How did you get started in the animation industry and what has your journey been like to get to the work you’re doing now?
Part of my final year uni module was a two week work placement. My head of year organized my placement with the British Animation Awards who were based in Soho at the time. Little did I know they were renting space at a production house and so when I arrived for my work placement I went to the wrong office. The office manager wasn't expecting me (of course) and I was unable to tell her who I was there to see as I had forgotten who I had spoken with on the phone. After being chastised for not knowing what to do with me the office manager put me to running duties immediately! Meanwhile, the BAA upstairs were wondering where I was.
At the end of my placement, I was offered a full time position as a production assistant and that turned out to be my foot in the door. I spent two and a half years running errands, learning about all the different roles, a bit of compositing, and the practicalities outside of the university bubble before enrolling at the NFTS for my MA. I've mostly worked in compositing but have more recently moved into directing, illustration, and design work too with NERD productions London.
I feel it's taken a while for directing opportunities to open up to me. This is partly due to my own confidence which has grown over time with experience and not being given those crucial first opportunities. Such opportunities have come about through hard work, extended contacts, and relationships gathered from years of experience in the industry and being in the right place at the right time. I might add the first professional pitch I participated in I won, all you need is that one chance!
What influences you and how does that feed into your work?
Good storytelling, I'm passionate about narrative! Narrative is all about people sharing the human experience and trying to make sense of the world around them. I was delighted by the response my film ERNESTO received. Adults and children alike empathised with the protagonist and even contacted me to share their children's and their own experiences that resonated with Ernestos. There should always be a bit of you in whatever you make, that's what makes it human and relatable.
What’s one of the more frustrating things you’ve been asked by a client?
"Can we just make it more...badass?"
Can you tell us something unexpected that you’ve learned? This may be something that you’ve experienced in the production of an animation or within studio life.
Before I graduated from my BA I specifically remember being told the industry likes "specialists," not "jack of all trades." So, it was a little bit of a surprise when I found this wasn't the case. It's great to have lots of strings to your bow, without spreading yourself too thinly of course!
What’s the best bit of advice you’ve been given?
Keep at it! also read, read, read...