Rising Sun Pictures
Adelaide, South Australia
I grew up in rural in Queensland, Australia. For most of my childhood, my family didn't have a TV, largely due to my mother thinking it was a big time-wasting machine. Both times we bought one, it mysteriously blew up?! The nearest cinema was a converted squash court in the next town, so films were a rare treat.
Without a TV, I had plenty of time for drawing and I drew a lot. My parents had a subscription to National Geographic and I loved looking through the magazine for pictures of interesting places and people that I could copy. When I was about 13, I started to think about the possibilities of animation. I’d seen Toy Story, Shrek and Final Fantasy: Spirits Within and I fell in love with the idea, albeit naively, that animation could make anything possible. Encouraged by my parents, especially my mum, to chase my dreams, I left home at the bright old age of 15 to study animation at TAFE, a tech college in Brisbane.
I took a one-year course in animation, then another one-year course, but upon finishing my studies, I had no idea how to find work in my field. So I returned to my folks’ home and worked odd jobs while practicing animation at night. After two years, I found myself employed at a slaughterhouse — a most depressing place — and doubting I would ever get a job in animation. Then, one morning after clocking in among the conveyor belts and carcasses, I was struck by the overwhelming feeling that I should go home and call up the biggest animation studio in the state and ask them what on Earth I had to do to get a job?
And that’s what I did. I drove home, rustled my nerves and dialed the studio. A nice receptionist answered and politely informed me that the HR guy was in a meeting. I could try again later. Two hours later, I phoned again and the same nice receptionist told me the same thing. It occurred to me that they probably fielded 10 calls per day in the same manner. Still, I thought it was worth one more shot. This time, to my surprise, she told me the HR guy had just come out of his meeting and she put me right through.
When he picked up, I stumbled out who I was and mentioned that I’d sent a disc with some work, through several months prior. He paused for a moment, then said, "I've just come out of a meeting and one of the things we discussed was that we needed a junior modeler. Let me look for your work. I’ll call you back.”
After the longest 45 minutes of my life, the phone rang. "Hello?" I quivered. "Hi," said a voice. “So, I showed your work to our lead modeler…can you start tomorrow?” Choking back tears, I squeaked something about needing an extra day to get my things in order and pack my car.
I left the next morning and never looked back.