I vividly remember the moment I realised I wanted to be an animator. I was 14 years old and sitting in a movie theatre with a small group of friends, watching Disney’s The Lion King.
Before the film began, I wriggled around trying to get comfortable on the old, lumpy seats typical of a country movie theater. I was not in any way prepared for what I was about to experience, or how it would change me.
From the first, perfect, four-minute-long opening scene I was completely hypnotised. A burning sun rose over the African desert, bathing my face in golden light. Chanting Zulu voices and drums vibrated in my chest as they mingled with the melodies in Elton John’s “Circle of Life,” perfectly matching the imagery on screen. I marvelled at the cinematography during the montage of African animals calmly marching toward their destination, revealed to be Pride Rock as the camera sweeps across a grassy plain. When Simba is thrust into the air presented to all gathered below, and the music explodes in a crescendo, Walt Disney himself may as well have walked up and punched me in the chest. It completely took my breath away. I’d never experienced anything as visually beautiful or emotionally charged in my young life.
When the credits had rolled and we left the theatre excitedly talking about what we had just experienced, I remember thinking, “I want to make someone feel like this.” It was crystal clear. Yes, the animation had blown me away, the music was amazing and the story was flawless, but all I focused on was how I was feeling, and how my friends were feeling. I was amazed that a movie, an animated movie, could have that kind of impact on us. These characters were more than just 2D drawings moving across a screen, they seemed to be truly alive and we had connected with them. They made us laugh, cry and cheer. To me, it was magic.
Throughout high school I held onto my dream of becoming an animator. After being rejected from what felt like every film school in Victoria, I reluctantly accepted an offer to study for a BA in Multimedia. I felt like my life was over. I didn’t even know what “multimedia" was. As it turned out it was the best thing that could have happened to me. In this course I discovered 2D digital animation and was sent spinning giddily down the road of Indie Animator. Somehow, this is what I had dreamed of without even knowing it was possible. With new technology available to me I was able to bring my stories to life. I came to understand the power and control an independent animator has over telling their story. I was writing scripts, designing and rigging characters, recording sound, controlling the camera. I was doing it all, and I was in heaven.
Now working towards my Masters of Creative Industries at SAE, I’m honing my skills as a 2D animator and storyteller. Inspired by the complex storylines and beautiful art direction in such series’ as Pendleton Ward’s Adventure Time and Patrick McHale’s Over the Garden Wall, my dream is to create my own series exploring themes around education and environment. I love how Adventure Time and Over the Garden Wall tackles real-life issues in such a humorous but sensitive way. The constant juxtaposition of happiness and tragedy fascinates and inspires me.
Animation is a powerful medium, with the unique ability to tap into people’s imaginations young and old. It’s accessible nature makes it possible to deliver content in a delicate, complex way that resonates with a broad audience of all ages, backgrounds, and life experiences.
My goal is to make content that brings people together. To make content that helps people find common meaning, and build deeper connections with each other.