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Here BA (Hons) Animation alumnus Dan Edgley and Co-founder and Director of Ritzy Animation reminisces about his time at Ravensbourne, back when the university was located in the leafy suburbs of Chislehurst.
[A selection of photos of group work Dan completed while at Ravensbourne]
"From the moment I saw the students sketching characters, the walls pinned with storyboards, and the monitors playing 3D films, I knew it was where I wanted to be!"
I remember deciding Rave was the right university for me very quickly after my first visit to the campus back in 2007. Back then it was situated in the leafy suburbs of Chislehurst and the animation labs were set in 'cave' rooms at the very back of the complex. From the moment I saw the students sketching characters, the walls pinned with storyboards, and the monitors playing 3D films, I knew it was where I wanted to be!
My main interests at school had been art, design and computing so to discover a place which allowed me to explore all three was so exciting. The 'Computer Visualisation and Animation' [now BA (Hons) Animation] course at Rave offered the chance to study both 2D and 3D animation, as well as hone my life drawing, storytelling and editing skills which sounded like the perfect combination.
I have many fond memories from my time at university - filming a miniature cage at London Zoo, watching our bouncing balls on the big screen, or whizzing down the corridors on office chairs (for reference purposes!) - all of which bring a smile to my face. However, one of my highlights was pitching my final film idea to the year group - a scary but truly rewarding experience. It was my first taste of leadership and taught me the foundations needed to become a successful director.
After graduating, I was fortunate enough to be hired by Blue Zoo, a company I'd admired for a long time. My reel had caught their eye at the degree show and I was able to showcase a large portfolio of work during my interview, all from my time at Rave. The course had taught me the core principles of animation and enabled me to develop a cartoony/exaggerated style, something they were looking for in candidates.
I worked for that studio for several years on countless TV shows, commercials and films. As a keen generalist, I learnt so much about every aspect of the production pipeline and progressed from a Junior Animator to a Creative Director. With no other progression available and a desire to create my own content, I decided to leave in 2017 and set up my own studio with a friend - Ritzy Animation.
Starting in a spare room at my parents house with nothing but two computers and pure determination, we embarked on what has been the most challenging but thrilling journey of my life! We spent 16 months cold calling, working on small text animations, creating logos and filling any spare time with personal projects until we'd built enough of a reputation to warrant a move to the big city.
Since then we have gradually grown and are now situated in Vauxhall with an amazing team of artists and a portfolio which specialises in character animation and all things experimental.
A typical day is briefing the team, dealing with client emails, sketching feedback and trying to manage the business. I am working hard on returning to the creative side of things, but it's hard to find the balance when the company relies on work coming in!
My advice to prospective students would be to follow what you enjoy and don't put too much pressure on yourself to decide on a 'career path' or 'job title'. Let your interests drive your journey and ambitions will naturally grow. I never thought I'd be an Animator, nor a Director, nor a Company Owner - but each one influenced the other. There are so many online tutorials now that there's no excuse not to find something you love and perfect your craft.
I am extremely thankful for my time at Rave as it provided the springboard for my career and introduced me to some life-long friends!
Ravensbourne University London
6 Penrose Way
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