Tell us what you do…
"Well I'm an animator, so my job is to attempt to bring characters to life to help tell a story. I've worked at a couple of studios now and they're all a little different, but they all have the same goal; to tell stories."
Do you find it difficult to keep your creative integrity when working on briefs for other people?
"In animation you're usually going to have a certain amount of ownership over the creative direction of a shot regardless of what it is. Some shots are really just there for continuity or clarity, but they're all there to help tell the story and as long as you understand that then you'll be able to find the creativity and purpose in all the work you do."
Can you tell us about one experience you’ve had while working in the industry that had the biggest impact on you?
"After my first year or so in the industry I was offered work at a studio in Auckland and was asked what my hourly rate was. I had never been asked that before so I had no real idea what I was worth. I gave a wage that I thought was reasonable for someone new and after my first week I was taken a side and offered a pay rise. It might be a small thing, but that was the first time a really felt valued for my artistic skill."
What are some of the most important lessons you learned during your time at Media Design School?
"I think an important thing to learn in an industry like this is how to take on feedback to make your work better. When I was at MDS, the tutors were the single greatest resource for critical feedback which is integral to success in animation. The other thing MDS did really well was to put us in a work like environment while making our third year film under James Cunningham (previous lecturer). Working on 'Accidents, Blunders and Calamities' was probably the most important step in readying me for the animation industry."
What tips would you give others looking to get into your field?
"Put yourself into your work 100%, this isn't a high school subject, this is what you want to do for your career. Learn to take criticism and use it to make your work better. Absorb everything you can about whatever it is your interested in, it doesn't matter how much you've learnt, there's always more. For animation in particular the single greatest resource is 'Richard Williams Survival Kit' and his lectures covering each chapter, but don't stop there; practice and practice and never stop learning your craft."
How has Media Design School helped to pave the path that you are currently walking on?
"The tutors were the most important thing in my experience at MDS. There are a lot of schools out there and they all have the software and computers, but that's all meaningless without experienced tutors that care about their craft and are willing to help you improve. I can't stress how important it is to get feedback, take it on board, and use it to improve your work!"