On Friday September 30th, 2011 I had the opportunity to interview Rich Ramazinski, a driven artist that follows his passion: animation. I called him up to discuss education, inspiration, and how he got to be where he is today.
He said that he always liked drawing. He took an animation class in high school where the teachers would show short animations from film festivals. There would be experimental animation, cartoon animation, and he said he really like stop motion animation in particular. “It was really cool,” Rich said. He would make puppets and sets in his free time. He would film stop motion animations on his own, he just really liked it.
How much of your creativity was derived from school and how much from life experiences?
“School was where the resources were. But a lot of my ideas just come from experimenting. I went to school to focus on my own projects and use their resources to get my films done. College had a lot of busy work but I got to collaborate with like-minded people. That’s what school was [for me] – the resources and the people.”
Did you have any mentors that helped you out?
Rich quickly replied, “Oh yeah! Every time I have a new project I’m working on, I find new people that I learn from.” Starting from high school and now Rich is still learning and collaborating with mentors and creatives on projects and jobs.
While at Columbia College in Chicago a speaker came, an Animation Industry consultant. Rich was the only one who stayed after the presentation and asked some questions and advice about the industry. “It’s about actively talking to people,” he says. “I just wanted to animate; never wanted to network with anyone… but you have to put yourself out there.” Rich has his own website, IMDB, Twitter, and LinkedIn which have been a great benefit for finding jobs but also collaborating with others on projects.
How do you stay motivated as a freelancer when there is little work?
Rich said at the beginning he sometimes wouldn’t have work for 3 months, but it will be different for the individual. For him it’s his passion that pulls him through. Making things first for yourself, and then for the money. That, and learning to be frugal. We discussed how there is a lack of financial education in schools. Everything that he knows about finance he had to learn from others, or on his own. Perhaps there should be more entrepreneurial classes in higher education?
What habits have you developed that got you to where you are today?
“I’ve gotten better at not worrying about the future… stability suffers with passion,” Rich laughs. He also mentioned that if you are following your passion you just keep chugging, and when the months come where you don’t have a job… You learn to be frugal and have savings for those times.
What’s your favorite and least favorite part of being in the art industry?
He talked about how at some jobs while working on commercials the director will say add x at this time and put green y in the center. In other words, there is not much room for creativity. That’s his least favorite part of the job.
His favorite part? “Making things awesome,” Mr. Ramazinski said. “I always learn something new and getting to collaborate with new people for each new project. I’ll work on a project and people will ask me for directions. Sometimes I just say ‘make it look awesome.’ ” He mentioned that some people are more happy with that creative liberty than others. Perhaps it’s because from the day we’re in school we were given the directions to do a project or a test a specific way. How many times do you get to “creatively” fill the bubbles in a scantron?
I want to thank Rich for taking the time out of his schedule for this interview. You can check out some of his work over here. Sometimes it just takes asking the questions and going out to try new things to get started doing what you love for a living. Why not give it a shot?
Hope you are all living a BellaVie! Stay tuned for the second issue of the BellaVie out this October 8th.