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29 October 2014

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You are in: Tees > Entertainment > Arts > Animate this

Freerange Flock

Animex is coming

Animate this

Awaiting Animex's annual return to Middlesbrough, we speak to top Teesside creators Seed Animation about the event...

With Animex looming on the horizon we catch up with local animation stars of Seed Animation, Morgan Powell and Neil Kidney, to ask what it's all about, and get a little advice...

Freerange - Cow

Cow - Part of the Freerange range

Tell me about Seed Animation, how long have you been together?

We started back in 2003 as a threesome and we have since ‘developed’ the operation by reducing to two directors. This benefited all parties concerned, so everyone’s a winner.

So now Seed animation is just the two of you?

We have a plan to be the 3D character animation equivalent to Aardman.

It’s no dream! The plan is written. To get us there we will have to increase our productivity, which means relying on others to help out.

The first recruit was Chris Williams (founder and director of Animex) who acts as a producer. We also have Cheryl on admin duty.

Then, we have a love affair with Curtis Jobling, who designs for Bob the Builder and Frankenstein’s Cat. He has provided us with the spring board to the animation industry and we frequently collaborate with him on TV and festival stuff.

Freerange - Sheep

Sheep - Part of the Freerange range

Who does what?

There’s really two sides to 3D animation, the technical side, which Neil provides, and the creative side, which is me.

We both have a solid grounding in all aspects of animation and we are extremely critical of each others work, which helps make the final animation as good as possible.

A finished piece of animation requires a lot of creative and technical processes to get it onto screen, so we frequently employ freelancers to help out.

How did you get started?

Once upon a time… Chris put us in touch with one of his acquaintances who was looking for a group of animators to work on a pilot for a TV show. We had just graduated from a Masters in Computer Animation with a year’s knowledge in animation and absolutely no business know-how.

We were given a crash course in business by the University and Digital City, the rest we picked up by experiencing the various different obstacles that having a new business throws at you.

Freerange - Chicken

Chicken - Part of the Freerange range

We now have our first television commercial airing for Olbas products, and Curious Cow, which is a series of idents running on Nickelodeon.

How are you involved in Animex?

Anyone who is involved in the animation business is involved in Animex. Animex is on our doorstep, and is a great time for us to focus our energies on wowing the big guns of animation.

Has Animex helped boost the popularity of Seed Animation?

Most definitely. Last year we worked our socks off to produce three quality pieces of work one of which, Freerange, we pitched to Rachelle Lewis who at the time was working for Sony Imageworks.

She laughed so much that she demanded to watch it again, and then asked us to show it to the rest of the Animex traveling posse, which consisted of representatives from Industrial Light and Magic, Dreamworks and Pixar.

We were a bit shell shocked by this stage!

Freerange - Pig

Pig - Part of the Freerange range

What do you think of Animex?

It’s fantastic. It’s one of the highlights of our year.

There’s plenty of interesting seminars by some of the best in the world- and the great thing is that they are so approachable; I was having a beer with the guy who animated The Hulk last year.

What advice would you give to people who are wanting to move into animation?

Have patience, talent, passion, lots of time and energy, creativity and an understanding girlfriend! Sorry Kate!

What's the best and worst part of what you do?

The best has to be watching people’s reactions when we show our stuff. If they laugh/cry at the right moments, it means that we have done our job. The worst part is that it’s unputdownable! We both get so excited about what we do that we can't wait to get it done. So lots of sleepless nights and lack of human interaction! We've got a sunbed on order so that at least it looks as though we get to go outside!

To view the latest work of Seed Animation simply click the link at the top right of this page.

Still confused about Animex? Click the link at the top right of this page to find out what it's all about, , or listen to the interview on Gobstopper with Curtis Jobling and Chris Williams.

last updated: 27/06/07

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