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Unpaid Intern, TNA Wrestling, Hard Knocks, and Freelancing Tips, Pt. 1

By John 'JP' Podlasek

Summary: -Hear how he learned about the game industry as a career. -How studying computer animation at Columbia College lead to his internship at Red Eye Studio. -Learn the type of work he did as an unpaid intern at Midway Games. -Find out about Animation Mentor and his hard decision to follow his passion by moving out to LA. -How we has mentored in Midway LA by industry legends Sal Divita and Mark Turmell. -His first freelancing animation job working on a TV pilot funded by a granite countertop company. -How sending his updated reel to his old boss turned into a 5-year experience working at Disney Interactive. -What’s important to do for keeping your skills up-to-date. -Discover helpful advice when you are starting out in the gaming industry. -Why a good reputation and working hard leads to other doors opening. -Share hard-learned advice about advancing his skills and career. -Part 2 of Mike turning the tables to grill me with questions, coming soon! Quotes: -“I went to a job fair that had the Illinois Institute of Art or something was there make shows some computer graphics, 3d stuff and animation." -”It was a 3 month unpaid internship I was happy to do to get my foot in the door.” -"Maybe I thought I was gonna become a Pixar animator, Disney animator." -"That is actually where I met Jon Krusell because he was the head of Red Eye." -”We were reverse engineering to make it useable was quite a task.” -”I signed up for Animation Mentor.” -”I had that 20-22 year old optimism that nothing can go wrong, it’ll be fine.” -”Packed everything I owned into a 1997 Toyota Celica hatchback.” -”What is my son doing...why are we driving to California to be an intern-crap?” -”We stopped at the Grand Canyon holding the turtle.” -”We worked on TNA Wrestling.” -”I stayed for a while and got kinda homesick eventually.” -”I was paying a lot of money for Animation Mentor.” -"Starting on a TV show pilot that a local person here wanted to make his own tv show that was an animated version of Sopranos basically called The Baritonios.” -”It was one of the strangest experiences of my life.” -”It was great until they launched the missiles and nuked us one day...but that happens.” -”When I was trying to evaluate how good I was, I would kind of look at other people’s work.” -”I would probably would have told myself, there’s always gonna be someone who’s better than you.” -”See how other people are doing and, specially people who are already working and see if your work is on the same level as them.” -”Be open to doing lots of different things. Doing a podcast for example.” -”Your reputation is super important, and it’s not based on what you say but what you do.” -”Have a good attitude whatever the job is.” -”I did 3 internships just to get my first job.” -”Say Yes, then figure it out later.” -”Everything I’m telling you I’ve learned from mistakes in the past so hopefully someone else can take this advice to help them.” About My Guest: Mike Antonicelli began his career in 2005 as a volunteer intern for Red Eye Studio. He graduated Columbia College the following year with a BA in computer animation. Soon after he entered the legendary Midway Games in Chicago as an art production intern. From there, he transferred to Midway LA to become a full-time animator. In 2008, Michael completed Animation Mentor -- a 2 year training program by Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks animators. In 2009, he incorporated as Superfantastik CG Inc. Over the past 9 years, Superfantastik’s notable clients have grown to include Disney, Marvel, Steelseries, Next/Now, PulseLearning, Ragtag, and Trinket Studios. Resources: -Superfantastik website to book his services -Superfantastik Twitter -Jon Krusell on LinkedIn -Sal Divita Twitter -Mark Turmell on Giant Bomb -Level Ex website -Animation Mentor -Illinois Institute of Art -Columbia College Chicago -Red Eye Studio -Wideload Games -Midway Games -Just in case, a link to the Grand Canyon :) -TNA Wrestling (video game) -Richard Branson -Mortal Kombat's Nightwolf -NBA Jam -Game Dev Advice Hotline: 224-484-7733 -Game Dev Advice Email -Game Dev Advice Website *Don't forget to subscribe and go to for other shows and info!

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