In this feature we’ll get to know some of the women in the animation industry in Ireland. Today we interview Aoífe Doyle, co-founder of newly established Pink Kong Studios.
What is your current job description?
Creative Director at Pink Kong Studios.
What does your job entail?
Being part of a Start Up means I get to wear many different hats within the company to help drive it forward. Which I really enjoy, as I’m kept busy and the days are always interesting. My job as creative director is to lead and hone the creative side of Kong. Guiding our artists and ensuring that we stick to the creative path we want the studio to follow. Mainly I work on developing new ideas and concepts for ourselves as well as clients. Communicating the concepts to the clients and ensuring both parties are happy, and sharing the same vision for the final product.
How long have you worked in the animation industry?
On and off since 2002 when I trained classically in Ballyfermot, but I didn’t get into the industry full time until I made the switch to digital and got my degrees in 2010. It’s been non-stop since then thankfully.
What drew you to the field of Animation?
I’ve always loved animation, who doesn’t? Some of my earliest memories are of going to the cinema with my family to see The Black Cauldron and a re-release of The JungleBook, I remember being just so blown away by these amazing worlds on the big screen. I’m a child of the 80’s so of course there was no shortage of captivating Saturday morning TV shows for me to get hooked on! I loved the Turtles and couldn’t believe it when I found out that it was made here. In school I was always drawing characters and getting requests from classmates to doodle them something. As soon as I was in secondary school and discovered that you could study animation in Ireland…I knew that was definitely what I was going to do. I craved to know how animation was made, and it was not an uncommon sight in our house to find myself and my younger sister Aíslíng pausing Warner Brothers VHS tapes and drawing the strange poses you’d find in the smear drawings.
What roles have you performed during your time in the industry?
Storyboard Artist, Director, Animator, Assest Creator, Concept Designer, Key Poser. Wow that seems like a lot, but if you’re working in smaller companies, you tend to get to turn your hand to a few different elements.
What is the project or moment so far that you’re particularly proud of?
Probably back in 2011 when I was invited over to the Fantoche Animation Festival in Baden Switzerland to talk about my graduation film Nana’s Strawberry Preserve. I’ve worked on some great shows since, but that was a personal project so it was a great moment. Also it’s a beautiful place, I need an excuse to go back there soon!
Do you have any advice for those entering animation on how to be industry ready?
If you’re finishing college and looking for work in the industry, the obvious advice is to make sure you have a good showreel put together. Don’t sell yourself short, show your strongest work. Go to events and talk to people. You’ll make great contacts. These people may end up being your future colleagues or recommending you to future employers somewhere down the road. Keep an eye on what the current softwares being used within the industry are. Although software can be taught, and it’s absolutely more about your skills as an animator than your skills using a certain software package…but it can’t hurt to be knowledgeable on these things. Sometimes a studio might find themselves in urgent need of an extra pair of hands and there just isn’t the time or budget to spend time teaching someone new. If you already know the program you can hit the ground running. Places like The Animation Skillnet are a great way to stay current and keep up skilling.
Do you have any recommendations for those thinking of making the leap and starting their own company?
Go for it! If it’s really what you want to do. Go for it, don’t half do it! I think you’ll never get there unless you put your all into it. Ask me again in a few years and I’m sure I’ll be better able to answer that one!
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