Jamie is currently the Animation Project Manager at Stone’s Throw Media, a video company based in Wolverhampton. After working with them for a couple of years as a digital 2D animator, he was “upgraded” to manager status when more team members came on board. His role is to ensure quality of animated projects; lead, manage and be accountable for them. Meeting with clients, figuring out what kind of video will work for their business or problem they wish to solve and then working with the team on creating the style, animation, storyboarding, script writing and making sure everyone is mentally sane.
He's worked on projects from companies such as Redrow Homes, Compton Care, Universities, NHS and Matrix Capital banking firm. We caught up with Jamie to discuss what he is up to now, his favourite aspect of the course and his advice to current students.
I studied media in College which is where I enjoyed doing animation the most. I went to University to major in Animation as a result. Since then I became the "Professional Doodler" at a video production company where I get to use my drawing skills to create content for businesses and customers across the country. I have worked on projects from the; health, charity, housing, construction, football club, military and education sectors with one of my animations reaching 38,000 hits on Youtube.
The highlight for me was meeting the people. Everyone on the course had similar interests, new perspectives and were really keen on discussion. We became a very tight bunch of friends and even rivals throughout the course, which made the atmosphere very relaxed and easy to be open within the class. So much so, that the lecturers found it very easy to engage with us and it made teaching sessions so much brighter and fun to go through as we were able to lend our own thoughts and opinions as classes went on. No awkward moments, no silent sessions, it was a buzz and I miss that. The lecturers were also very good people to talk and open up to. Emily in particular made me better at my art and helped me find a style that worked for me. Also, I was never confident at presenting in front of people, but the course forced me to do it and I became better for doing it. In turn, it made presentations more of a "me first!" thing or a show off between peers, it was fun. It made you feel bad if you didn't put the effort in so drives you to be better next time!
It was an engaging social ride, meeting and experiencing new networking opportunities and art styles to hone your skills and finding your strongest craft.
My favourite memory was doing life drawing class for the first time! It was early on in the course and we were all still getting to know each other while drawing naked people, definitely an eye opener and what a way to get to know your peers hah. Funny stuff.
I landed a role at Stone's Throw as a freelance artist and animator, then became full time for 8 years creating the art content. After that, I was promoted to Animation Project Manager and Lead. My role now has expanded to coordinating projects, liaising with clients and customers, running meetings to understand project briefs and guide them through the workflow. I manage my team, delegating tasks, running project meetings every week and still have a heavy hand in the creation of the work which includes: storyboarding, script writing, concepts, animating and editing. I also get to work with the video team from time to time, helping out their behind the scenes footage and live shoots on locations. I also have to help with social media content. I also run a work experience module for students from secondary schools onwards at the company, allowing students to do client work for a week; drawing, animating, storyboarding.
Keep in mind a broader spectrum of what you could pursue for your career in the animation / art industry. I went into University thinking that the only options were the big named companies but to my surprise, there are plenty of companies that need the help from artists that you wouldn't necessarily think of. Things like marketing companies, agencies, video production companies, social media companies, e-learning companies; all of these require artists and can be a great stepping stone for you in the industry, meeting and forming relationships with other roles and build a reputation of what you want to achieve. Keep your eyes open to that and work to a style that suits you. Don't be a jack of all trades, learn and understand what you're good at it and use it.
The main take-away for me from the animation course was how to talk and network with people. Thanks to the support from the teachers and presentations we had to do about our work, it really drove home that being able to show your work and discuss it openly is an incredible strength to have! Without that, I wouldn’t have been ready to meet with clients or my peers so comfortably. Truth be told, I doubt I would have gotten this job if it wasn’t for the University acknowledging my work and entering it into the Royal Television Society back in 2012, which is where I got head-hunted from Stone’s Throw who saw the awards and led me to where I am now so couldn’t be more thankful than that!