"I think that even after death I will come back as a zombie and continue working. Sometimes I think that may have already happened."
David is a 27 year old Animator and Special Effects Compositor. He works as a Digital Artist for a TV post production company in London. He has worked in graphics, animation, and film in some form or other for roughly 7 years. He is a very proud geek, and can be found staring longingly at toy train sets in Hamleys stores very often. He insists that Brainz should be spelt with a 'z' at the end.
Hi David. Do you prefer to be called an animator, digital effects artist or ‘other’?
Hello! Both really. As I have been learning more skills I have been finding it harder and harder to define my job. At work they call me a "Generalist", which is apparently a polite way of saying "the one who's name you shout regardless of what problem you are having." If someone threatened to break something precious of mine (like my Nintendo) if I didn't pick a title then I'd say I prefer animator, it sounds more interesting than digital effects artist.
What inspires you to create animations?
Usually it's a small thought at random, expanded into a full story. Like, "wouldn't it be cool if we had steam powered space ships", or "lets animate my dreams". Currently I am working on an animation about two people that don't know each other both secretly crushing on each other on a crowded underground train. I wrote it when I crushed on a stranger and started pondering what it would take to get two strangers on a train together. I like expanding fantasies into stories, especially small, inconsequential ones that people rarely remember for long.
Describe one of your favourite past projects for us, and the thought process you went through to create it.
My favourite finished project is probably my latest project called 'Stark'. It was based on a dream I had. In the dream I was the creature locked in a room with no doors and only a small ball for entertainment. The first half of the animation is literally exactly what happened in my dream. In my dream, however, I never made it out of the dark corridor, so I decided to make it more of a happy ending. It's interesting that I didn't really consider it important to show what happened after my little blue creation escaped, but people keep complaining to me that they want to know what happened after he escaped.
For those people I created this:
Music is always a dominant feature in your work. How do you choose which music should go with each animation?
I normally choose the music before I even get around to storyboarding (drawing out the animation in a comic book style to work out the sequence of events). There is a reason for that. I normally have a song that reminds me of the mood of the project I am going for. I tend to listen to that song while I am planning. Nine times out of ten the music I listen to while working out the project ends up being the music I use in the final piece. If you ever see a stranger listening to the same song over and over on his music player, sometimes repeating the same 30 second section of song over and over, you are probably sitting next to me.
What is your greatest ambition, career or otherwise?
To be able to travel around the world, and to continue to make short films until I am over 100 years old. Making short films is certainly not easy. It's long, stressful, and exhausting and if you do it in your spare time, it's expensive. You have to really love it to keep at it. Luckily I do really love it. I like to think I will never stop as long as I live. In fact, even after death I think I will come back as a zombie and continue working. Sometimes I think that may have already happened.
Do you have a message that you try to convey through your work? If so, what is it?
Not really a message so much. This sounds pretentious, but it is more feelings or moods I try to get across. If I get an idea for a quirky happy animation, I will try and make people bounce and grin while they watch my finished animation/film. If a sad song inspires a solemn story idea, then I will try to make people feel that way. Luckily I haven't thought of any good depressing ideas yet, but be warned. It may happen one day.
Who are your favourite artists, designers, animators etc?
I do love the Studio Ghibli (specifically Hayao Miyazaki) films as well as most of the Pixar animations. In Pixar there is a specific director named Andrew Stanton, (he directed Finding Nemo and Wall-E) that I am a big fan of. Artist-wise I am really bad with holding onto names which is a pretty horrible habit, but there's still a couple that are drilled into my head that I love, like M.C Escher, and Salvador Dali. Outside of that, a lot of the people I am fans of are actually just people I know either online, through work, from my university days or just friends to be honest.
What are you working on at the moment? Any projects in the works?
Yes, as I mentioned I am working on a project that hasn't got a final name yet about two strangers on a London underground train. By sheer coincidence they always end up standing next to each other everyday, and are secretly crushing on each other really strongly. The idea is that all the forces in the universe seem to be conspiring to make them do something about it. Such as the over crowded carriages crushing them together. The train bumping them into each other, and faulty lighting creating mood lighting. The music's already chosen, the script is written, and the storyboard is almost at a fairly final version. My real life day job is slowing down the actual creation, but I am hoping to be done before Christmas this year.
‘UNdane’ is the concept that beauty, happiness and creativity can be found within the mundane, the little things in life – you embody this with your work. Using this definition, what does UNdane mean to you? What is your idea of the UNdane? Give me some examples of UNdane things that make you smile.
For me UNdane means to see everyday things that people ignore in a new way and find them interesting again. Two years back I was creating a glass of beer for someone else's 3D animated project. It was the first time I was being asked to create glass (or beer) at the level of realism they asked for, so I did what I normally do, I researched both glass and beer. It should have only taken about 15-30 mins. In the end I ended up losing an entire nights sleep reading up on them.
I now know the process of beer production in a level of detail that is ridiculous for someone that's never been in a brewery. I know how the glass is made and why there are often those imperfection patterns in pint glasses. I know the physics behind what causes the bubbles in lagers to form and a good few other things as well.
The point of the story is that now when I am in a pub and everyone goes to the toilets or on smoking breaks at the same time and ask me to look after the drinks with guilt in their eyes, I say, "that's fine" and I really do mean that. Because I know I will be entertained just staring at their pint glasses in thought.
What’s your favourite song at the moment?
Can I cheat and have two favourites? Yes? Ok good.
Sneaker Pimps - Six Underground and
Gotan Project - Epoca.
Visit David's Youtube channel here for a selection of his work, including 'Stark'.