What part of Canada are you from Nathan?
I live in Vancouver, spent my childhood in Pitt Meadows and my teens on the side of a mountain near Nelson, BC.
What inspired you to create animation?
I've always loved cartoons. Watching them! Drawing them! Imagining living with them (umm... as a kid!). I've been hooked as long as I can remember. Through grade school I couldn't wait to learn to animate so I could actually bring my drawings to life.
|"A mash-up that had to happen"|
|"The funniest bad guys ever, Harry and Marv from Home Alone"|
How would you describe your artistic style?
I never really considered myself to have a style of my own. I'm always studying other artists' styles, and the way they draw. If I had to identify any similarities in my drawings, the majority are soft and cartoony, with a certain amount of general goofiness.
|"Gene Wilder from Young Frankenstein"|
|"An unfortunate day for the Creature from the Black Lagoon"|
Can you share a piece of art work or script segment that no one has seen before?
|Granville Island - 2014|
What role do you play in the creation of animation?
For Affolter Entertainment I'm usually involved with everything from the concept, through storyboards, to final animation and compositing. Professionally I've been employed as an animator, sheet-timer, designer, storyboard artist, and layout supervisor.
What's the story behind Affolter Entertainment?
Affolter Entertainment is an independent production company I founded with by three brothers (Jon, Heath and Thomas), who all work in animation or film. From a young age, the 4 of us would produce little videos, animations, live sketches or comic books together. We liked to make each other laugh, as well as anyone who would watch. We never planned to form a company when we were kids, but kinda joked/dreamed about one day having our own variety show or making films. Being the oldest, I went off to VFS first, and I think the other guys saw what I was doing and thought, “I wanna do something like that.” Jon went to Capilano College to study animation, and later Heath and Thomas went to study live-action film making. Even while we were going to film school though we never stopped bouncing ideas off each other and collaborating on stuff, and once we had all graduated, we picked up where we had left off and formed Affolter Entertainment. We have a real respect for each other and complete honesty. Though we have different ideas, we have similar taste, and we always want the best for any project we work on. Currently we're producing web series for our YouTube Channel, Comedy Blender (starting with Food Flix), and developing pitches for film, tv and the web.
What is one project that you are proud to have been involved in?
'Ren and Stimpy's Adult Party Cartoon.' I always loved the show as a kid, so getting to animate those characters doing the silly, disgusting and insane things they do was just pure glee. Plus the crew at Carbunkle Cartoons Inc. was just a hoot, not to mention it's one of the only jobs I've ever done on paper, (though my hand still hurts from the clean-up).
What projects are you working on now?
For Affolter Entertainment, my brothers and I are cooking up our next web series to follow “Food Flix,” on our youtube channel, Comedy Blender. Some animated, some live-action, but all silly and fun. In addition to that, we're developing pitches for tv and film.
At DHX Media I'm a layout supervisor on “Transformers: Rescue Bots,” and I'll soon be doing the same on their new comedy, “Supernoobs”!
Who is one of your favourite Canadian animators?
Richard Williams must take the cake, and why goes without saying, though I feel Canada can't lay full claim since he did so much of his work in London. I've always loved John K's work for it's comedy and wackiness. For “Ren and Stimpy” credit is also due to the contribution of two other Canadian animators, Bob Jaques and Kelly Armstrong (of Carbunkle Cartoons Inc.), who gave them their eye-popping animation style, which pushed the hilarity through the roof.
What is one of your favourite animation books?
I will probably never stop reading and drawing inspiration from “Walt Stanchfield's - Drawn to Life,” edited by the Don Hahn. I will forever be in debt to those two great gentlemen, for supplying me with all those pearls of wisdom. It's just page after page of mind-opening insight on drawing, observing, and story-telling. This book not only covers the “how” of drawing, but the “why,” which is even more important.
Who is an up-and-coming or relatively unknown Canadian animator that everyone should check out?
I don't know if he counts as “relatively unknown,” but a friend of mine, Mike Geiger will probably be running his own show one day. His stuff is fresh, funny, charming, and always entertaining! I had the pleasure of meeting him while we were both students at VFS, and later we both worked at Carbunkle Cartoons. He's got some of his wacky endeavours on his website: http://www.mikegeiger.com/.
SUPER DUPER SUPER HERO - EPISODE 4 from mike geiger animation on Vimeo.
Are you involved with any animation organizations in Canada?
Have your films won any animation awards/accolades?
For Affolter Entertainment's stop-motion Big Rock beer commercial
Big Rock Eddies Edmonton - WINNER: Best Commercial- 2008
Big Rock Eddies Calgary - WINNER: Third Place- 2008
For Affolter Entertainment's live-action fantastical drama 'Plant Girl'
International Film Festival of South Africa - WINNER: Best Young Filmmaker Int'l - 2010
The Film Festival of Colorado - WINNER (tie): Audience Award for Best Short Film- 2010
Heart of England Film Festival - WINNER: Best Short Film- 2010
Indie Film Gathering - WINNER: Best Short Drama - 2010
Leo Awards - Nominee: Best Short Drama- 2010
Leo Awards - Nominee: Best Direction (Short Drama)- 2010
Space Golf from Affolter Entertainment on Vimeo.
What are some of your animation milestones?
Well.. getting a job animating was pretty big! When I graduated in 2001, there wasn't a lot of work in town. Even some of my teachers had a tough time and it was hard to tell if classical animation would even stick around. Luckily, thanks to digital software speeding up the process, and the demand for it in film/tv/web/ads etc. the industry is bigger then ever.
But besides that, no milestone will ever top getting to animate and direct my own creations with my brothers at Affolter Entertainment. Even if it's not a big successful film and just my own little cartoon it always gets me excited to work on it every day. Awards, acceptance to festivals, likes online, will never give me as much satisfaction as just producing and completing something I create and find entertaining. And that's why I'll never stop.
To see more work from Nathan, check out these links: