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Nurturing talented creatives: a junior animator’s perspective

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We‘re advocates for giving talented creatives the opportunity to develop their skills and gain invaluable on-the-job experience.

Working with local creatives and nurturing brilliant talent is one of our passions here at Millstream Productions. We believe in giving young people opportunities to develop their skills and flourish in their roles. 

And because it’s easy for us to say this, we asked Owain, our Junior Animator, to tell you more about his work placement with us whilst studying a bachelors degree in animation at the University of Portsmouth…

When did you start the placement?

My placement started in June this year and will last until next September, however I’ve been working for Millstream since August 2021 alongside my studies. 

How did you find out about the placement and what the application process involve?

During my second year at university, we were encouraged by the Creative Careers service to secure a placement with a local employer. 

My application process was slightly different to how people usually apply. Seeing as I was working with the company already, I approached Ben, our Managing Director, and asked if there was an opportunity for a placement at Millstream. Fortunately there was and I have continued to work here since. 

What have you learnt on your placement so far?

I have learned a tremendous amount working here. Primarily I work with Roma, our Supervisor Animator, and she has helped guide my technical skills in a number of programs including Adobe After Effects and Photoshop. 

I’ve learnt how to professionally organise a project directory and have really enjoyed gaining first-hand experience of being a part of a team. I also enjoy team-based projects, working with clients and hearing their feedback. It’s something that you can only experience on a placement.

What does a typical day or week look like in your role?

Days and weeks are so varied based on what projects are going on and who’s in the office but it always starts with a cup of tea! When I started working with Millstream, my focus was based around pre-production work, creating storyboards, animatics and concept works. Now, I take on more production work bringing the ideas that culminate during pre-production to life.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Millstream?

Aside from the biscuit tin and endless cups of tea, I really love the variety of projects we get. No month is ever the same as we have new clients, new projects and new opportunities where I can develop my skills. 

All the lovely people that I work with are so incredibly talented. And being able to shout out an idea or ask for feedback at any time makes me feel included and valued as an aspiring creative professional.

What are your plans after graduation? 

My plan is to continue working here during my final year of studies and after, I’d really love to join Millstream on a full time basis and evolve our animation offering.

Do you have any advice for other animation students who are thinking about doing a placement with an employer? 

Yes, think small. Animation is a satisfyingly tedious learning curve and you're not going to be 100% perfect all of the time. 

It's a medium of compromise and I believe the most valuable asset if you want to do a placement is to take the little steps by continuously learning, making mistakes and being creative. Eventually all these little steps will snowball into a packed portfolio and work ethic. 

Employers not only want to see the lovely work you can create, they want passion, drive and a willingness to learn. Ensure you're the most-prepared version of yourself because how you put yourself out there is what will get you the job. 

Finally, always ask about opportunities because the worst someone can say is no.