Bio: Jesse Bray
While I've spent the last ten years in the Pacific Northwest I've lived all across the country, California, Minnesota and even Maine. My mother was a model and an actress so we moved quite a bit as a kid. We were also homeless a lot so I knew my way around lots of shelters and soup kitchens and strange but friendly people. I'm an animator and graphic designer by trade. However, I used to be a folk musician, was a missionary for a stint, and a seminary dropout.
I started my company Mr. Bray Studios, LLC. in 2011 and specialize in everything from print to web to animation. My clients have ranged from large brands and everything in between.
What better way to get to know me than through the following interview:
What inspired you to become an animator? I was probably 8yrs old when I saw Disney's "Rescuers Down Under". It's this adorable animation about these mice that travel the globe to solve missing person cases, particularly saving human children from bad people. The premise resonated with me in a deep way that I never quite understood until recently. However where this film sparked my inner animator was from a scene in the movie where you the viewer is riding on the back of the wings of a golden eagle soaring through the sky. It was at that moment, feeling like I was flying through the clouds that I saw how animation can make me experience things I never thought possible. I was hooked, I wanted to possess this magic.
What were some of your favorite cartoons or animated films growing up? Growing up in the 80s and 90s I truly believe I was in a golden age of tv animation - shows like; Bruce Timm's Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Gargoyles, Street Sharks, Pinky & The Brain, Transformers, He-Man, Thundercats, Gummie Bears, G.I. Joe, Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, Freakazoid, and The Tick is just a handful of the amazing animated tv shows I loved. When it came to animated films: Disney's Aladdin, Don Bluth's American Tale 1 & 2, The original Land Before Time, Rescuers Down Under, and Fantasia were some of the most impactful to me.
Is there a particular animator or animation studio that you admire and why? My favorite animation studio is U.P.A. (United Production Artist) They were the studio responsible for Harold Mc Boing Boing and Mr. Magoo and they visually revolutionize the animation industry. Their animations were design driven - you could say they were more like graphic designers creating animation than the other way around. The influences of their work can be still seen today in shows like Dexter's Laboratory, Power Puff Girls, Fairy Odd Parents and the new Rocky & Bullwinkle Show.
What is your creative process like when comes to creating an animation? Everything starts with an idea. Now how you get to that idea can vary greatly but once you've settled on an idea the animation process is universal - it's broken up into three stages: Pre-Production, Production & Post-Production. In the Pre-Production stage it goes from idea to script to storyboards to animatic (this is where you take your storyboards and time them to a rough recording). Then you're ready for the Production stage. Here is where you record your voice artists, flesh out your characters, props and designs, animate them and continue to refine your animatic until it looks like a full blown animation. The last stage is the Post-Production stage. This is where we tighten anything out of place like recordings, or animation, add sound fx, or any visual fx that will make it shine then we render it out as our final film.