Wednesday, 7 October 2015

BFI Explains - How to Become an Animator

BFI is the UK government body which promotes film in the UK, often financed by grants from the National Lottery.  They also run the BFI Film Academy, which seeks to help young people break into the film industry.

In this five minute video titled "How Do You Become an Animator?", leading animators in the UK talk about 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 are the secrets of their success?

Peter Lord and Morph. Wikimedia Commons
Different interviewees inevitably have different points of view, but there are many common themes. 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 Animation Apprentice we love all the old media - but we want our students to get to grips with the new technology that is driving the business forward.

Why? Because that is where the opportunities are, where the industry is growing.

To see the full five minute video, follow this link.


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

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