It’s funny how priorities change in life.
Ever since I can remember I had the ambition of moving away from England and living in the USA. First as a physicist, and later as an animator. On discovering how tough immigration is there, my sights refocused on Canada. My dream, as unlikely as it may be, was to work my way step-by-step to a job somewhere like Disney where I could perhaps work on 2D features.
Last year I had the great fortune to be given a tour of the Disney animation studio, both the old and the new ones, by animator Andreas Deja. As I have previously mentioned on this blog, the trip, while mesmerising, really drilled home that it is sadly not the studio it once was. I left my trip with a changed priority – I just want to be the best animator I can be, I don’t need to tie my dream to a single studio.
I aimed to make a jump to Canada, Vancouver to be exact. The fact is that there are very few opportunities for animators in Great Britain, and there are more on the other side of the Atlantic (at least that’s my perception of the situation). I thought that I could at least try to venture into the film industry in Canada.
Then something suddenly changed. To be honest, I don’t know what happened. I suddenly started to feel that such a move was unwise. I came to realise that with the best will in the world, family ties would suffer, and no amount of career opportunity was worth that. On Sunday, my girlfriend and I made the decision to knock the Canada idea in the head, opting to remain in Britain. There are lots of things that we want to do in life that would have to wait if we moved abroad.
So where does that leave my animation career? Am I dooming myself? Well I don’t know, but I’m choosing to remain optimistic about it. My aim is still to work on feature films, and I will continue to work towards that aim. Perhaps such an opportunity will present itself within these shores one day. In the meantime I will try to find animation work that I can be passionate about and learn from my experiences there. At the same time I will be continuing to work on my own short films.
Most importantly of all though, and this is something that I only realised upon having made the decision to stay, I can now start to enjoy life today rather than waiting for some distant uncertain date. This is something that is good for both me and my work.
To quote the over-quoted line from Brad Bird, “Animation is about creating the illusion of life. And you can’t create it if you don’t have one.” As obvious as this may sound, I’m only just beginning to understand what it means.
I’m hoping that by relaxing my grip on my dreams, they might be permitted to flourish.