I started working seriously in 1977.
Beginning at Hanna-Barbera Productions in Sydney, Australia, where I learnt how to animate the old way on shows like Scooby-Doo and Popeye. I look back on that time as my apprenticeship.
I graduated from TV series to TV commercials. By the mid 80s I was the Animation Director at Flying Colours, one of Sydney’s leading commercials production companies. I made commercials for many clients, including Coke, McDonald’s, Fujitsu and Toyota, winning a FACTS Award (Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations) two years running.
In 1990 I moved to London to work on an animated feature directed by Richard Williams (legendary, 2 Oscars, huge ego). The film was an infamous fiasco, there’s even a documentary about it (The Persistence of Vision) which I’m in. Check it out, it’s quite a story.
I joined Cambridge Animation Systems in ’92, as part of a team developing Animo, software for animation production. We produced proof-of-concept work for Dreamworks, Warner Bros. and Disney, who all used the product . This got me into computers. I even gave a demo to Steve Jobs once. He was clearly unimpressed.
The thing was, I preferred making animation to making animation tools. I went freelance in ’96, got myself the url pencilandpepper.com, and started pulling in jobs. One of the bigger ones was Animation Director on The New Adventures of Captain Pugwash, produced for Hit Entertainment. We won the Indies Animation Award for best TV series in 1999.
By the millennium business was rapidly changing, animation was used in all kinds of media. With digital skills I found I was creating content for websites, flash games, motion graphics, user interfaces, mobile phones and corporate video. Have a look at the clients page to see who for.
And that’s how it’s been for nearly 20 years – one project after another, sometimes two or three at once. There’s been feasts and famines like for all freelancers. The family is grown up now. I’m still working every day and still getting that buzz from making the deadline and delivering a good job.
In December 2017, in collaboration with Simon at Dayglow Media, I pitched an idea to the BBC. We were commissioned to produce 4 micro-documentaries about unusual punctuation marks for BBC Ideas, a new online channel. So far the videos have achieved over 220 thousand views, making them the most viewed playlist on the channel. In March 2018 we were commissioned to make 4 more. That’s what I’m doing now.
Here is a list of projects since 2000. I don’t expect you to look, it’s more of a vanity thing to be honest.