We get a lot of questions about animation from students, grads and fans of our work. Everything from education to software to company culture. So, we've decided to get the scoop on life as an
animator in a series of interview-style spotlights on the team. For our fourth spotlight, Fin!
Hello! Introduce yourself.
Hello! I'm Liam, I'm 25, I come from West Sussex and I wear way too much yellow.
What team role(s) do you play in the Cut the Mustard team?
I help with a bunch of roles at CTM. I run the socials, posting these blogs, our posts and TikToks, and keeping those in check. I help with business dev stuff, chatting with clients and networking out and about in the world. And of course, I animate, helping out in lots of ways with all steps of the pipeline.
What skills, software and techniques do you use as part of your role?
For animation, we stick mainly to TVPaint and Adobe After Effects, with some other (mostly Adobe products) for pre-production. I use social media heavily for marketing and networking, with each major one having different uses for us as a business. I use LinkedIn more and more each day, as it took a few years to feel like my voice was worth posting. Nowadays I've embraced being a LinkedIn-fluencer (which I totally would have cringed at a few years back!)
What’s a personal favourite Cut the Mustard project you worked on? Why?
Other than our 48-hour animations, which I have loved each of, my favourite is the anime intro we made for Malora. It's a few years old and didn't have a huge budget, but being able to work in a style we hadn't before and bring that world and those characters to life proved to me that we had made a good decision to work together and that this company would allow me to push my skills in new ways and work on exciting new projects all the time.
What journey did you take to get here? Education, job, hobbies, extracurriculars.
Like the other CTM founders, I went to university and got a degree, which is how we all met. I started my journey with game design and was kickstarted by an event called BAFTA YGD, where being a nominee helped me realise I had the talent to be creative for a living.
During school and sixth form, I'd done three lots of work experience in the games design industry, as well as a little paid QA testing. I was offered a starter role in 3D animation at a studio but decided I'd rather develop my skills and build a network with uni, rather than jump into work at 17. It's a decision I'm proud of even now, and I believe in the long run allowed me time to live life, meet friends and gain crucial life experience that means more than just getting a good job.
What’s something that inspired you to get into animation?
My life changed 180 when I walked into a showing of Up at my local Butlins. I walked in wanting to be a Zoologist of some kind, and after the fifteen-minute 'married life' montage, I walked out wanting to work in animation. I had a brief interest in game design instead (largely fueled by the same love of stories) but the rest is history.
What’s something you love about animation?
It's always different. One day we're making a rap music video with just white lines, the next we're digitally painting a warm and nostalgic illustrative video for a beach hut. It's allowed me to interact with so many subjects and fully dive into them, boil them down to their core emotions, and tell that story to the world. It's a very addictive and rewarding cycle.
What’s something you don’t love about animation?
Animation is a slow process, and I've not always been the fastest animator. Uni teaches you to be good, but not good and fast, so that's been quite the learning curve, and one that I still work on as I try and keep my drawing skills sharp as the company grows in talent and clientele.
Outside of animation, what hobbies or interests do you have?
I love to write, especially screenwriting. I've written for a few animated projects outside of the studio, as well as some live-action content, such as a web series that films in the US. I love pursuing that alongside my animation work. I'm a cinema fan and video game enjoyed too, and generally love to consume all sorts of stories. Outside of the creative arts, I love being outside in nature as it's where I spent a lot of my time as a kid, being active and adventurous.
What advice would you give to someone to get into animation in a role similar to yours?
Imposter syndrome is the biggest hurdle to climb as a newcomer. Talk to people, get involved on social media, and join some discords and subreddits related to animation. When you feel part of it, the rest will come and you'll gravitate towards what you like the most and what you're best at.