Tuesday, 6 October 2015

How Do You Become an Animator? BFI Explains

BFI has a remit to promote film in the UK, and the BFI Film Academy have put together a short five minute video titled "How Do You Become an Animator?", which includes interviews with leading animators in the UK on how they got started, and how they made it in the business.

Interviewees include Aardman's Peter Lord, who created "Morph", and indie animator Joanna Quinn, whose unique animation style has won her dozens of awards.  So what can our students learn from their success?

Peter Lord and Morph. Wikimedia Commons
Different interviewees inevitably have different points of view, but many of them describe the inherent loneliness of a craft which involves a lot of solitary time spent hard at work on your own projects.  But don't let that put you off animation! Here are some of the themes from the video:
  • Get out there and promote yourself. Get connected (Peter Lord). Blog yourself, host screenings of your work - let people know you're around. (Elizabeth Boswell)
  • "Work for free in the beginning" (Phoebe Boswell). Do internships for free - it can lead to a job (Joanna Quinn)
  • Enter competitions, especially the British Animation Awards (Pheoebe Boswell)
  • Enter competitions like Encounters in Bristol. (Peter Lord)
  • Study somewhere great - and get a degree. You will be surrounded by "passionate people who love animation".  There are "many choices" in the UK. 
  • "Make a short film" (Joanna Quinn).
  • "Get a pencil and paper and practice drawing".
All of which is good advice. I think I would add to this list - embrace technology.  Most of the animators interviewed by BFI are well established individuals who are working in relatively old-fashioned media: pencil and paper, paint, and plasticene.

Here at Escape Studios we love all the old media (and we teach it) - but we want our students to get to grips with the new technology that is driving the business. Why? Because that is where the opportunities are, where the industry is growing.

To see the full five minute video, follow this link.  http://www.bfi.org.uk/education-research/5-19-film-education-scheme-2013-2017/how-do-i-become-an-animator


PS Finally, if you've never seen it, watch some of Joanna Quinn's unique work below:

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