Ruth Ducker

Ruth Ducker talks about her career progression to become an animation director and then series director in the animation industry.

Series director and animation director, Ruth Ducker, talks about starting her animation career from studying fine art in art college. She says how useful it was to work as a runner to learn how productions are really run, as compared to what you might learn in formal education. Ruth describes how building working relationships with other professionals is important to maintain a career as a freelancer. And she tells what it's like transitioning from working as an animator to an animation director and then on to a series director, and the kind of work involved in all of those roles respectively.

Ruth also answers questions about the gender balance in directors and explains how more needs to be done by studios to address the lack of diversity in the animation industry.

Questions she answers include:

0:52 - How did you go from having a fine art practice (being a painter) into animation?
3:35 - How did you land your first job in the animation industry?
5:41 - From being a runner, how did you move around to different job roles and different productions?
10:16 - Once you got your foot in the door, how did you find other work? Did you find that having team relationships was useful for future roles?
12:01 - What would be your tips for freelancers and how to maintain a career over time?
15:15 - Was it intentional that you worked on preschool content, or did you find that when you did one it was a natural flow to move into others?
18:11 - Talking about Ruth's showreel
23:59 - How did you make the transition from animator to animation director?
27:41 - How did you find managing a team of animators in that position and what advice would you give to people who want to be animators and how you work with an animation director?
29:49 - Do you think that being an animation director set you up well for being a series director?
33:00 - What's the difference between an animation director and a director?
34:06 - In your role as a director, how do you manage the people in the different departments?
36:41 - What advice would you give to a new entrant to the animation industry today?
39:49 - Do you find that, as a director, you're taking people with you to different series?
42:53 - Where can people find resources about animation?
45:36 - Do you think that gender balance in directing has improved over time and are people starting to take the issue more seriously?
47:01 - What would you like to see studios doing to address this?

About Ruth Ducker

Ruth has worked in the animation, film and TV industries for 19 years. After working as a runner, her early production art roles included being a layout and previsualisation artist on TV shows Tractor Tom, the New Captain Scarlet, as well as the Norwegian film, Slipp Jimmy Fri, and the Academy Award-winning short, Peter and the Wolf. After this she worked as an art department designer and then an animator on a number of preschool long-form shows, progressing to become animation director on Jungle Junction for Disney Junior and then Boj for CBeebies. In 2014 she took her first series director role on Floogals for Universal Kids.

About the event

This is a recording of an online event that took place on 14 May 2020. It was introduced by Abigail Addison, ScreenSkills animation production liaison executive, and supported by the ScreenSkills Animation Skills Fund with contributions from UK animation productions.

Further careers information

Check out our animation job profiles.

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