Please give us a brief info of yourself
I’m from Dublin where, for a while, I lived beside a canal full of swans. I worked in television at RTÉ in Ireland for 6 and a bit years before moving to London to study at the RCA. I now Live in London and direct animation for a living at Blink. I am a very lucky man.
Please describe your typical day
Depending what work I’ve got on, I’ll either be: at home in my pyjamas and a comfy pair of slippers sat at my laptop writing or drawing and occasionally glancing out the window to watch the nothing happening on my street; or I’ll be in the studio, surrounded by a melee of activity; or at one of a handful of studios where I’m afforded odd jobs (character design, animation, compositing) in between big projects. The one constant is tea, lots and lots of tea.
How have you learned directing/filming skills and techniques?
Consuming unhealthy amounts of films and TV, you learn quite a lot unconsciously. Working in television in RTÉ was a fantastic learning experience. It allowed me to experiment with animation techniques on the job, and gave me experience directing shoots and doing a breadth of work that it would be difficult to find elsewhere, to the point that I have lots of little obscure skills that I’ve forgotten I even have.
What are your future goals and plans?
At the moment I’m starting to work with my other half on a script for an animated short, and I have very vague plans for a few subsequent ones. The animated short is a format I’m really enjoying exploring, so I’d like to keep plugging away at that for a bit, and see where it leads.
Were you interested in filming or other creative pursuits when you were growing up? How did you decide to directing/filming?
When I was growing up I’d never really considered filmmaking as something that regular humans do, rather it was the preserve of some alien race of directors. I drew constantly though, always scribbling and sketching on things, with occasional altercations when I sketched someone on the bus who it turned out would rather not have been sketched. Almost by accident I ended up in a job where I could animate for a living, so film making was the next logical step after that.
What is your biggest regret?
If anything I’d regret all the time I spent not doing what I’m doing now, making films. If I’d gotten started earlier, I’d have a handful more (almost certainly dreadful, ill-conceived) films I could be thoroughly ashamed of by now. Making things, especially awful things is a great way to learn how to make less awful things.
What advice would you give to a young person starting out?
Get started and make things! Even awful things. Read things and watch films and have opinions and ideas. If you want to make animations, don’t just watch animations, steep yourself in the rest of the world of culture, it’ll give you a broader base of inspiration to steal and combine from.
What are you listening currently?
Right now I’m listening to St. Vincent and David Byrne, and far too much Nick Cave.
Do you have any favorite movies or TV shows?
My favourite film changes constantly, but the last thing that blew my socks off was Under The Skin. That said, The Royal Tenenbaums, Eternal Sunshine and The Big Lebowski have a warm place in my heart, far from any critical thoughts. On the telly recently, I was really impressed with Babylon.
Any other things to add?
Almost certainly, but I won’t remember what until it’s too late.