Interview by Jukka Issakainen - April 2005
Hello, my name is Jukka Issakainen and I found out that you did some work with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra: Princess of Power-series from Filmation Studios. Could I ask you some questions?
Hi Jukka, I will try and answer your questions to the best of my ability.
What were you doing before you got into Filmation?
Before filmation I worked as a draftman and did some other odd jobs.
Why did you work on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra Princess of Power?
At the time that Filmation hired me they were doing He-Man then they went into production for She-Ra. The reason I worked on these shows was because that was what they were in production with at the time.
What was your job?
My job title was Model Artist. I designed the look of all the Vehicles and props. Then it was my job to do what in the industry is called turns. Simpler explanation for that is that I would draw what the Vehicle or prop was going to look from every angle so that the in-betweeners could animate it. They created a model sheet from my design so that whenever that particular design was used it stayed consistent though out the production and any future productions.
What was it like working for Filmation?
Filmation was my first studio job. It was a unique feeling of comradery and I felt as if I had come home. Filmation was unique studio in the sence that they took care of their artists and tried to keep them continuoisly working and for the most part did. It was the last American studio that was doing inhouse animation and not sending it over seas.
I will say this about Filmation - I was a great place to be and kind of a Camelot at the time it was in existence. It was a sad day when the studio closed it´s doors.
Do you have any items still left from your days of Filmation?
Yes I have a She-Ra script and model sheet from the Huntara episodes in which Erika Scheimer did the voice of Huntara. I have some of the model sheets. I also have the Car that I designed for Ghostbusters for Filmation and some of the model sheets for that. I have a poster that was only given to the employees and some other things. I don't know everything I have because that was many years ago.
Any thoughts on She-Ra?
It was a fun job and challenging because a lot of the bad guys would change shape. Other than that not really.
In comparison, how was it working for He-Man and then for She-Ra?
He-Man was my first gig so of course it was exciting and a huge learning process. I really worked on the last six episodes of He-Man so it was a training period for me. By the time we hit She-Ra I was pretty much in the swing of things.
Any particular memories from your He-Man -episodes?
The first episode I worked on was MU109 "Orko´s New Friend". Then the last remaining episodes from there. That was according to our production schedule. They didn't always work the episodes in sequence. There were two model department teams and we did some of them. I worked under Diane Keener the other department was ran by Herb Hazelton. I am sorry it was a long time ago and I don't remember the episodes I worked on except for "Orko´s New Friend" because that was the first show.
Diane A. Keener was the Key Assistant Animation Supervisor. What was it like working under her control?
Diane reconized my potential as a designer and help to cultivate my talent. Because of Diane I made Journeyman in a 1 1/2 wich was very unusual in this industry.
Are there any fond memories from "Orko´s New Friend"? Did you work on the Slave Masters' spaceship?
The whole show was a fond memory because it was my first animation gig. That made it exciting and fun. I was getting paid to do something I love. As far as the Slave Masters ship I can't recall. It's been to many years since I worked on it.
(Note by He-Man.org: Harry Sabin designed the Slave Master's ship, but Rick Quiroz designed the Intergalactic Police Ship from the same episode)
What She-Ra -episodes did you work with?
That is hard question to answer. That was so many years ago. I was there for the whole three year run for She-Ra so I did any shows that Hazelton's team didn't.
Who required more props and Vehicles, the Rebels or the Horde?
They both required a lot of props and vehicles. However, the Horde had more stylized stuff to deal with. The most memorable and challenging piece was the Monstron Vehicle. That created a lot of headaches to get it just right so that it could be animated.
How much freedom were you given in creating a prop or a vehicle, or were you given already-existing props and/or Vehicles? (Land Shark and Roton come to mind as being cool vehicles used by Skeletor in second season)
The Land Shark and Roton were already established toys by Mattel so they were designed directly off the toys themselves. As far as the design on other props and vehicles I designed them. I would come up with something and if the director liked it we would go with it. They usually liked the design.
Where did you draw ideas from for the vehicles and props that you designed?
Some of it was done by research and others was inspired by imagination. Then some was pretty straight forward - I would just add my own twist.
Was it difficult getting vehicle/prop-ideas approved?
I never had trouble.
Did you see the new He-Man show that came just recently? Any thoughts on that?
Yeah - I knew the producer. The show had a short run because Mattel pulled out. I liked the look of the show and was well done.
Who was your favourite character?
I would have to say Teela.
And what are you working on at the moment? Where can people find out more about you and your work?
I am currently no longer in the Animation Industry. After 17 years of service it became very difficult for anyone to find work. Now everything has gone computers and there is very little call for 2 d artists. I have my own website and art gallery where I sell commission work and have been creating my own world. You can find me at www.ric-illustrations.com.
Thanks for bringing back fond memories.
Thank you for your time, Ric.