What is your name and your current occupation?
Brett Snelgrove and I’m an Independent writer/producer.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I worked in a coffee shop in my youth where I had to wear a promotional character outfit to distribute flyers around the shopping centre. The character had this huge nose and the local kids weren’t shy about telling me I looked like a giant nob. Back in high school when I thought I wanted to be an actor, I was part of a drug awareness performance troupe and one of our outings involved crashing a big Oktoberfest event. Needless to say we were thrown out.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I’ve recently completed an animated sci-fi web comedy called New Eden with Dutch animator, Freek van Haagen. That’s been a lot of fun and a lot of hard work but worth it. It was a bit of a trial by fire as it is my first foray into animation. Previous to that I worked in television production and on my own independent projects. I’m very proud of my award winning action-comedy short Domestic and very grateful that I got to work on the satirical news programme NEWStopia with legendary Australian comedian Shaun Micallef.
How did you become interested in animation?
I’ve always been a fan of cartoons and animation. Before CGI became commonplace, animation used to be the only place that you can really see the fantastical brought to life. I grew up on a farm in a rural area of Australia where we only had two TV channels. Only one of them played cartoons – Looney Tunes, Hanna Barbara that kind of thing – and I would watch them religiously. My fascination with animation went hand-in-hand with my love for comic books. I’m still a big fan of both to this day.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m originally from Australia and now live and work in London. I had the script for New Eden kicking around for a while so when I moved to London I decided to take a punt and advertised for an animator to see if I could find someone to work with me on it. That’s how I found Freek and got involved in animation. It’s been a fantastic collaborative experience ever since.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I balance my day job as a social media engagement moderator/writer with developing and producing my own work so every day is always a juggling act. Depending on the day I might have one or two social media shifts. Then they’ll be a whole bunch of emails and Skype calls to do with the latest project I’m working on. As I work from home most of the time I tend to keep pretty regular hours to give myself some structure but when I’m promoting a project like New Eden that goes out the window as I’m often interacting with people online in all different time zones.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The best part of my day has got to be when I get to see new shots or edits come in from the people I’m working with. It’s so great to see something you’ve written and discussed at length come alive on screen. It’s also when something becomes real and you actually have something to work with and mold into a finished product.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Knowing that you’re not articulating yourself properly when you’re giving notes to someone – that old cliché of you know it’s not quite right but you don’t know exactly how to fix it. I know what it’s like to get that sort of feedback so I hate doing it to other people but sometimes there’s no way around it. You just have to work through it until something clicks and things start to fall into place.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
As a writer producer it’s my Macbook and iPhone. Oh and I’d be lost without my notepad and pen, which I take everywhere with me.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Keeping paid work and new commissions flowing in the door. Generating ideas and projects can be hard at times but getting something across the line and actually getting someone to pony up some cash for it is the hardest bit.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Not yet but fingers crossed!
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Most recently it was moving to London from Australia. My partner and I had a great quality of life in Melbourne but we decided to pull up stumps and give living and working overseas a try. At the time we really thought London would be the promise land. Between the time we decided to leave and the time we arrived the whole global financial crisis kicked off. When we finally hit London it was very doom and gloom. Companies were folding, no one was hiring and my partner and I were seriously wondering why we ever left Australia in the first place. My lowest point was when we were living in a studio flat above a rumbling tube line and I was delivering leaflets door to door just to get some money in the door.
Any side projects or you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
Besides New Eden, I’ve got a live-action web sitcom called Tessa & Adam that I’m currently pitching around and a few other things in my back pocket that I’m developing. I’m hoping to do some more animation work with my New Eden collaborator Freek but we’re yet to lock down the details of what that might be.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Hmmm, not many but I’m very proud of the fact that I can do head stands in yoga if that counts.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Everyone says it but it’s all about persistence. We can’t all be geniuses but people respect and reward others who have a dedication and passion for their work. Also take some time to find your own style. And finally give yourself a break! Despite what you might be told, there’s no one way to do anything, all you’ve got to do is find the right path for you and then pursue it with everything you’ve got.