What does it take to succeed in the world of animation? Award-winning director and RMIT animation alumnus Mikey Hill shares his tips.
The internationally-awarded short, The Orchestra, is Hill's greatest achievement to date.
The film, which imagines a world where a band of tiny musicians follow you and play a soundtrack for your life, has won a multitude of global and local prizes and is quickly making its way around the international festival circuit.
Last year it was awarded "Best World Short" at the Savannah Film Festival, won the Audience Vote for "Best Australian Animation" at the Melbourne International Animation Festival, and received the prize for "Best Animation" at the ATOM Awards, and has a string of festival screenings already scheduled for 2016.
Five years in the making, the hand-drawn 15-minute film features more than 20,000 individual frames. The production involved a crew of dozens of talented artists, including collaborations with RMIT undergraduate animation students.
In between writing and directing, Mikey Hill - a graduate of the Master of Animation and Interactive Media (now Master of Animation, Games and Interactivity) - offers his advice for the next generation of animators.
1. Be prepared to put in the hard yards
Animation is not for the faint-hearted or for the easily distracted. There is a gruelling amount of work, patience and coffee in your future if you choose this career path!
2. Don’t underestimate the power of networking
Get to know the people in your course, the connections made with your peers are something that is so invaluable when it comes to navigating a career as a graduate.
That girl or guy who made the funny farting robot gag film we all laughed over is recommending you for a position as a storyboard artist for a year-long contract on an animated television show.
3. Keep an open mind
There are a variety of opportunities available in this industry. Professional studio tours throughout my time at RMIT gave us an insight and realistic outlook on what we, as graduates, could aim.
It’s important to broaden your mindset and be open to the variety of prospective careers!
4. Be persistent
Animation is quite a competitive field. There are many animators graduating yearly, and the local industry is quite small. But it is growing quickly!
In the realm of independent filmmaking, it is extremely competitive as there are only a few arts grants that many very talented people are vying for.
5. Enjoy the process
In the end this is a career of immense satisfaction! Nothing is more gratifying than stepping back to watch three days of labour dance momentarily across a screen, or to share a film with an audience in a cinema – if you’re into that kind of thing!
Screenings for The Orchestra in 2016 include the Cinequest Film Festival, Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, GLAS Animation Festival,Taiwan International Children’s Film Festival, SeeYouSound Music Film Festival, Fantasporto: Oporto International Film Festival and Chester International Film Festival.
Story: Jordan Di Stefano
Interested in postgraduate study in animation and interactive media? Find out more about the Master of Animation, Games and Interactivity and attend the Communication and Digital Media Postgraduate Information Evening.