Mind Your Business: Inspiring the Next Generation of Animators
Do you remember the first time you were inspired to work in animation? Was it a moment, a person you met, or something you saw?
I always loved animation, but I was 16 when my father introduced me to the owner of an animation studio in Houston and I got to tour his studio when I realized I could have a career in animation.
My 13-year old twin sons Luke and Reece have been around animation all their lives. They are in my studio all the time. They see me working on storyboards and animation. The meet the artists I work with. They even do their own drawings in Photoshop.
But they’ve never really seen the process of animation, probably because I’m their dad. It’s too close to them.
A couple of years ago I set them up with my old Video Lunchbox and showed them the basics of Claymation. They spent an entire day making bloody claymations and laughed every minute of it. And then they never touched it again. Typical.
They’ve always expressed some interest in being artists, but I never noticed any desire to work in animation. Both of my boys love science and excel in math. Reece has been talking about being an artist scientist (I love that idea) and Luke loves fish so he’s thinking of something in marine biology.
Of course if they could make a living playing video games, they would jump at it. I’ve talked with them about trying to design their own games, but they don’t even respond. I just stare at the top of their heads as they look down at the latest online game on their laptops.
But I watched both boys experience their inspiration recently. I was speaking at the Citruscel Animation Festival in Jacksonville, FL and I brought my family with me. It was a relatively small event so all the attendees had a chance to talk to all the speakers.
There were also two people there from Laika, Brian McLean and Georgina Hayns. Seeing their presentation was high on my list. I’ve always been a huge fan of stop-motion animation. The process is so tactile and the puppets are so cool. So I drug my family with me to their talk.