How I went from working in animation to becoming a director

India Barnardo, 32, is a director and character animator and is currently directing her first short film, Cat and Moth. India lives in Canada.

India Barnardo works in animation
India

I’ve always been fascinated by painting and technology, so when I heard of this thing called “computer animation”, it sounded like the perfect combination.

I skipped my way north to Teesside University, not really anticipating what I had let myself in for.

Plonking down in my seat on the first day, I quickly realised that most of my peers had been experimenting with animation for years. I felt very out of my depth. However, I muscled through, got feedback from my peers and fell in love with the craft.

Networking

I love meeting new people, so at university, I networked like crazy.

Teesside University has this great animation festival called Animex and it’s a wonderful way to meet industry creatives. This led to me gaining my first job and working summers in London as a runner at Framestore. I met so many inspiring creative people this way, many of whom I am in touch with to this day.

I was always eager to get to the next stage, at home I would think “must get to university”, at university I thought “must get to London”, in London, “must move abroad”, you get the picture.

Manifesting goals is great, but as I’ve learned, only if you’re enjoying the journey.

Andy J. Miller said on his wonderful Podcast ‘Creative Pep Talk’, that when you defeat the last boss in a game, the game is over, now what?!

A healthier way to approach the game is to savour the achievements you gain along the way! I now see that only focusing on the future is pointless, it’ll happen, whether you like it or not. 

A move into directing

I now live in Canada, and I’ve worked on three animated features.

I’m trying to be consistently present whilst pursuing things I love. I am currently directing my first short film, Cat and Moth, with a worldwide 100+ crew. I never would have imagined jumping a wave this big.

Cat and moth poster

I liken goals to the ocean, concentrate on the small waves in front of you, jumping them one by one, as you progress, the waves might get a little higher, or trickier to jump.

If you look off into the distance you can see 80ft waves coming towards you and it seems overwhelming, “how will I ever jump THAT wave?!”, but once they get to you, you’ll jump them just as you did the others.

Before you know it you’ll have jumped what you thought were the biggest waves you could ever imagine, and then you’ll see bigger more exciting ones in the distance. Enjoy the little ones, splash and play along the way, and you’ll jump without even realising it.

Cat and Moth heads to the festival circuit mid-2020 and following that, an online release.

To keep up to date for behind the scenes and upcoming teaser please head to our social pages @catandmoth (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & LinkedIn) or on our website www.catandmoth.com. Please sign up to our newsletter for exclusives!

Read more: How I got a job in visual effects and animation

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