In my mind, I had an image of two monks fighting it out to be the most enlightened. I chuckled at the irony and reminded me of my childhood competitiveness with my brother. It became the idea behind my first film.
I had the dream of entering either the film or games industry but knew I lacked the skills and portfolio to stand a chance. I decided to learn the software in my free time, but rather than go through one tutorial after another, use the opportunity to make a project to contextualise my learning. I was also conscious not to end up with a solely technical showreel, partly to stand out and partly since there would be a lot of fun to be had in creating atmosphere and telling a story.
The competing monks idea was chosen largely for practical reasons. I imagined the monks would be seated meditating for the most part and thus would not move very much. I had hoped that this would make it easier for a novice animator, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The lack of grand movements shifted the focus to the subtleties, which proved exceptionally difficult as a first project.
The film took about three months to make in the end which included learning compositing and sound design too. It was painful, but hugely satisfying to have done all aspects of animated film production. Now I had both the technical skills and the overview of how it all fitted together.
Amazingly, it went on to win “Best Animation” at The Byron Bay and The European Spiritual Film Festival, and I got the perfect job in the games industry in the end.