Name: Matthew (The Mongoose) Brown
Current Occupation: Television Director
So what exactly is it that you do?
I direct the look and feel of the show. This involves directing the actors in the voice recording studio to squeeze out every drop of emotion, decide how to frame the shots to best tell the story (is this a dramatic close-up or an extreme wide-shot), oversee the animation to make sure the characters’ “performance” matches the story and approve the final edit and sound mix.
Why in the world would you choose a career in animation?
I’ve wanted to be a director since I was five years old. After working in shorts and commercials, animation was a great way to get involved in storytelling. It’s very challenging because you have to get a performance out of a drawing.
Did you study, how did you go about learning your trade?
I went to film school from the age of 11 after school in the afternoons. When I matriculated, I went straight into working as a runner in an editing department at a TV production facility and worked my way up. (FirstStep says: true commitment)
Give us a brief run down of your average working day? I start work at 8AM so I can work by myself before the other 50 staff arrive. I solve problems, answer questions, sit in script read-throughs, design new locations, sign off storyboards, cut down episodes in the edit suite, record voices, sign off animation, watch final mixes. I finish around 7PM.
What type of challenges do you face on an ongoing basis?
Problem solving to make animation faster and easier. Most of my challenges are related to how to make the best product in the shortest time.
Do you recommend studying to get into your field?
Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend studying directing, because there won’t magically be directing jobs waiting for you fresh out of film school. It’s very competitive and experience is an absolute requirement. Study cinematography or editing, then start at the bottom in those departments and move up into directing, learning every trick of the trade along the way. Look out for low end jobs while you are studying. If one comes up, quit studying and go for the job, experience on set or in studio will prove more valuable every time. (FirstStep notes: solid advice)
Funniest moment of your career:
Every day is hilarious, working with 50 crazy animators.
Highlight of your career so far:
Being invited to the Cannes Film Festival for the short film I made when I was 22.
If you weren’t a ….you would be a…..?
Director… War photographer
What’s your biggest inspiration?
And your influences?
Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie), Micheal Mann (Heat), Brad Bird (The Incredibles), Jhonen Vasquez (Invader Zim), Tim Burton (Nightmare Before Christmas)
Cape Town or Hong Kong
Your message to young South Africans:
Authority figures don’t necessarily know any more about life than you. Trust your gut and your passion.