I was born in the 50s, and grew up in Oklahoma, in the days when reading comic books was truly geeky and socially alienating. But I lucked into the first big wave of comic fandom, so I had friends anyway, many of whom I am still in contact with 40 years later. I liked to draw as a kid and wanted to be a cartoonist, but my dad, in a nice way, convinced me that it was a silly profession and that I’d never be able to make a living. End of art education. In high school I got into drama (talk about a silly profession!) then went to the University of Oklahoma, enrolling in their film department. That’s what they called it anyway. Though the school now boasts a state of the art film and television production facility, back in the day we had hand me down salvage equipment from World War 2. It was a great way to learn, though, because you had to be pretty creative to even get the cameras to work right.
After a year off doing an education project, I was asked to write a bible and do development art for a property Universal had purchased, Ranger Ralph. Shame it was never made, it’s still one of my favorite projects I’ve ever worked on. But it led to my directing Wing Commander Academy, based on the best selling game. Universal was the best working experience I ever had, due to all the great people, but especially to Ralph Sanchez and Suzi Peterson.
Wing Commander Academy led, somehow, to An American Tail 3: Treasure of Manhattan Island and An American Tail 4: Mystery of the Night Monster. Enjoyed the heck out of these two, though the script for the second one never quite jelled.