Titmouse, Inc. is one of the several super-busy animation houses that has been able to make a smooth transition to this new COVID-19 “work-from-home” period. The thriving studio, which has three locations in Los Angeles, New York City and Vancouver, was founded in 1999 by Chris and Shannon Prynoski. Among the many shows they are currently working on are Tigtone, Ballmstrz: 9009, Archibald’s Next Big Thing, Bless the Harts, Cleopatra in Space, Green Eggs and Ham and the much-anticipated Penn Ward/Duncan Trussell series The Midnight Gospel, which premieres on Netflix on April 20. We were very pleased when studio head Chris Prynoski answered a few of our questions about how he’s keeping Titmouse in flight during these challenging times:
Animag: We know your busy production pipeline is humming as usual. How have social distancing and work-at-home policies impacted the shows that are currently in production?
Chris Prynoski: It’s been weird for sure. In some ways, it can be more efficient. Like you can attend more meetings in a day because there’s no drive time between client locations. The physical connection of being in an edit room together or pitching gags in a story meeting is definitely missed. It’s harder to share a gag you just doodled on a post-it with everyone. You have to hold it up to your webcam or take a pic with your phone and text it, etc. Productions are all moving forward, but the dynamic is different as we’ve had to shift our creative methods a bit.
Which technologies do you use to share huge animation files?
We use everything from Google Drive to specialized file sharing and review services like Egnyte, Frame.IO and Wiredrive. Some staff also have VPN access to connect to our servers.
Will you still be able to deliver all the shows on time or will they be slightly delayed?
So far, we are holding schedules without much delay. Time will tell if schedules need to be extended. If this goes on for a very long time, then there will likely be some impact on our timelines. It’s hard to say how much at this point.
How do you keep a positive spirit and inspiring work environment despite all the challenges?
We communicate a lot. I’ve never been on so many video conference calls! Shannon sends out funny and heartwarming emails to the whole crew, filling them in on the state of the studio. I’ve also been playing D&D games with the staff from all three of our locations remotely. We are fortunate to work in cartoons and lucky we get to laugh every day!
Any tips for fellow animators who are trying to get through this difficult period?
If you’re not located in a city like Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver, etc., this is actually a great opportunity to break into the industry. With all the work being done remotely, your physical location matters less than it did four weeks ago.
Are you hiring — and if so, what skill sets are you looking for?
We are always looking for talented artists! Skills vary depending on the gig. Draftsmanship and professionalism are always appreciated! Check out our careers page where you’ll find more than 25 open positions: https://titmouse.net/careers/