Fraser Davidson Interview
Fraser Davidson is an award winning London based, Motion Graphic Designer, Animator and Director. He was previously Head of Motion Graphics at Mainframe, a Motion Graphics, VFX & Animation House. We had the great pleasure of asking him a few questions.
He is the writer and director of the multi-award winning Youtube series 'The Alternative Rugby Commentary' and has collaborated on projects with Australian comedian, Tim Minchin. These include animated short, 'Popesong' and the BAFTA nominated animation for his nine minute beat poem 'Storm'. Directed by DC Turner and Produced by Tracy King.
How did you get into Motion Graphics? You completed a Graphic Design course, was motion graphics incorporated into this, or did you branch out?
I am a graphic designer by education (BA Hons from Nottingham Trent University). I got into animation when it became clear I was a bit average when it came to type and colour being colourblind and not a pedant (only kidding). It was offered as a course in my second year and I was immediately enamoured. My primary interest with motion graphics was narrative rather than aesthetic. So after 5 lovely years at London's awesome Mainframe, I set up on my own and have focussed more on story telling and the explanatory uses of animation.
What is your working environment like?
I do a lot of work in sport branding in case you were wondering....
What is you working process like?
Ad hoc really. I prefer to get to the animation as quickly as possible. I'm never all that enthused by storyboards. I understand the need for such things, but I prefer to get a sense early on for whether a project is working from the first scene or two, Movement is much more important to the low fi style of my work than visuals on the whole, so that's where I like to focus.
What was your favourite project to work on?
I have a fairly short attention span, so the more variety the better. the quicker the better in a way. Pieces I love from our Sweet Crude company website are the Bill Maher animation 'Irritable Bowl Syndrome', the 100 Frames work and the Tim Key project.
Fraser Davidson Bill Maher - Irritable Bowl Syndrome
What would be your dream brief?
Hard to say really. I may have had a couple of them already. Certainly working with the Welsh Rugby Union whilst at Mainframe was one. And working with long time hero Tim Minchin on a couple of projects was awesome. For sports branding it would be doing one of the NFL teams I reckon. Animation wise, I don't know really. I get a lot out of most of the projects, often even when the subject matter isn't obviously of immediate interest. Surprises are always best. Perhaps getting a dream project would be like meeting your heroes?
Who or what influences your work?
You have quite a distinctive style, does this come from your design influences, or just personal taste?
Bit of both, I think that slightly kitsch Americana retro thing is doing quite well now. Some comes from the influences above, some comes from my inability to work outside my now slightly engrained style.
What three things get you through the day?
1. Working. It dawned on me a few years ago that I'm only truly comfortable with a bit of pressure. I was a lazy kid growing up and now feel intense guilt and a sense of waste if Im not doing anything. Im not sure if this is a particularly positive emotional drive, but there doesn't seem to be anything I can do to satiate it other than keep myself busy.
2. My girlfriend keeps me fairly sane and doesn't take any of my shit. Its become apparent that when left on my own, my personality flaws tend to lead to crazy waking hours, working conditions and the imbibing of too much booze.
Here at motional, we love Fraser's work and it was great to get more of an insight into his working process. We think it is quite interesting that he doesn't feel that storyboarding is as important to him as trialling the animation, however with his style of work, we can see why this might be the case. His work is fast paced with the animation and transitions being one of the key features of his work, and this does not always translate to storyboards.
I like that one of his three things that keeps him going through the day is work...a sign of a great animator.
See more of his great work here.
Posted: Wed 3rd Oct 2012
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