Perry Towle is a self-proclaimed musician by birth, and creative producer by design. Although Perry originally graduated with a Masters in Experimental Education and worked as a youth instructor, he finally discovered his true calling, animation. His animation-led entrepreneurial spirit led him to create PT Digital Studios, a production studio that he ran successfully for 8 years before shutting it down.
Then, after a few short stints at other studios, he found his home at TruFuel--as the team's Creative Director. TruFuel has been a true success story, with a client list that includes Harley-Davidson, 20th Century Fox, Autodesk, Discovery Channel, Disney, EMG, Mattel, and Saab.
Going back to his educational roots Perry offered some advice to our aspiring-animator readers:
What is your firm's focus within animation and what led your firm to have such a focus on this one?
We’ve mostly been doing 2D promotional animations. Seems like small and med. size businesses want a small shop that can do promotional videos inexpensively and there are a lot of them out there looking for ways to demo and promo their products and services online.
Fill in the blank: The future of animation _____________.
Working with best writers and designers available to create simply, fun, entertaining ways to communicate ideas.
What are the best and worst aspects about working in the animation?
BEST – getting in the zone with ideas, and watching it all unfold like magic.
WORST – clients who stick their heels in.
What skills/qualities does your firm seek out when hiring new employees?
Right now, easy going developers, designers and illustrators who understand the entire process.
What particular schools, if any, does your firm recruit new hires from? If none, where do you recruit new hires?
Elance, guru and craigslist. : ( sorry, not a good answer.
What advice would you give to aspiring animators?
Be yourself. Do what you love, even if that means living at home until you figure it out. HOWEVER, be willing to change if “someone moves your cheese”. I thought I wanted to be a music composer, but finding work was tough, so I dove head first into Adobe Flash in 1999. Then Flash was the next cheese that moved a little so we got into smartphone development. It’s pretty nice to look a head of what the mass market wants and start to be an expert in a field that is in the early stages of exploding.
What were your most challenging projects, and why?
The ones on a limited budget. You want to make it awesome, but you don’t want to pay yourself $1 an hour either.
What kind of education did it take to get you where you are today?
Being Nice and not burning bridges is the most important, but since you asked about education (BA in Music Composition, MS in Experiential Education).
What animation software packages does your firm prefer to use? Which one would you recommend to beginners?
We love After Effects and Flash, but we see so many beautiful things in 3D that we desperately want to adapt.
Do you think that there is an increasing or decreasing demand for animators overall? Why?
My guess is that there is a huge increase in demand (marketing, games, and entertainment) but also and increase in supply (animators).