Garth (The Lion) Sanders
So what is exactly is it that you do?
I create 3D sets, props and 3D characters / robots, as well as texture, light and rig them too. Mixed in with that I do the occasional 3D Character animation of various robots.
Why in the world would you choose a career in animation?
I saw a lot of films with 3D animation in it and I developed an interest in the craft. There was not much of a scope for animation in South Africa when I first started out but I remained adamant that something big was going to happen.
Did you study, how did you go about learning your trade?
I drew a lot at school and I took up ART as a subject. Whenever we went for career guidance, everyone mistook Graphic design for being Animation and this confusuion set me off track for a while and left me frustrated too. I then studied a Graphic design Software as it was a pre-requisite before learning some arbitrary 3D software. Thinking it could lead up to my dreams of being an animator that was my biggest mistake as I had no idea what animation was really about. I found my bearings when I studied Animation at Cityvarsity for 2 years and it was here that I learnt what animation really entailed. I worked on a few freelance animation projects such as 2D commercials and Takalani Sesame, as well as lectured Animation at Cityvarsity. With the experience in the industry and through lecturing I have been fortunate to develop and evolve the knowledge that I gained when I first studied Animation. (FirstStep note: Two thumbs up from the FirstStep team!)
Give us a brief run down of your average working day?
I get to work at 6:40am, have breakfast read e-mails then jump into the day at about 7:10am. So its just me and my P.C…. until the rest of the staff show up then we chat and discuss things (non-work related) and go back to work. I only leave my P.C when I have script read-throughs, lunch time (12:30pm) or to use the bathroom. This is sounding like a BIG Brother moment, following me, every step of the way. My day ends at 6:00pm and I disconnect and detach myself completely from work. It’s kind of like a robot actually.
What type of challenges do you face on an ongoing basis?
Trying to say no to all the crazy ideas script comes up with for an episode. Nothing is impossible but the timeframe of 1 week makes certain things impossible for that episode. By saying no, we are actually robbing ourselves of valuable knowledge that we could possibly gain in our craft and contribute toward other projects too. On the other hand we need to pace ourselves and realise there might be other simpler but still effective ways of getting the episode out at the end of the week.
Do you recommend studying to get into your field?
Yes, the animation courses at Cityvarsity has evolved as well as learning materials are more readily available on the NET than before so developing your animation skills is far easier than before. I know people that are self taught in animation and although they are good they are lacking skills that could take their work further if they were taught through a tertiary institute.
Funniest moment of your career:
Seeing a full-fledged animation studio start up in Cape Town and being employed to work there.
Highlight of your career so far:
The industry has evolved and I am able to realise some of my dreams I had when I was in high school.
If you weren’t a ….you would be a…..?
If you weren’t an animator you would be a pirate (AARRR) (FirstStep note: again two thumbs up, the man is on form!)
What’s your biggest inspiration?
It will be the following animated movies: Monster’s Inc., Finding nemo, Ratatouille, Spirited away, My neighbour Tottorro, Howl’s moving Castle
It will be the following animated T.V series: Naruto
And your influences?
I have tremendous respect for John Lasseter (Executive Producer of Pixar) as he has made Pixar what it is today in terms of its Character Animation.
Hayao Miyazaki (Animation Director and co-founder of Studio Ghibli) brought the innocence of children as well as the adventurous nature of kids to the forefront in Animation. Both of these influences pay attention to detail but in different aspects of the craft and both have contributed to setting high standards within the industry.
Roti and curry, Lasagne, Roast Chicken ( yes, I know it said food not foods but I’m listing 3)
Never left South Africa, so home it is.
Spongebob Squarepants, Freakazoid, Ren and Stimpy, Pinky and the Brain, Batman the animated series
Cape Town has everything you need
Your message to young South Africans:
If you don’t work hard for something you will never appreciate it when you already have it.