How did you get into Animation?
My first film was ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ back in 1987. It was the case then and still is the case today that the best way to break into the film industry is to find a production that needs a lot of people in a hurry. That way they’re a lot less picky about portfolios and experience! That’s how I got my first role.
What’s the best thing about working in Animation?
When I was drawing I would say the best thing was being paid to draw for a living. Now it’s digital! But I would say it’s working in the Creative Industries and on projects that reach big audiences, that potentially millions of people will see and admire. It’s great to work on things that can have such a wide impact.
What can an applicant do to stand out?
Animation is a mixture of technical skills and creative skills. We are always looking for candidates who have a creative eye - who might have a portfolio of drawings, paintings or other kinds of visual art, but are also comfortable with computers. It’s a good idea to try out software like Photoshop or some animation software like Blender (you can download a free copy) and try it out with the help of free online tutorials. We love it when applicants have tried out some animation. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy - everyone has a phone nowadays. It can be as simple as purchasing a low-cost tripod and making a short film with lego bricks.
The important thing is to assemble a portfolio and not to worry too much about what’s in it. Put in everything you’ve got. The people interviewing you will know what they're looking for. Throw in any drawings, paintings, photography, and don’t be too selective. They’ll go through the portfolio and find the work that shows an aptitude for the Creative Industries for you to talk us through.
What’s your favourite thing to see in a portfolio?
I love to see people who have tried some animation. Even if it’s really basic. We’re not looking for perfection, or even a high quality necessarily. We’re looking for someone who’s tried it and has the guts to show it even if it’s not that good. The only way you’re going to get better at animation is by trying it and ‘failing upwards’.
For more animation tips and tricks, check out Alex’s blog.