Chris: Before we get too much further into the story, let’s just jump back real quick and make sure we connect the dots here. So Boston was like a study abroad scenario?
Pascal: Yeah, I had one year at School of (inaudible) Fine Arts. I went there and I think I got there in January of 1998 and 99 and I stayed there until basically the end of that year. I was only supposed to be there for like one semester but then I got a job at TSV where I met some amazing people, people who told me…it’s like everywhere I went, I met some amazing people and I learned so much stuff. I came back to France after finishing my school at (inaudible), graduate in 2000 and at the end of 2000 left into the states. Landed in Kansas City where my brother Shawn lives, (inaudible) doing computers, or like playing around drawing animations, got hired. First apprentice job was with a company called Mondo Media in San Francisco, but it was just freelance work and I was doing storyboards and then they fired me but they never told me so it was expecting more just for a couple weeks like, what’s going on? And by chance I got someone there who told me, “Oh, they didn’t tell you? You’re off the job, they replaced you.” It was like oh my God, but then after that I got this job at Portland at Flying Rhinoceros where I started in January 2001 I suppose. Then that only lasted for a few months because the company went under because of the economy. Left for Hawaii, lived in Hawaii for about a year, maybe even more than a year, was working with a company called Trail where I was doing like educational games for kids who could not speak English that lived in the islands and don’t speak English. That was a whole scenario in itself right there, that was fun. It was fun living there, the job itself had its ups and downs and just you know, you could wrote a whole book on how it was run over there, it’s funny. I came back, and when I came back I worked in Portland, that’s where I was in Bence and after Bence I moved to San Francisco where I am now. Oh my gosh for a year worked at Leapfrog for a little bit, actually for a while. That’s where I started sketching, I worked there for two years. Before I guess this toy company that also does video games, does local small handheld video games and when I moved here to San Francisco, I got a job over there. And then after that, I went freelance and started working for (inaudible), Nick JR, then Dreamworks, then Disney and (inaudible) and that’s where I am now.
Chris: And the moves, so Shawn you said was in Kansas City?
Pascal: Yes, Kansas City, Missouri. (inaudible)
Chris: I’m just curious as to how those actual dots connect and then how you ended up in Kansas City of all places?
Pascal: It’s funny, my brother when he was…my father was American, my mom was French, and my parents divorced when I was really young and us kids lived with my mom in France. My brother Shawn at the age of fourteen moved to the States and lived with my dad in Alaska. And in order to go to college, he enrolled in the US Army. I think he was stationed first in Arizona and then he got a job through the Army in Kansas City where he moved to and he actually fell in love with the place because the winters are colder when he was in Alaska, where he lived was like huge open space with literally…this city had 67 people actually lived in there and it felt like a movie because you know, coming from France and seeing cows and tractors. It was very much Midwest, very much country music and cowboys and things like that. I adored it, I just loved it. I fell in love with the place.
Chris: How long were you in Kansas City?
Pascal: I had visited a few times before, when I moved there I guess I was there through the summer…three or four months maybe?
Chris: So not very long? Yeah.
Pascal: Not very long, yeah. But I’ve been there before, I had been there again since then.
Chris: And then you got the gig in Portland based on, were you submitting portfolios? Was it an online website?
Pascal: That’s a really good question, actually. At the time, I was playing around with Flash and taught myself how to code in Flash and I made this little like website that I put up and then I started sending CDs to people. In Italy, I would get this answer like, “Oh, we liked your work so much we don’t have work, or you’re not fit for this or that.” And then one day I get this email from this guy called Barry Bruce telling me that he had seen my stuff online and I’m not sure how he had seen it. I guess someone must have forwarded him a link to my mini-site, I thought he liked it and he wanted me to come and work with them. And I didn’t know who he was, it turns out that he was one of the founders of Paul Vincent Studios in Portland.
Chris: Oh wow!
Pascal: Yeah, oh man, he was such an exquisite gentleman, like this older, tall handsome guy who like every morning would wake up at 4:30 and go work in his studio before going to work. He was a very, very patient, extremely patient man but really, really helping a lot, and everybody was just great in general. And that’s how I started working over there.
Chris: Wow, that’s awesome.
Pascal: Yeah, it was pretty fun.
Chris: So you were learning Flash, how much does that connect to the Iron Giant moment?
Pascal: Oh, not at all. Actually the Flash has nothing to do with the Iron Giant. What happens (inaudible) at the center of production that year when I was working on (inaudible), that was my first experience with computers. They had computers and they had not an efficient software there. I can’t remember what it was called. They weren’t doing animation, what they did is, they would draw the frames, it was basically an animated storyboard. They would do storyboards in color and they had like a script basically that would squiggle the lines around the characters and it felt like you look at the frame which would be on the screen for like ten seconds or something, and the lines around the characters would squiggle and move and that was squiggle-mation, squiggle animation. So none of us over there animated at all, but that was my first introduction to computer stuff and while I was leaving, it was the season or final score that I was working on was finished, I was getting ready to go back to France and at the time Flash 3.2, whatever it was came out and they had copies there at the studio and they were testing them around and that’s where I saw Flash. When I got to France, I didn’t try it at the time, I just saw it on someone’s computer and I saw somebody doing it and so I thought it was really cool. I got back to France and finished my studies and came back to the States and got Flash and that’s how I got into Flash, that’s the only reason was because I saw it there.
Chris: So it was just purely curiosity about this new technology?
Pascal: Complete curiosity, I didn’t know anything about it and I just took it out and I’m pretty lazy so I didn’t want to learn anything else after that which is the reason I still use Flash. I still use Flash MX from 2002 so it’s like twelve years behind.
Chris: It’s working. It’s getting the job done.
Pascal: For now it’s working and I’m not sure how much longer it’s going to work with the new computers. That’s also why I’m getting a little bit more into Photoshop also, I’m trying to explore different things.
Chris: But then there’s something you said about boards with the Portland transition there. So you were also drawing storyboards by this point?
Pascal: Yeah, storyboards I was doing…first I was doing it on paper which is great. I remember I was able to board a whole five minute cartoon in one day once which was amazing. It was so much fun, then I started doing animatics there and then after that the company folded and I went over to Honolulu. Everything over there was digital, it was all the Flash illustration and when I moved back to Portland after that, I started at Bent where I was primarily doing Flash animatics and storyboards and stuff like that.
Chris: That’s interesting that you’re inexplicable Flash obsession like opened up this opportunity for you to do boards which is an animation centric in a time-based kind of thing.