Saturday, 28 July 2012

Why Animation?

HARK! Another blog post is upon the internet.

Wow, it's been a long time...apologies to anybody who actually visits and reads this blog. I've been really busy with both personal and professional work, mostly professional recently but it's all fun and the game is looking completely awesome and packed full of amazingly entertaining and funny cutscenes.

Anyway, on to the topic. I have an awesome animator friend who sends me gigantic emails and he recently asked:

"I was wondering about how you came to be an animator? Was it something you always dreamt of doing or did you 'discover' it later in life?"

Awesome question, and one that I have a very specific answer for. The answer is, from the age of three - yes, I've wanted to be an animator. Obviously, being that young I didn't know what animators were but I wanted to be a part of what I was watching on TV. What first got me hooked was an advert for golden syrup created by Aardman. Here it is in all it's glory:

Don't ask me why, but I was OBSESSED with that advert. I loved it more than anything, and whenever it came on it made me hugely happy and excited. Ever since that advert I was addicted to stop motion and Aardmans projects in particular. I grew up with Wallace and Gromit, Creature Comforts, Rex the Runt and Chicken Run. I especially loved anything that Richard Goleszowski was involved with (Rex the Runt, Ident).

As you can tell, this was all stop motion. In my early teens my father bought me an awesome Sony camcorder that I used to film some stop motion tests. I used to make my own models with the same plasticine that Aardman used, complete with armatures too. Sadly, at that age I wasn't very good at teaching myself...even though I had folders and folders full of printed off information that I found on the old stop motion forums as well as owning the old version of Aardmans "Cracking Animation" book. I decided to give that a break until I could go off and learn it properly in higher education.

Years were spent floating around with different ideas of what I wanted to do for a living. Animation was always at the top of the list but there were times when I wanted to be a comic artist, guitarist, editor (live action) and whilst going through my angsty/"goth" phase I rather fancied the idea of studying 19th century literature. But, and here's the bit that interests me - when I was much younger I wanted to be a magician, puppeteer and a ventriloquist. It seems that I'm driven by the desire to trick people into believing that something I create is real. And to perform, but to perform through extensions of myself...not to actually put myself on the stage, but to have people focus on things that I create and to be amazed or to believe that they exist.

There was a point when I had to make a decision about what I wanted to do. I loved animation but couldn't do it and needed to learn. I was young and heavily influenced by all of the scare stories going around about 3D killing off 2D and stop motion. I went with what seemed like logically the best decision, a computer animation course. I must stress, that when Toy Story was released, I loved it. So so much! My Dad took me to see it at the cinema 3 times and once it was released on VHS I watched it every morning before school (I knew every line). I had a love for 3D animation too, I didn't simply jump onto a band wagon. Stop motion was my first animation love but CG stepped in and offered me the same joy from moving things around frame by frame.

Animation was always something I wanted to do, but I explored many other creative areas along the way. There are more parts to my story but that's all the important stuff. I didn't ever believe that I could actually do it until I enrolled with iAnimate - they really set me on my way (no, I haven't been paid to say that).

Perhaps the shorter answer to this question would have been "Yes, thanks to syrup."

Recommended viewing:

(This film was released after a successful TV series made in Wales, awesome at the time and still pretty fun)

As if this needs any introduction: