Artist Spotlight: Mikey Please
In the latest of our exclusive interviews from It’s Nice That’s Nicer Tuesdays, we caught up with Parabella co-founder Mikey Please, a BAFTA award-winning animator who worked on the 100% baked Great British Bake-Off advert which made headlines earlier this year.
Adobe: Hi Mikey, tell us a bit about what you do?
Mikey: I’m an Animation Director, which means a lot of my time is spent story boarding. The actual process of animating is just a very small part of what I do. So, most of my time is spent either writing for animations or pitching ideas.
A: How did you get into this career? Did you always want to work in animation?
MP: I always wanted to work in something that involved visual story telling. When I was younger it was comic book writing that I wanted to get into. Then it was games design, before I settled on animation while I was at university. By that point, I’d been making animated films for more than a decade, since I was around 8 or 9 years old – I just hadn’t considered it as a career until university.
A: You won a BAFTA for your work “The Eagleman Stag.” Did you know that it would be such a success?
MP: No, not at all. When I completed the film, I was so proud of it and loved showing it to other people. I spent the first six months sending it to film festivals, but received no responses, which was obviously very disappointing. Then at about the six month point, I had a breakthrough and the film was accepted by the Sundance Festival. That was the beginning of a snowballing effect which peaked with the BAFTA.
A: So, you part founded animation studio Parabella. Are you guys working on anything exciting at the moment?
MP: Yes, we have a couple of commercial projects that we are working on and are really excited about our long-form narrative content we are in the midst of producing. We’re making a pilot called “Alan the Infinite” with Blink Ink, our production studio. As well as an absurd comic book called “Dead Rock” about a boy with a horse head for a hand, which is completely uncommercial. It’s always really exciting to work on long stories.
A: You worked on the advert for this year’s Great British Bake Off, which is made up of 100% baked goods. How long did it take to complete and did you have any setbacks along the way?
MP: The shoot itself was relatively short compared to the prep time. We spent a good month just working through the ideas doing animatics after animatics. We also wrote and recorded songs and once we decided that it would be a singing and dancing baked journey, it was relatively quick. However, the iceberg below the water was the creative bit which we worked on for a long time. I think the only setback we encountered throughout was deflating cakes in the oven!
A: What would be your advice to anyone that wants to start a career in animation?
MP: I would say do as much as you can for yourself and don’t wait for other people to give you permission, because no one is going to care as much as you do. Also, surround yourself with talented individuals who are further on in the field than you so you can learn from them.
A: Do you use any Adobe products and is there a product or feature you couldn’t live without?
A: What training would you say students should pursue to become animators?
MP: I didn’t study animation at university. However I think there are huge benefits in doing so. Namely, the peer group that you meet who you’ll find you learn most from and are influenced by the most. I think that in itself is a great reason to take an Animation course.
Click here to watch Mikey’s Nicer Tuesdays talk.