BA (Hons) Animation, Visual Effects and Game Art
I graduated in 2014 obtaining a First Class degree in Animation, Visual Effects and Game Art within the North Wales School of Art and Design.
With two years experience in Set, Puppet, Props making and design. It became obvious that Stop-Motion was the path I wanted to pursue... I felt ready to contact Glyndwr University as they were offering a Creative Media Degree with specialization in Animation: Stop-Motion.
My third year project started with a true story that I wanted to share. To thank Wales for welcoming me for my studies, I wanted the story to be based in Wales told in English and in Welsh. The creation of a short Stop-Motion film emerged: ‘Grandma’ inspired from my childhood. Previously as a storyteller, I told that same true story of my Grandma and me during a 45 minutes tale. From the warm audience feed-back, I thought it would be a good idea to shrink it to 5 minutes for stop-motion.
‘Grandma’ a story of love and compassion, has since been awarded
- In February 2015 at the Ffresh Student Film Festival of Wales in Cardiff for the Welsh Category.
- In May 2015 at the Walthamstow International Film Festival in the BFI London for the Animation Category.
- In May 2016 at the Carmarthen Bay International Film Festival in Llanelli for the Welsh Language Short Film Category: John Hefin.
- In February 2017 at the Pics Youth Film Festival in Caernarfon for 1st Prize, Open Category above 25.
When I graduated, the dream of many years came true. I am truly grateful to Glyndwr University, to the Lead Lecturer: Marisse Mari and all the lecturers for welcoming and encouraging me to pursue my project. I am also grateful to the six team members of the Caretakers who upon their discretion allowed me access into the Shooting Studio. Stop-motion unlike CGI animation, cannot be done at home on computer, so I had to be on site. They are all making a well-deserved appearance on the credit of the film!
After graduating, I worked as an Animator-Director freelancer. One of my creations in 2015 was a short Stop-Motion Documentary ‘Pobol’ commissioned by the Bangor Pontio Theatre for their opening. The story is about people. Local people relating their fond memories of Bangor. Enthusiastic to carry on experimenting on new ways of making models, I suggested making the interviewees as ‘3D Puppets’ made of various materials (Felt, Crochet and Fabric) to symbolise the diversity of people.
The pre-production lasted 6 weeks, production 3 weeks, post-production 2 weeks. Not bad for a Stop-Motion of nearly 8 minutes. The challenges of the project? Synchronicity of the 2D and 3D actions all without using Green Screen and… Lip synchronization!
In 2016, taking inspiration from my University placement at Afasic, I organized Stop-Motion workshops leading to the creation of a short animated film with autistic youths, guiding them through the process of model making, story writing and animating.
I am now still working as a stop motion free-lancer animator, director, and Tutor. This year I am tutoring workshops as a visual art practitioner in schools for the Art Council of Wales.
When I started freelancing I contacted the career zone who provided a quick legal support regarding IP and Copyrights with a legal adviser. The IP and copyrights can be a minefield. It is vital to be informed as much on your own rights to be protected that on those of others to avoid infringing them by mistake. In the film industry, we have to think about music, sound effects, script, performance, and recording rights.
The best part about being self-employed is freedom of organising your time and your creativity. All depends on you to guide and convince your customers to choose the best option and style for them, offering the best quality price of service and delivering in time.
Advice I would give to any future students considering self-employment is that, your service or product has to be wanted! After that… good equipment, good organisation, and a full knowledge of the IP and copyrights legislation.
My future plans include offering my services to assist as a Stop-Motion Model-maker and Animator to the Animation and Film Production Industry. As a free-lancer I am offering commercials, music-videos, short films made in the Stop-Motion technique.