Brian O’Connell reminds us of the vast opportunities available within the digital media industry. Quick to point out that not all animators and creative digital producers are making films, Brian understands the niche marketing aspect of world-wide digital production and sales.
Brian is currently CEO for Anistock, a stock photo and animation shorts sales company. Oh and he is also CEO (and partial owner) of Video Customizer. Needless to say Brian is very successful despite his non-traditional roll in animation. Previously Brian worked for a similarly-focused company called Stockbyte, which was purchased by Getty Images for $130 million—showing that there is money to be made in capitalizing on the growing need for short animations and videos.
Unlike most people working in the animation industry who are chained to their desks in the catacombs of production studios, Brian has taken the business approach, and is now a shareholder in numerous stock-photo and video related companies, including his own company Anistock. Anistock is now one of the largest producers of video backgrounds, video loops, animated backgrounds, custom video and short flash animations in the country.
Brian took time from his busy schedule of capitalizing on the growing video trend to offer some advice, advice especially valid for those looking to be successful in the industry without spending 1000s of hours producing content frame-by-frame.
What is your firm's focus within animation and what led your firm to have such a focus?
Our focus is on stock animation to support the growing web video and video marketing industry
Fill in the blank: The future of animation is ___________.
web video, gaming and video marketing, short, powerful animations to be used in games, advertising, video email, web video etc.
What are the best and worst aspects about working in the animation field?
Best is a global fusion of nationalities and cultures.
Worst is lots of sub-standard animation being produced.
Among your firm's achievements, which one(s) are you the most proud of?
We supply animations to MTV
What skills/qualities does your firm seek out when hiring new employees?
Talent, hard work and can do attitude
What particular schools, if any, does your firm recruit new hires from? If none, where do you recruit new hires?
We recruit internationally so location is not an issue for us.
What advice would you give to aspiring animators?
Be realistic and look at the trends where animation is being used, we all can't be film makers.
What were your most challenging projects?
15 minute short animations, complex characters, demanding client on a tight budget
What kind of education did it take to get you where you are today?
I don't have any formal animation training, my background was in stock photography so I know the marketing for "stock content" quite well.
What animation software packages does your firm prefer to use? Which one would you recommend to beginners?
We use multiple packages, 3D Max, Adobe, Maya etc but I am impressed more and more with Blender.
Do you think that there is an increasing or decreasing demand for animators overall? Why?
Overall, I think it has peaked, so steady as she goes.