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Simon's Animation Mentor Update

I first was introduced to Simon Taylor several years ago by his father.  Nik and I gave a workshop at The Young Animators Festival in Bradford, England.  After our program a man came up and introduced himself and asked if his son could e-mail me.  He was at the festival represent his son's work  because Simon was in Italy for his first year of study.I must admit that I promptly forgot about the meeting until I got an e-mail from Simon's father talking about his son's animation progress.  We corresponded for several years before I actually received an e-mail from Simon.When I did hear from Simon, he told me that he had been accepted in the Animation Mentors program.  I asked him to occasionally write about his experiences and over the past couple of years I have followed his progress.  Simon has graduated from the program and so this is the final chapter of that adventure.  He has however promised to continue to occasionally write about what he is up to.


Simon at ILM

Hello! It’s been a while since my last update and time to report on my life post Animation Mentor. I finished my final class with fantastic mentor Mark Oftedall in April 2009 and since then continued to work on the brilliant “Gaspard & Lisa” at Impossible Television in London for Chorion, which we recently completed.I had been juggling working full time and studying at Animation Mentor since August 2009 until the end in April, which was certainly a challenge but I enjoyed it so much and didn’t have much else going on outside of work, so luckily that wasn’t too much of an issue. So since AM finished I have mainly just been doing animation at work and I have learned a phenomenal amount about getting the best animation possible out of a very tight time frame. It was certainly a culture shock to begin with but an enjoyable challenge nonetheless. To put it into perspective, my last AM assignment was about 20 seconds long and I had a couple of months to work on it very carefully and slowly so that I could learn as much as possible from the exercise. On “Gaspard & Lisa” I was animating about one minute per week. I really enjoyed the challenge and got to animate a wide range of scenes. The show looks fantastic and it was really exciting to see it finally broadcast on TF1 in France as well as seeing it on DVD in Japan! It was both hugely satisfying and a little bit sad to see it all end, we had a great time and I got to work with an amazingly talented and friendly bunch of people.Amongst keeping up with the AM community and working at Impossible TV I also got to opportunity to work on a couple of short films “El Regalo de Blanca” and “Devils, Angels and Dating”. What I’ve seen of them so far looks beautiful and I can’t wait to see them when they’re finished!
Even though AM finished for me back in April 2009 that doesn’t mean it has to end. The AM community is fantastic and there are always gatherings in London. These are always great fun and add so much to the otherwise totally online experience. I also got to go to my AM graduation in San Francisco where I finally was able to meet up with all the other AMers I’ve been chatting to all this time who live outside the UK and what an experience that was! Our graduation was held in the magnificent Palace of Fine Arts with a barbecue and various other gatherings throughout the rest of the week. I was also lucky enough to get the chance to visit Industrial Light & Magic and Pixar Animation Studios. And of course, I got to meet some of my mentors for the first time in the real world!
Animation Mentor alumni photo

Simon at Pixar Studios

A few months ago I was also given the opportunity to be an “Alumnus in the spotlight” where I got to report back to current AM students for a week about what it’s been like for me so far working in the industry. I really enjoyed it and it was great to talk about how working in TV differed to AM. By the way you can see how my final AM work turned out as well as a few clips from Gaspard & Lisa on my demo reel at my website .