Will Anderson is writer/director & designer from the Highlands of Scotland who specialises in animation. Here he talks about some of the inspirations behind his work…
Before making films and animation I was obsessed with drawing detail. My art teacher at secondary school, Mrs Livingston, wasn’t sure about me making animation, suggesting illustration. She was cool by the way, and very supportive, but for some reason making things move seemed like the hardest and possibly most rewarding artistic thing to do, for me.
2 years later – Princes St Gardens.
I’ve started studying animation at the Edinburgh College of Art & I’m sitting cross-legged with an A3 sketchbook open with a uni-ball fine liner .05 black pen drawing the Scott Monument. I’m finding the idea of drawing in public quite frightening, as generally I’m a pretty quiet guy. A couple of hours have passed and I’m starting from top to bottom, trying to concentrate as best I can. It’s getting dark, so I pack up and leave unfinished.
Thinking about it a lot, I go back continuously when I can to try and finish this picture I’m becoming very attached to. I sit in the same place, and find drawing increasingly difficult as people seem to want to chat to me quite a lot. Finally I finish it, tallying up the hours in my head to around 13 (partially due to distractions you see). Suddenly, I look up at the monument as a seagull swoops down above me. It passes then suddenly shits on my picture. The disappointment is intense.
At this point I was trying to get over my singular drawing thing, and it was actually a good thing that the shit fell from the sky and landed on this one.
This links to other stuff by the way.
What I realised was that the process was the bit I enjoyed about art, and yeah it was a shame to have a bird shit on it, but I could photoshop it out.
In my last year of ECA we were to make a short film, so with limited experience of doing so I decided I wanted to make a film about me struggling to make a film with a difficult (animated) bird character. This film would allow me to work with a process and use it as its subject matter, but play with it and mould it into something interesting and surprising (hopefully).
The Making of Longbird -
The weird thing was that this film starting screening at festivals and people liked it. It was a surprise, but it became a valuable thing to have to show that I could make animation, write a story, and film some live-action. This time I had something at the end of it though. The bird in the film tried to shit on it, but I wouldn’t let him this time.
Since then I’ve been working making animation, writing and directing as much as possible. I regularly make work with Ainslie Henderson under Whiterobot. Here we make online videos, write and direct things, and do commercial work sometimes together, sometimes individually. Sometimes there are seagulls…
We recently finished our new short film ‘Monkey Love Experiments’ run by Digicult & Hopscotch films as part of the Scottish Shorts scheme
funded by Creative Scotland. It has some upcoming screenings at Ottawa International Animation Festival in September, and Encounters down in Britsol also (with others to follow soon).
Day to day I have a studio where I work at Summerhall in Edinburgh. You’ll see me there kicking about.
I’m glad that bird shit from the sky.
For more about Will Anderson, read about his winning 9.88 film entry here.
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