A few weeks back I was approached by Alec of Ulster University animation department about mentoring some students. Little did they know what they were in for.
I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I don’t have an office. We all work from home and occasionally get together if geography allows it, but mostly communicate through Skype and Dropbox. Sometimes I even hire people off of Deviant Art for concept art with no idea what gender they are. No joke.
So, mostly I hire people that are used to managing themselves, working autonomously, but I’ve always had to decline when someone asks to be a trainee student or work experience I just don’t think it would be a valid introduction to the industry if they had to come and work out of my kitchen 5 days a week. Or maybe it would.
Anyway, this is a bit different. This is a troupe of four students meant to act as a workfor-hire studio. I’m meant to be the client with the idea, working with these guys in their “office” (the university lab) to tease out my idea until they’ve done something that pleases me. Cackle cackle.
Now, Alec suggested I could give them any level of project, tailor each others’ expectations for deliverables, etc. I’ve heard of other animation studios just looking to get a job/pitch/pilot done, handing them a ready made script and storyboard.
NOT ME! I showed up with an offthewall textonly pitch from somewhere in the middle of my idea pile from years gone by, one that takes all laws of physics, light, gravity, culture and biology and chucks them out the window, then provides a very loose set of rules, vague characterisation, and some thoughts on how the visuals would work. Then I crumpled it up into a ball, threw it into the room and ran away. THERE YA GO KIDS!
It’s admittedly a very very weird idea (even for me), and probably the most serious scifi I’ve ever attempted. It’s the sort of thing that I’ve always know could only work with strong visuals, but I’ve never had the means or time to attempt them. I’m a 2D man, and this requires 3D, high poly, dramatic lighting, and then a whole new course of cultural and biological evolution on top to match it. Nice.
If you students thought you were going to do some fluff piece about a cartoon monkey chasing a banana, you’re sorely mistaken. Best of luck with this pile of weirdness!