Sam graduated in Animation at the University of Wolverhampton in 2005. He began his career working in commercials before studying at the National Film & Television School and earned an MA in Digital Effects.
Upon graduation he spent many wonderful years working in London for a number of post-production studios. Sam's work has involved building assets, rigging, prototyping and developing CFX simulations, digital double animation, visualisation of shots and leading sequences.
Now based in LA, he is working to move into virtual production and real-time workflows. He is working hard to nurture relationships with directors and return to his roots in film.
Check out his 2019 film Dogfight (made in his spare time!).
We caught up with Sam to discuss what he is up to now, his favourite aspect of the course and his advice to current students.
Almost 20 years have passed since I started my animation degree and I always look back fondly at the final year while we were spending every moment possible in the basement making our short films. We were a small group by the time the third year rolled around, but the camaraderie we shared was a highlight. The tutors were incredible in helping us make better decisions and, more importantly, allowing individuality to shine through. I still remember the 'Golden CD-ROM' awards.
I now call Los Angeles home and thoroughly enjoying living and working in the heart of the film industry. During the pandemic I switched to all things visualisation, we essentially become filmmakers and work to help the directors bring their ideas to the screen, it's a creative and rewarding part of the industry.
Clockwise (from top left): Dogfight, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol2, Bullitt, Jupiter Ascending
I strive to be as versatile as possible and to form a strong link between all disciplines on a project. I have worked in all areas of this wonderful industry. A recent return to the film side has allowed me to produce and direct my own short film projects and ideas.
Wolverhampton is the place that really illuminated the industry and introduced me to all the techniques of animation production. You can really explore your inner filmmaker for 3 incredible years. The blend between theory and practice are heavily intertwined, it's really a wonderful place to begin your personal and creative journey.
You want to attempt all forms of animation offered, you want to experiment, fail, succeed and learn. You'll find yourself surrounded by like-minded course mates and you'll have access to a wealth of experienced tutors. It's such a broad industry and there are numerous paths to enter. The best advice I can give, looking back, is to simply enjoy having the time to learn.
"We have two ears but only one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we talk" – Advice can come from anywhere, just remain open to it.