hollywood for 9 months, and other odds and ends jobs. I continued to study things I liked on my own, and always was trying to work hard, make lots of stuff, put it out there for people to see, and produce as much as I could. I was determined, persistent, relentless, and just a tad delusional.

I was taking some more tests for shows, and had gotten an interview to be an animator at Disney Interactive / Playdom in the Bay area (Mountain View, CA) It was by far the best job I had gotten by that point, and was super grateful for it. I worked there for 2 years, but knowing it still wasn’t quite what I wanted to do (which was boarding for a TV cartoon) I worked hard taking tests, talking to friends in the industry, and looking for whatever opportunities I could. I got to do some background color for the Lakewood Plaza Turbo short at Cartoon Network thanks to Ian Jones Quartey being super awesome and generous with taking a risk on me!

I got an opportunity to do a web comic on Dumm Comics, and took it up. I tried my best to have fun with it and keep up with the schedule of a comic a week. (Usually was between 1-3 comic pages all in color) This comic helped get my work seen by a lot of industry people. Anyways, after 2 years at Disney Interactive / Playdom, I was laid off. I worked extra hard to try and get work, almost getting a position doing storyboards on Teen Titans GO!, but it didn’t work out. People had helped introduce me to the MAD crew at WB, and I was able to do freelance pieces for them. They were lots of work, a big challenge, and I learned boat loads, and super appreciate everyone there for the opportunity.


Shortly after finishing the MAD freelance, I was contacted by the Teen Titans GO! crew about a position doing boards, and at about the same time contacted about a position doing boards on Nickelodeons’ new show Breadwinners. I talked to friends, and had to think about it a lot for 2 days before making a decision, and went with Breadwinners because I felt it’d be more of a fit for me in the long run being so silly and cartoony. Nothing against the TTGO crew, because they have a slew of Amazing people and I couldn’t have been more grateful to be considered for a position! I’m also super thankful to the whole Breadwinners crew for taking a chance on me, and giving me room to really dig in, learn tons, and get a whole lot better at this stuff!

I’ve been at this job at Nickelodeon about 7 months now, keeping super busy, and having a blast.

The biggest things I would say to do are:

1) Practice, Practice, Practice!!! You can never do too much working on your skills and studying things!

2) Nuture your friendships and connections with friends in the industry, it’s super small, everyone knows everyone, there’s no point in being a dick to anyone.

3) Put your work out there!!! What good is working hard and getting better if no one sees it? If no one knows you can do that? Super important!

4) Be persistent! This isn’t a quick and easy thing to work out. But if you’re super determined, and have good support from friends and family, it will work out eventually.

5) Do you know what you want to do specifically? Then do it! Do LOTS of it! Don’t stop! If you don’t know, try lots of things and figure out what you enjoy and can get super passionate about. If you’re motivated to do something you’ll totally do it no matter how challenging. Focus on doing the things you enjoy when you can, but it’s also good to have a basic understanding of the whole process. Study the work of people you admire, try to break down why you like it, why you don’t, why it works or not, and all aspects of it.

6) It’s all gonna take time, so utilize that time as best you can! Don’t stress out too much, be flexible yet have goals.

Again, I could not have gotten here without the fantastic support and love from my Family and Friends! So many people I thank and appreciate, you all know who you are!

I wish you the best of luck with it, and am sure you’ll do just fine! :)