Animation: An Interview with Creative Director Ricky Turner

Animation was a revolutionary change in film and TV that signaled the advent of technological triumphs that previous generations couldn’t have even imagined. Animation brought us Mickey Mouse, Star Wars, Jurassic Park and others on the film side. In the world of television it enabled advertisers and show producers to create engaging and entertaining programs that connected with consumers like never before. Our Creative Director, Ricky Turner shares some insights about animation and his experience.

How long have you been with Bluewater Media?

I’ve been an official employee for eight years, but I’ve been working with them for 11 years.

How many clients or projects do you typically work on at one time?

I usually have five or six going at a time, but there’s always a queue of internal projects at any given time as well. Fun fact, last year I did 21 animations for HSN alone.

How did you get into this field and how long have you been doing animation?

I got into animation very purposely, it’s exactly what I went to school for, so in total I’ve been in this line of work for 20 or so years. Back in 1998 I was at Mississippi State, which is an engineering school, back then animation had to be done on quarter million dollar, giant, super computers. Because of the engineering department as well as grants from the National Science Foundation we were able to have access to this incredible technology.

Why is this kind of creative important, what role does it play in our organization?

This kind of creative just has so much heart in it, both on the part of the creators and with the consumer. The animators really put a lot of work into this kind of thing and care about the quality of their craft, and for the consumer it really gives the messaging and content that it’s paired with more meaning. Putting yourself in the position of the viewer and imagining what would excite them is a creative adventure for us, so it plays a huge role.

What’s your creative process when you take on a new client or project? 

I feel that it helps to talk about things, I’ve always been a very visual person and have a clear vision about what I see in my head, but talking it out and hearing it out loud can help you figure things out. Talking not only with clients, but with other creative people can also help a lot, sometimes when you hear an idea out loud it can actually change. The fleshing out process is very important.

What would you say makes a good animator? 

I think that what separates the good from the great in the world of animation is having an artistic eye. I’ve seen a lot of technically gifted animators who don’t have an artistic eye and as a result make very well put together garbage. On the opposite end of things, I’ve seen some animators that are just diamonds in the rough. These guys might have a long way to go or need some extra tutelage, but they have an eye for art and can make some really simple things look simply amazing. To me that sense of art is the most important thing.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in the field or is just getting into it?

Get a background in art first. My first degree was a bachelor’s in fine arts and graphic design. The computer animation was a master’s degree, so I didn’t even start any of my animation work until after I had already completed five years of art school. I think that this is just so important, because that’s where that eye gets developed and you figure out your personal aesthetic, the foundations of design and what objectively looks good.

Finding a good animator is something that can immensely help your business or campaign. They provide the kind of creative that can help a brand connect with their audience in unique and effective ways.