Industry Interview: Alex Williams
I am pleased to say that we have Alex Williams for our first every industry interview. I was very privledged to have had the opportunity to be taught 3D animation by him in my 2nd year of university. With years of experience under his belt as an animator and lecture in various schools such as CalArts, Escape Studios and Bucks New University, I caught up with him for a little interview that would be sure to get you motivated this new term!
Alex Williams credits as an animator include Who Framed Rodger Rabbit?, The Lion King, Robots, and The Road to El dorado. Williams has also contributed a great deal into VFX working on Beverly Hills Chihuahua, The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Harry Potter and the Half blood Prince.
Alex Williams Animation Apprentice is an online animation school for those wanting to learn the art of 3D Character and Creature animation. To learn more about the course or to follow Alex and his work, be sure to check out the links below.
To begin what stirred your interest in animation and what was it that made you decide to pursue a career in it, was it always your choice in career from a young age?
I grew up with animation – my father is an animator – so it was always something that inspired and fascinated me.
What did you study in university? Was it a course anywhere related to animation and if not how did you train to eventually become an animator?
I read Modern History at University. So, no, my degree had nothing to do with animation. Though I did do a Foundation course at Camberwell. Almost all my animation training was done on the job.
What was your big break in the industry?
I got a job as an in-betweener on Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. It was an internship, unpaid. Eventually it turned into a proper job, and I began to learn the craft of animation.
Was animation for TV ever an option for you or have you always preferred working on animated feature lengths?
I have always worked on features but I would be open to doing TV.
Personal Preference: 3D, 2D or VFX?
What have been your favourite productions to work on and why?
Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a wonderful production because we knew we had a hit on our hands. There was a sense of real excitement – we felt that it would be huge.
Who are some of your inspirations in the industry or even frenemies (friendly rivals)?
Walt Disney, Hayao Miyazake and, of course, my father Richard Williams.
Now, you are the founder of the online school Animation Apprentice and you were also responsible for the world’s first online MA in 3D animation. Could you tell us a bit about how this came about and why online?
Online is a great way to learn. It is much cheaper than a classroom delivery and it democratises teaching. If you have the passion to learn you can do so from home nowadays, you just need self-discipline.
I read on the Bucks Animation Blog that you will indeed be moving to a new job at Escape Studios, congratulations! are there any other exciting things lined up for you?
Escape are launching a new four year BA/MA in animation in September 2016. It looks to be a great course.
What is a single piece of advice for aspiring animators out there, Who really don’t have a clue where or how to get started?
Start doing video tutorials online. You can download Blender for free, or a student version of Maya for free. With every tutorial you will get a bit better. And, of course, take my online course!