The year is 2001. I’m in my second year of studying a BA (Hons) in Animation at the Glamorgan Centre of Art & Design. I’m enjoying, I’m getting shit done.
At the end of the academic year, an award show is held, the Glammies. My hard work is rewarded, and I win the Best 2nd Year Film award. Somebody at Aardman wanted to have a chat with me about some work possibilities. The third and final year of the degree loomed.
But I couldn’t have that chat, or finish that degree, as I’d followed my heart (which felt like the right decision at the time) and gotten married to an American three months previously, and the day after the Glammies, I was moving to America.
A little over three years later, when the marriage went south, I returned to the UK. I ended up working in a call centre. Not having the degree wasn’t an issue from a skills point-of-view. It did harm me when it came to actually getting short-listed for jobs though. So in 2004 I looked into going back to finish the degree. For various reasons, I didn’t pursue it then either.
Fast forward to 2013, a full twelve years after my original studying. I’ve re-married, got a house, re-settled. I’ve somehow managed to escape those evil call centres and got a job at the University I used to attend, and almost finished getting my wife through the bulk of her studies (her second BA and her Masters). With the economy the way it is, Uni fees are due to sky-rocket, and the window to finish my degree is almost closed.
However – as I’ve a fair bit of freelance experience within comics and design, I’m now in a position to skip that missing third year, and jump straight into a Masters. Typically, I’m eligible for no funding help (what a shocker), but I can do the course part-time while still working at the Uni. This is good. So the application is in – hopefully, come October I’ll be starting a Masters in Animation. If it leads to me to working within the animation industry – great. But frankly, I’m doing this to beef up my qualifications, and hope that it aids my lecturing aspirations. Any animation work will be a bonus, but it’s not my goal.
Time will be an issue now. My colouring projects are going to be scaled back considerably, but as that arm of my career hasn’t exactly helped pay the bills anyway, I’m happy to back-burner it. Indeed if I get paid the bulk of what I’m owed for past colouring work it would pay for half the Masters, but that’s a bitter, bile-spewing blog post of it’s own somewhere down the line. Suffice to say if you pop into WH Smiths and buy a copy of STRIP Magazine, I hope you enjoy my colours in there – because I’ve done them pro-bono. Shame no-one actually TOLD me that. Hnnrgh. See what I mean about the bile?
But yeah.. come October, I get all academic again, and I’m going to pursue some projects of my own that I hope will bear fruit. One in particular I’ve been nurturing since 2001 ironically.
I’ll keep you updated…