I’d always dreamt of being an animator. When I was really young I went to DisneyWorld in Florida. I was really lucky to go a few times in my childhood and watch the animators creating the films. I remember seeing a little bear running around when they were making Brother Bear. The careful drawings that capture the emotions and excitement of the well thought out characters on their journeys through exciting plots.
I was not only fascinated by the idea of being an animator, I was also very good at drawing. I spent hours and hours creating replicas of all the Disney characters and other cartoons. Mickey, Simba the Rugrats were my favourite to draw. But it’s one thing to know that it’s someone’s actual job to work for Disney and create these amazing films and another to be the person doing it. So I think I thought it was a dream too far away.
Then one day after I finished university, I was at a point in time I was figuring out what to do with my future. I could have chosen to do anything. I met a guy and a girl who were both into animation and I instantly thought, I want to do that! I’ve always wanted to be an animator. So being slightly impulsive and quick to jump in with both feet, I borrowed a book called something like “How to be an animator”. I called up one of my friends who studied filmmaking at University and asked for his help.
At the beginning of the huge book, there was a tutorial to teach the basics of animation. The assignment was to get a 1p coin and take lots of photographs of it just millimetres apart. When they were played together in a sequence, it would look like the penny was bouncing. So we did it – we created my first animation. We had a desk lamp to light up our area and captured a couple of hundred pictures. We made a penny move! An amazing 3-second video that actually did look like a bouncing penny.
After about 6 hours that included sourcing the equipment, making clever plans, taking the shots and editing the footage I thought very differently about animation. ‘It took us six hours to make this?’ I thanked my friend for his kind help and sat on my bed to think about it a bit more.
After watching the video over and over again in the home of seeing something fabulous I knew the answer I what I was looking for. I did love animated films, I loved the creative part of possibly coming up with plots and ideas, I’d like to have a job that allowed me to draw things really well and I love the emotional high that Disney films give people. But was that enough to persuade me to be an animator? Did I have the patience for hours and hours and hours of behind the scenes work to create a film? We made a 3-second video in 6 hours of filming. Without doing the Math’s I scaled that up and thought it would be a lot of work to make a film. I was almost bored at the end of one day’s filming.
So no surprise to those around me, I had to let the dream fade of being an animator. I learnt a valuable lesson in thinking you know what something would be like to do vs. actually experiencing. I’d urge people that have ideas about something they’d like to do to find a cheap and quick way of trying it out. You may love it and see your life devotion before your eyes. Or you may not and that is okay as well. Either way, it is not time wasted. It will bring you one step closer to understanding yourself and what really interests you. You’ll know what you do or don’t want to dedicate yourself to learning about.
Try things and be ready to change your mind!
Here is the video of our bouncing penny, enjoy!
What have you always wanted to do?
What do you need to try?