Getting ready for the next project to begin.

Get Ready

This has been another very busy week for me.  I have spent most of my time putting a team of artists together for my next project.  Shooting starts on Monday, and we will start working on the VFX as soon as mid next week.  This time around we have a bigger team, at least double the size of last time, and it takes some time sorting through portfolios looking for the gems.  Often when you find someone they are busy working on other projects.  I think we have a great team so far, and I’m still looking for a few more people and I think we will be good.

Next week I will be on set for the shoot, which is always exciting.  Being in animation for years the live action side can be somewhat very foreign to me.  I tend to feel like a fish out of water on a live action set.  Luckily I only have one job, and as long as I focus on doing a good job with that I can sit back and enjoy the show.

As odd as it might sound I’m also really excited for the food.  They have the best catering service, and it is some of the most amazing food!  I have found that a lot of my life revolves around food.  While working from home and watching Kelton I have not always had a lot of time to prepare meals, and often eat like a college student.  Mac&Cheese, Ramon Noodles, and most things that have “instant” in the title.

Hopefully my meals for this next project will be better since we are hiring a nanny to help out with Kelton.  We asked our last nanny to come back, but she has limited availability, so we may need to get a second person to cover the other days.  That is what I spent the other half of my time on this week… looking for a nanny.

Depending on how next week goes I may or may not have time to write a post. I will do my best to give at least an update on how things are going. Have a great weekend everyone, and a great week next week.


If you have not already, please join me on my journey by subscribing to my blog.  Also, if you have any thoughts or advice I would love to hear what you have to say, so please feel free to leave me any comments below. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@MillerAnimation). Only Time Will Tell.

Parent’s Visit

My parents were in town this week, so I did not have time to write a full blog post, so this will be quick update.

The Toys”R”Us project we have been working on has finally come to an end(for the most part).  Not all 15 commercials are posted yet, but if you missed any of them you can watch them all here.

This project started the week after I left DreamWorks Animation in July, and went on for about 2 1/2 months.  It could not have come at a more perfect time for me, and gave me a great head start for the company.  It was a great experience, and had a lot of fun working on them.

I’m very excited to announce that I have already started another project this week, and will go until the middle of December.  It will be commercials for the company’s holiday campaign.  Hopefully this will be another fun project, and it should keep me busy for the rest of this year.  I’m always looking for additional projects to take on, so please let me know if you have anything for me.

It was great having my parents out here this week, and getting a break from the routine of everything.  The timing worked out well since the Toys”R”Us project was pretty much finished.  We were able to go to the beach, the Autry National Center, and just hangout.  My son Kelton also really enjoyed his time with his grandparents.

Next week everything goes back to normal.  Except we will be starting a search for a nanny.  When I first left DreamWorks I thought I could watch Kelton, and running the business at the same time.  That was when I thought it would take me some time before I had a project, and it would be a slower start.  With this new project picking up I’m going to need help, since this last project proved to be difficult to work, start the business, and watch Kelton at the same time.  We will be looking for help during the times I have active projects, so if you know a good nanny please send their info our way.


If you have not already, please join me on my journey by subscribing to my blog.  Also, if you have any thoughts or advice I would love to hear what you have to say, so please feel free to leave me any comments below. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@MillerAnimation). Only Time Will Tell.

You can’t start an animation studio alone, You need great mentors.

I’m a strong believer in the importance of having great mentors.  No one has all the answers, and to have someone that has more or different experience then you who can help guide you is an absolute must.

A big part of leaning is making mistakes, and if you can have access to other people’s mistakes you won’t have to make them yourself to learn the lesson.  A mentor can also provide you with things that have worked well for them, and give you an understanding that you previously did not have.

I have been very lucky, and have had some great mentors in my career.  I plan to continue to find more mentors that can guide me on my journey.  These people might not work with you, but are still very important members of your team. They help you make the right decisions, and plan a well thought out strategy.

“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” —Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder

You often hear about industries that are cut-throat, and how it is everyone for themselves.  I have worked at a few of those places… “coughtalent agencycough“.  I’m sure the animation industry can be cut-throat , but from my experience there is a lot of great people in this industry.  People that will bend over backwards just to help and mentor others. This is why I always try and do the same when someone comes to me for advice.  I don’t always feel I have all the answers, but if there is any way for me to help, I will.

I feel that the mentors I have had have all helped me get to where I am now.  I want to talk about two people in paticular who have mentored me on starting my company.  The reason I want to put a spotlight on these two mentors is because they have actually started their own animation studios.  To me their advice has been invaluable, and I have a great deal of respect for them.  Not many people start their own animation company, so it is great to get to talk to them, and get their advice on what to do, and what not to do.

James Baxter
James Baxter and Eric MillerBefore leaving DreamWorks Animation there was one thing I knew I needed to do.  That was to sit down with animation legend James Baxter to talk about his experience in running his own company.

If you are in the animation industry you should know who he is, and if you’re not in the industry you will at least know his work.  He has been an animator for years and has worked at Disney, and then DreamWorks.

In 2005 he left DreamWorks Animation to start his own company James Baxter Animation, where he directed the animation for the 2007 film Enchanted, and the 2D opening credit sequence to Kung Fu Panda, for which he received an Annie Award. In 2008 he closed his company, and returned to DreamWorks.

I have wanted to talk with him about his company for a long time, but never got up the courage until it was my last week at DreamWorks.  I wanted to pick his brain to find out what challenges he had, and how he got his clients.  I also wanted to know why he closed his studio and came back to DreamWorks.  That is why I was so excited to have the opportunity to speak with him, and talk about his experiences.

He did not have to agree to meet with me, or answer any of my questions, but he did willingly and talked with me about starting an animation company.  He gave me some great advice, and even offered to help on future projects.  Besides being extremely talented, he is also a really nice guy.  It was a joy talking with him, and he even agreed to take a selfie with me.  Out of respect for him I won’t share everything we talked about, but I will say it was reassuring to hear how successful his company was doing, and that his decision to dissolve the company was not because of failure.

Below is a clip that shows some of James’ work on Beauty and the Beast (1991).  The ballroom was done in CG, but the Beast and Bell were hand drawn by James.  It is impressive the emotion and weight he can show with pencil lines.

Ashley Postlewaite
Last week I had the pleasure of talking with Ashley Postlewaite.  Ashley is the co-founder & executive producer of  Renegade Animation.  Prior to starting her animation studio she worked for both Disney and Warner Brothers. In 1992, her and her partner Darrell Van Citters started the traditional animation studio, and have been in business ever since.  Renegade Animation might be best known as the producer of cartoon series Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi and The Mr. Men Show for Cartoon Network. As well as co-producing The Tom and Jerry Show, a show featuring Tom and Jerry, that is currently airing on Cartoon Network starting in 2014.

While Darrell leads the company creatively, Ashley serves as the executive producer leading the company on the business side.  I was excited to get to talk to her since I see myself more as the business person of my company.  We talked about many different subjects from the state of the industry, and the struggles they, like many companies, have been going through, to tips on what to do, and what to avoid.

Her company has a small core staff of full time employees, and based on the needs of their current projects will hire additional staff or independent contractors. She emphasized the importance of being smart about how you spend your money, and to save for a rainy day.  It was strategies like this that she was able to keep the company afloat and strong during the recession.

She is an extremely busy person, and I was impressed with her dedication to help and mentor others.  This is another example of the generosity of the people in this industry.  She told me that if I ever have any questions to not hesitate to reach out to her, and who knows, maybe we will get to work on a project together someday.


If you have not already, I hope you will join me on my journey by subscribing to my blog.  If you have any thoughts or advice I would love to hear what you have to say, so please feel free to leave me any comments below. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@MillerAnimation). Only Time Will Tell. 

A quick update on this week

This week has been a pretty busy, so I was not able to finish the article I was working on, so instead I thought I would give a quick update on this week.

Last night I went to a Producers Guild networking event in Hollywood that was hosted at the Den on Sunset.  As always I met a lot of really great producers, but I also met a guy from the U. S. Coast Guard Motion Picture and Television Office.  We were talking about the services the different military branches offer to production companies at no cost.  Some of the stuff does have a cost but mostly if it is going to be additional expense to the military.  If you want solders running around or doing military stuff it is free, and they calk it up to training.  He said he can even get helicopters and tanks, and I would only have to pay for fuel…  Who wants to get a helicopter with me?  I’m sure the fuel is not cheap, but really awesome the military offers these things to production companies.

Tomorrow I’m attending another Producers Guild event that is an Associate Producer Council Master Class: “Comps: How Comparable Films’ Financial Info Can Make You a Better Producer”.  It will go over how to get people to invest in your projects by making your numbers look good to potential investors by using comps.  I will let you know if I learn anything interesting.

This week I also registered for the Creative Talent Network 3-day Animation Expo in November, so I’m looking forward to that.  Has anyone gone to this expo before?  What is it like, and any suggestions on what panels to see?

I wanted to give a big congratulations to my friend Hashi for his Streamy Award win for “Best Visual and Special Effects” for his YouTube channel Action Movie Kid.  And a even bigger congratulations to him and his wife who are welcoming their daughter into the world today.

Well, that is all I have time for today, but keep following for future updates.  If you are interested to hear about anything specific please feel free to leave comments below.


If you have not already, I hope you will join me on my journey by subscribing to my blog.  If you have any thoughts or advice I would love to hear what you have to say, so please feel free to leave me any comments below. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@MillerAnimation). Only Time Will Tell.