Careers in Animation Forum

MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FESTIVAL: MIAF & Holmesglen again put on a great Q&A session with a panel of four professionals from the animation industry.
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MIAF & Holmesglen again put on a great Q&A session with a panel of four professionals from the animation industry. Each had varying experiences along their career paths, and now focus on differing streams but ALL unanimously expressed their love, their passion, and unflagging enjoyment of their chosen professions.

On an individual level it was inspiring to learn about real life experiences, on an industry level it was evident that the Australian Animation industry needs more advocates to drive through the current environment of competitiveness for minimal amounts of work. Being able to excel in the industry – as these speakers have – takes passion, hard work and thinking out of the box.

One of my favourite quotes came from Jack Parry of Parry
Animation Studios
; he is an Animation Director specialising in Bio-medical visualisations and Short Film Production. Jack sincerely expressed he’s love for animation; “…for three reasons – feed my family, feed my soul, and to feed other animators”. He was adamant in teaching aspiring artists how important a passion for what you do is the essential driving force in making it through the long hours and competitive career path. Interestingly enough Jack Like Darren Bell had both transitioned into animation careers after previous incarnations in totally un-related industries! There is hope for us gen-x-ers who towed the party line of our baby boomer parents! Don’t be put off by the youth today, for a lot of being an animator is about collaboration, being a team player over long hard hours of work and these guys followed their hearts.

Darren Bell ventured into animation as a mature age student who previously honed he’s sculpting skills while working in call centres! Since those gasbagging boring cubicle days Darren made inroads into a new career by doing graveyard shifts as a compositor. This first step helped him make the network contacts to become lead sculptor on Mary & Max! I know – all those awesome models that brought to life Adam Elliott’s vision was Darren’s doing – with an exceptional team.

Darryl Munton brought to the table one of those illustrious LA resumes many dream of having. He’s worked on big popular movies such as; Star Wars, Contact, Avatar, King Kong, Charlotte’s Web, to name just a few. Darryl provided a practical approach to getting yourself out there; “don’t burn your bridges, it’s a small industry”, “don’t let a line of 3+ years experience hold you back. You look at new-comers in a different light, and if you have the talent and the passion you’ll get your chance”, “a great step-in is doing the long yards as a compositor to access the network.” In fact Darryl was like an animator’s oracle, and the audience madly jotted away notes as he spoke.

Huni Bolliger is a fantastic freelance independent animator who simply wanted to extend the depth of her art to see how it could move, and from there she has made a successful career showing at international festivals all around the world. Huni is a self taught animator who provided great insight into getting around the world and using innovative thinking to generate work. I’d say she is one of the true entrepreneur’s of the industry; her proactive approach will hopefully seed a change in the hope of young students. A great example she gave was realising that a $10 million indigenous anti-smoking campaign would benefit from animation, so she pitched, she got the job and a nice cut of that funding pool. Huni recommends applying for as much government funding as you can; entering into as many festivals as you can. Most festivals will pay for your food and accommodation, some will pay half or full ticket prizes, and if you do get in then also make sure you put in a submission to screen Australia for funding to travel, PLUS don’t forget it’s tax deductable!

Overall a great chat among the mentors and mentees in the room. Holmesglen proudly position themselves as being one of the few courses to provide support for animators across diverse styles, not just 3D. A practiced reinforced by the panel; particularly on how important it is to keep up your 2D, individual styles even if you do go down the 3D path.

Even if you missed the forum, don’t be afraid to ask the presenters if you see them, call up the TAFE and colleges, put yourselves out there and follow your passions day and day out!

Careers in Animation Forum presented by Holmesglen

June 19 – 27, 2010

Stephanie BySouth
About the Author
Stephanie BySouth is a reviewer for ArtsHub.