Regular Fudge blog readers (Fudgers?... maybe not, come back to us) will have definitely picked up from past posts that we love working in animation. We thought that we’d whip around the studio and gather up some of these reasons and hopefully make them sound more concrete than: “it’s great!” After all, we aim to inspire! Let’s get cracking:
It turns you into a researcher
If you’ve done any amount freelance animation work you will know this fact very well - you get the chance to research a multitude of topics. Let’s say you need to animate a tiger: you will need to research their behaviour, anatomy, body language, and what it is about a tiger that makes them distinct and how can I capture it?! Because of this, each project feels very distinct from one another. We love the variation that this line of work can present to you - we never get bored and it’s fun becoming a bit of a boffin about this topic or the next. Although we’re not so great at parties when we corner people and force them to listen to our endless facts about tigers...
There is a VAST amount to learn
This relates to the previous point of course, but it’s not just the research element of taking on new challenges that we enjoy. From both a technical and an artistic standpoint, you are always learning and getting better and better. This is a massive source of satisfaction for us and it means that every day is like a school day. We’ve encouraged you guys to keep working on your portfolio and diversifying it when you can in our past posts, this doesn’t stop when you get a steadier job! Animation lets you build on your own abilities in a very tangible way.
You can be a big kid!
A good animator must have a child-like sense of fun. We don’t just mean finding fart jokes funny, but just being able to relax and see the fun in a potentially dry topic can be great for a change of pace with a project in danger of plateauing. Also, not only does this help when animating something comedic, but during all nighters and towards a deadline when things can get pretty stressful. You need to be able to 'find the fun' in that situation, otherwise you won't last long in the industry!
Dave had a great “When doing my masters at Bournemouth, I and my fellow animators would create little games to break up the long nights: sleeping bag races around the classroom was a particular favourite.”
We’ll recreate this in the office one day… Just don’t grow up too much folks!
Nothing beats bringing a character to life
We spoke earlier about the personal and professional development possible in the animation industry, now let’s zoom in a bit. Here at Fudge, we aren’t a gigantic team and this is great for a few reasons, chief among them being that you get to be fully involved and appreciate each major project from start to finish. That is - seeing initial ideas, goals and concepts right through to the final cut. When you experience your early scribbles from storyboarding or the character creation phase progress from a still image into a moving, breathing, thinking character there is a real buzz to it. You get to really nurture your creations as their character traits and motifs take shape before your eyes over the span of weeks and we get real satisfaction in that trajectory!
You get to tell stories
For creatives (that’s probably most of you) this is pretty much a dream come true! Sure, we’re not exactly making our own personal feature-length masterworks, but being able to creatively interpret and develop a story that fits or exceeds a brief is very rewarding. You sometimes get to put your flair on a project and tell it in your own way. When a client likes it the way you tell it, well that’s just hunky dory for everyone! I’m sure the lion’s share of budding animators share this desire for visual storytelling, well so did our very own Daniel Weaver - Fudge’s creative director. Here’s what he had to say on this when we interviewed him earlier in the year:
“I suppose it started with a love of storytelling. Ever since I was young, I used to play at being a director, so I would start creating these little plays with my friends and directing them. I would produce comic strips and create stories all the time, so as I’ve grown up, I’ve always wanted to tell stories. I suppose I also have skills from a directive, artistic and technical point of view which all marry quite well into doing animation. Also I’ve always liked being an 'entrepreneur' - wanting to build something from the ground up, something big, and to create the films that are in my head.”
Constant engagement of your imagination
We’re with you, Dan - creating the films in our heads is a rush. In the words of Shia LaBeouf, “don’t let your dreams be dreams.” Not really sure if that entirely fits here but I’ll take any chance I can get to make Shia LaBeouf appropriate… My point is that animation affords that rare opportunity to actually make good on your creative ideas sometimes. Additionally, due to hardware and software developments in animation, we have reached a point where you are limited only by your imagination, really. Just being able to be able to materialise your concept in this medium is immensely satisfying when you pull it off. Even if you flop, you’re grateful that animation even gives you the opportunity to explore your ideas so fully.
As we’ve explained in the past, the animator’s life isn’t all fun and games ALL the time. You really have to have the motivation to start something new, the discipline to keep at it and a bit of talent thrown in the mix definitely helps too.