What is your name and your current occupation?
I’m Martin Povey and I’m a freelance Animation Director and 3D Generalist based in the UK.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I was lucky enough to get into animation a year after I graduated from university in 1992! Although, I actually studied to be an engineer and worked for 6 months designing pressure valves in a chemical plant before sidestepping. Seeing “XX days accident free” sign on the entry to the plant was a huge influence on my career choice!
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I used to run a medium sized animation company in Birmingham UK called PS Creative. One of my favourite all time projects was our award winning TV and Cinema commercial for Drayton Manor Park (theme park). It was a fairly stuffy brief initially, but we had almost total creative freedom and the idea grew into a really fun project. The characters we designed and built were painted onto the walls of the ride and made into character suits. It’s immensely cool when you see one of your animated creation wandering round in the real world – Disney had vision J. I’d have to say overall, it’s far easier to point out the very few projects I HAVEN’T enjoyed working on rather than the many I have
How did you become interested in animation?
What an odd question! I can’t remember a time when I haven’t been fascinated with animation. I first wanted to be an animator when I realized it was a real job. I was 10 and my cousin Mark Povey began working for Cosgrove Hall in Manchester (home or Danger Mouse and Duckula at the time). My parents were dismissive, and I can still prompt a “when are you going to get a proper job” comment out of my father – even now, 18 years on!! I think you have to make your own way.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Chester in England. My first animation related job, way back in 1993, was producing 2D animation for touch screen information booths in airports and shopping malls. The animation was limited to between 4 and 10 frames and restricted to a very limited palette. I moved into games which were 16bit consoles at the time, then into 3D and into advertising and children’s TV.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I work in London a great deal. Starting work at 9:30 with planning and scheduling meetings twice a week. I’m a hands on animator but supervise both animation and technical aspects of production on TV commercials. On a good day I’m out of the studio by 7pm, on a bad day, I’m there til the wee small hours, only to be back in again the next day at 9:30. I love being able to work from home when I can. I have my own dedicated studio space (spare room to none animators) and am able to cocoon myself in my work for 8 or 10 hours.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I love having creative freedom and pushing ideas from a boring line of text to something more fun and dynamic. I love animating characters, putting expression into what essentially doesn’t even exist.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Making great animation worse because some executive somewhere exercises their opinion based on the ‘brand’ rather than the art of the animation. Clients should provide money and briefs and leave the animation to animators.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The every changing marketplace. Animation is a boom and bust industry that provides good income one year and sparse the next. It’s hard not to get disillusioned about a job when you are at the top of your game and still can’t pay the rent.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
PC workstations generally from HP or Boxx, flakey software. I use my iPhone to take photo reference, and a flip type HD camcorder. My favourite gadget is my 3D mouse – a space pilot from 3DConnexion. It really does speed up scene navigation and makes tweaking animation a much easier task.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I’ve been to Disneyland – but I guess you don’t mean that J.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I’ve had a number of difficult situations, personal and professional. In 2006, my company (PS Creative) went into receivership after one of our clients folded owing us a great deal of money. I think tough situations are even tougher when you’re powerless to stop them. I vowed never to animate again, and didn’t for over 10 days….
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
Any animator or film maker would be lying to you if they claimed they didn’t have a personal film on the go at any one time. I have a well scripted pet project that has been on the back burner for over a year now – “damn you work!”
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Paragliding is my current passion. I have been all over Europe flying big hills (mountains) and am genuinely hooked on the free flight buzz.