Max the Mutt’s animation diploma program graduate, Aaron Long, knew from an early age that he wanted to animate and make films. “I made my first animated film when I was nine”, says Aaron in my video interview with him from his home in Los Angeles. The film was called Hot Rod and Stinker, and he taught himself a lot from that point on how to create animated films.
It was drawing where he needed help. That’s where Max the Mutt came in.
“My drawing abilities were terrible” Aaron says reminiscing back on what led him to art college. Aaron recognized that being a good animator takes knowing how to draw well, something that is a significant part of the curriculum at MTM.
Drawing skills are key to being successful as an animator
It’s Aaron’s passion for animation that brought him to MTM, but he knew that he needed much more than just knowing how to animate. “They really pushed me to learn how to draw”, Aaron says of the instructors at MTM. Aaron wasn’t too keen on learning still life and painting, but later in his career, he understood how important that all was. It was also learning the History of Animation in year 1 that gave him his inspiration for Fester Fish, his animation series that caught the attention of the producer that hired him to work on his first studio production, TripTank, which was the reason for him moving to LA.
He’s been working consistently ever since graduating from MTM in 2013. After TripTank, he was hired to work on Bojack Horseman (starring Will Arnett), then Tuca and Bertie (which Aaron claims is the most fun show to work on!). He also finds time to visit his alma mater whenever he’s back in Toronto. Aaron was last at MTM in Nov 2019 to speak with current students and his fans about his journey as an animator and to offer some tips.
Personal work key to standing out in the animation biz
“Always work on your personal stuff; it’s what makes you stand out from the crowd”. Aaron still finds time, even as a busy director/animator, to work on his own projects, which since 2015 has been the show Sublo and Tangy Mustard, set in his hometown of Toronto. The show, based on his frequenting subway sandwich shops as a student, and observing store mascots wearing their outfits performing daily mundane activities like arguing with their girlfriend over their cell phone.
Several years later, he’s still making personal projects, just like that nine-year-old.
So, always find time to work on your passion projects; it can really pay off in the long run.
To see more of Aarons’ work check out his website AaronLongCartoons.com