Joshua Palfrey won last year’s Young Animator of the Year, a competition funded by ScreenSkills’ Animation Skills Fund, and has gone on to secure a traineeship at Blue Zoo Animation Studio as a result.
Birmingham-based Joshua Palfrey entered the Young Animator of the Year competition after coming across animation software Blender when he was making his own video games. Playing around in the programme resulted in his first attempts at making short, animated pieces of content and left him hungry for more.
Young Animator of the Year is a programme of free activities and a competition for 11- to 18-year-olds who have a passion for creating animation. Joshua heard about the initiative via 3Dami, a non-profit organisation which promotes digital art among pre-university students. He felt it would be a great opportunity to have his work reviewed by professionals.
“I really wanted to make a short film, but I struggled to find the motivation to finish my personal projects,” he says. “Young Animator of the Year gave me a deadline and something to work towards, which helped me a lot.”
As he had limited time, Joshua opted to keep his project simple so that he could realistically complete it on time, maintaining a high quality of work throughout. “I tried not to be overly ambitious, I just came up with a simple story that was easy to follow and with enough action to maintain interest.”
Working on his project not only sparked his interest in creating more short content, but he also learned a lot. “The competition has taught me about working to deadlines and also about self-discipline when completing projects by myself,” he explains. His dedication paid off. He managed to submit his project on time and it was received so well that he secured a traineeship opportunity at Blue Zoo Animation Studio in London.
“It was a surreal experience, walking into the studio for the first time and to be surrounded by people who all share the same interest in creating great content,” Joshua says. “Meeting all different types of people in the industry was exciting.”
During his placement Joshua received instructions for jobs on different projects. “I would continuously send iterations of my work to others and they would give me feedback each time. This process continued until we ended up with something that we were happy with and I would then move on to the next project,” he explains.
Collaborating with others whilst working on a project, was a new experience and it was something he really enjoyed. “I enjoyed the collaboration with others and the environment,” he says. “I feel that working in this way brings out a lot more unique perspectives and opinions, which end up giving the piece of work more depth.”
He also was amazed by the fast turnaround times of projects, made possible by the streamlined workflow of the company. “It was really interesting to see how the methods used for a project would be adapted to suit the timeline and budget, while still maintaining the quality of the result.”
The experience has made him more eager to work in animation. “I would like to continue working on personal projects and short films, and to learn more about filmmaking in general,” Joshua says. “Then, once I’m happy with my skills and portfolio, I will start applying for jobs in the industry.”