Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Distant Future Animation Studios

Recently, we had a talk from a small animation studio called 'Distant Future.' The team consisted of two 3D animators, One of which was an ex-student of the Leeds College of Art. The Studio is based in Bradford, where one of team members studied for a 3D computer graphics degree. He explained how his job was in IT, and he later decided he wanted to do 3D animation after watching Pixar's 'Monsters Inc.' The two founders were already friends, who bumped into each other at a networking event. They soon acquired a studio, which made clients take them more seriously. As a result however, they spent the first year in business trying to break even.

There were interesting points raised in regards to finding work as an animator. We were told how after acquiring a degree and even a BBC award, one of the team originally found it difficult even to get an interview. We were also given some insight into working with clients. Like Cyriak explain in a previous talk, 'Distant Future' also spoke of difficult customers, who expect great amounts of unspecified work for the original agreed cost. They also warned us about preparation and rushed projects due to fast approaching deadlines. One of their animations was projected onto a huge castle wall, and the team were unsure as to whether the sequence was a success. They explained that they should have hired a helping hand, to achieve some of the animations. Instead, they took on the project as just the two of them.

Some of the advice given that stuck with me was: To decide on the area that you enjoy working in the most and become a specialist. By doing this, people will know they can hire you to approach a specific task, which will help you find work. Another helpful tip was to ask for help. If you are having trouble getting around a problem, post a question on a forum as oppose to spending hours trying to work it out for yourself. There people on the net who will likely know the answer, which will save you time. A final point I took from the talk was the importance of organization. The team spoke of how at one point they had files scattered across several different servers which made finding bits of work painstaking. They spoke of online servers that allow you to store unlimited amounts of work incase you should loose the original files. By using one of the sites, all of their work is backed up and safe in one place.

Currently, 'Distant Future' have a showreel, which they say has helped improve business. The showreel even reveals that the studio have produced work for 'Toyota' and 'E4,' which I find impressive. It was really interesting to see two animation graduates who managed to start a sucessful business nearby. Even though it seems work for animators is hard to come by, 'Distant Future' managed to create their own studio and find work for themselves. With patience and dedication, I that feel generating work through finding clients is achievable. It may be hard to acquire a job in some of the larger more established animation studios, but there always the option to work freelance.

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