Blog Entry #5

In today’s lecture we had two guest speakers. We had Geoff Hill from his own company Hill Langdell, and Kath Shackleton from Fettle Animation. They both came in and gave us separate lectures about their company, their work and their journey to get to where they are now. I went in to this expecting it to be like a broken record, with both people saying more or less exactly the same as each other. I was very wrong…

Geoff got the ball rolling with his lecture at first, and let me tell you he didn’t gloss over any details. He told us all the good things that have happened on his journey, but also told us about all the bad points as well. He started off by telling us that no one is tied down to their single discipline. He said, and kept on reiterating that we are all creative people. He told us how you should never brand yourself as a graphic designer, an animator or an illustrator as this could inhibit your potential.

Geoff told us a story of a time he was asked by a regular customer of his if he could create him an animation. Without hesitation he agreed, with absolutely no knowledge of animation whatsoever. He had shot himself in the foot surely? But no! He went out and self taught himself how to do motion graphics and the basics of animation, and now, animation is a key part of his company.

Geoff also spoke about the importance of keeping people happy. He often takes clients out for dinner or a coffee every now and again, even if he’s got no work to do for them. He said that this keeps his circle strong, after all it’s not entirely what you do in this world; but who you know.

Kath started off by introducing herself, telling us a bit about Fettle Animation as a company and what they strive to achieve within each project. Kath seemed to differ from what Geoff said though. Geoff told us not to get tied down into solely one discipline, whereas Kath kept telling us how you should stay in one discipline and focus all of your energy into that one area. This way, she says that you will be at the top of your game in your selected area. She told us how Fettle works, and in this company they have different people working on different parts of the same project. So they have a main illustrator, a main animator, a set designer, a graphic designer and many more working on small pieces of a larger production.

You can see similarities and differences between Kath and Geoff, but also if we compare what they said to what Debbie Longbridge said (see blog #3), we can see that Debbie kept pushing for transferable skills, which is similar to what Geoff was saying, but Kath’s technique is completely different.

Clearly Kath’s way of working is completely different to that of Geoff’s, I suppose they both have positives and negatives. If you do limit yourself to one discipline you can strive to be one of the greatest in that particular area, whereas if you broaden your horizons, there’s a better chance of you expanding your clientele and becoming generally more successful. After consideration I think I side more with Geoff Hill’s idea, I need to expand my skill set so that I can be considered for more jobs in the future.

I could go into the simple fields; Graphic design, Animation and illustration, or I could go a bit more adventurous. I could look into Architectural design, Photography, Product design and more!

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