Meet our Manchester-based Compositor Dan Collins! He's won this months internal art challenge in our Manchester studio for a film he shot while raising funds for Samaritans cycling across Eastern Europe! We managed to catch him for a few minutes to chat about his role and why he loves animation.
How did you get into animation?
Weirdly enough, when I was a younger, I never really liked animation or comics, I was more interested in films!
However, when I turned 14, I stumbled across a unique piece of animation - Spirited Away. I fell in love with it entirely. It was the first animation that felt very different for me.
More recently, I’ve been binge watching the entire series of Rick and Morty, which I'm totally in love with right now! I can’t get enough of the characters and their wacky space adventures!
How long have you worked in the animation industry?
Less than a year, and I am counting my lucky stars… I am indebted to Brown Bag Films for giving me the chance to work in animation.
What's your current role and what does it involve?
I am a Compositor, and I help with all the sparkles, shine and effects in Nella, the Princess Knight; fixing any continuity and technical problems.
Most importantly, entertaining the team with my quirky ways and my ingenious/insane philosophical talks and ideas from time to time.
What are your biggest influences/inspirations?
Hayao Miyazaki, as he introduced me to animation! Tennis player Roger Federer and musician Grimes, as they really influence the way that I think as an artist.
Most importantly, MY MUM! Who made me the person I am today, she is my rock! :D
What’s your favourite tool to use and why?
My ears, eyes, mind, and my mouth, because with rising living costs, they are all tools that come for free. They help me get around in the big, wild, crazy land of Brown Bag Films.
What advice would you give someone considering getting into animation?
Depends on your situation or the challenges you face. Personally, I struggled with university, so when I graduated, the first thing I had to do was figure out what skills I had, and work towards a job role from there.
Once I was in, I felt I could slowly express myself as an artist and person, and develop in what I want to do. So my best and maybe clichéd advice is whatever your heart enjoys the most, follow it, go for it, even if you don’t get there right away! YOU WILL!
Millions will fall at the first hurdle - then only ten thousand will fall at the second hurdle, and so on. Many will fall and then just give up. If you keep trying, you will be one of the few left, and your odds for succeeding will increase!
In summary, you need to be full of grit and persistence! That is how it worked out for me in the end! :D
You also must have tough skin too. Never be afraid to be yourself!
So yeah, that is all I will say before I go over my yearly talking allowance.
What do you like most about working in animation?
The creative process in making a show come alive with all the incredible effects. And engaging with like-minded, creative individuals; who in turn not only inspire, but challenge my perspective of animation and life. It is refreshing!
What’s been the most challenging thing about working in animation?
Working with my team-mates… :P Just kidding!
Maybe the retakes of an episode, or when a series of sequences is quite technical.
Looking out for continuity errors, rather than being creative, I guess.
But these are just minor things to be honest. I am happy to take those challenges like one of my five a day.
Outside of animation what are you most passionate about?
Filmmaking, story-writing, playing sports, board games like chess, especially!
Dancing to Grimes songs or any other catchy music for that matter, whatever the occasion! I am not good at staying still for any length of time!
I love cycling so much I took on a challenge recently, to help raise funds for Samaritans. I made a short film as part of my fundraising called Stigma, which deals with the themes of loneliness and heartbreak.
Are you interested in getting into animation? Keep an eye on our Behind-the-Scenes and Tutorials pages for more interviews and #TopTips!