In Episode 6 of the THIS IS HOW podcast from Season 2, we spoke to Sam who works as an Animator for Epic Games. You can listen to the episode here but for those who fancy a read, or might be hard of hearing, the full transcript is below.
Will You’re listening to THIS IS HOW a podcast about people forging digital careers for people who are taking the time to figure things out.
Zoe Whether you’ve just left school, college or uni or you’re already in a job, but you’re not really feeling it, we’ve made a podcast series full of tips, ideas and free advice from people who have been on similar journeys, changed things up and gone on to work in digital roles with some of the most interesting brands in the UK.
Will I’m Will Stowe, proudly from Hackney and ear and shoulder to those around me. I work for SNKRS as a co-host on SNKRS Live we have regular livestreams that talk all things sneaker culture. I also write poetry, make music and throw parties in my spare time.
Zoe I’m Zoe Mallett, I’m a life coach and radio show host. My coaching focuses on helping people figure out where they are, where they want to be, and then we work out how we’re going to get them there. I also have a radio show on Foundation FM, which allows listeners to message in with all their problems, and my guests and I offer our professional advice and tips live on a mix with some bangers.
Will We are sat here with Samuel Osinuga from Epic Games who is an animator. An you know, thank you very much for sitting down with us on the THIS IS HOW podcast with Zoe Mallett and myself, William Stowe.
Zoe So, Sam we asked you to prepare two truths and a lie, and we ask all of our guests to prepare this because we feel like it really helps us get to know you. So what are your two truths and a lie and Will and I are going to guess which one the lie is.
Sam So the first one is, well the three are, my first kiss was at the age of four, I’ve never owned an iPhone and I got the second highest score in a statewide primary school exam in Year Six.
Will So you see that iPhone one yeah? It’s a tricky one, because I know a lot of people in tech that hate Apple or like work in gaming or something that really hate Apple.
Zoe So that could be true.
Will Yeah, so that could be true. What was, I know you said first kiss at four?
Zoe As in like your first like snog?!
Will No, but that’s a spooky one because you know why, it could have been like, a kiss to like a sibling on the cheek, or something like that.
Zoe I think… I think the lie is the iPhone
Will And what was the last one? You scored the highest?
Sam I got the second highest score in a statewide exam in primary school in Year Six.
Will Again, he’s Nigerian, so like parents are like “you better get the highest score mate, we don’t do Bs in this house”.
Sam Second highest, not highest…
Will The second highest? Oh yeah, you probably wouldn’t have lived to tell the tale so you probably…
Zoe I reckon that’s true.
Will You reckon that’s true?
Zoe Yeah I reckon the iPhone is a lie. We don’t have to choose the same one though, I know we’re on the same team…
Zoe I know, I know. All right. Give me five minutes…
Zoe Five minutes?! (laughing) I think… I think the iPhone one.
Will Yeah iPhone, iPhone, let’s go for it. IPhone is the lie. Sam will you reveal the truth?
Sam I have owned an iPhone – my first iPhone was the iPhone 5 I believe, or 4S I can’t remember, but yeah, I’ve owned an iPhones 4S, 5 and 6…
Zoe Oh, like a little tricky one, ok, I like what you did there Sam…
Will Talk to us about this high score that you got?
Zoe Second highest score…
Sam Well, essentially it was an exam, I think it was to get into either secondary school or something, or just like I can’t even remember what it was because I was nine years old. But it’s done at the same time across the entire state, and in my graduation for that year when I was in Year Six and the graduation, it just so happened that the three of us who got the highest score were in the same school. So I actually didn’t know until the time, so they just called myself the girl who got the third highest and the girl who got the highest score and we just went to collect an award for smartest kids in the state or something, but it was just simple maths, English and science…
Will Just like, just everyday stuff.
Zoe Yeah, impressive (laughs).
Will Algebra, Pythagoras and all that stuff, just life stuff (laughs)
Zoe And tell us about your first kiss.
Will Oh, it was a simple thing, we were just playing doctor. (laughs)
Zoe What’s that?! (laughs)
Will Yeah what is that?! (laughs) Tell us about this game!
Sam So she was older, so she she knew what she was doing. (laughs) All I remember is “Doctor, my husband’s not feeling well” and I’m playing the husband, and then she tells the doctor who I think is his sister at this point, that, oh, I’m not feeling well and then the doctor says, “Oh, what’s wrong?” She says, “Oh, he hasn’t been bladdy bladdy blah” and then she says “Oh ok, maybe kiss him and he might feel better”. And that’s how I feel better! (laughs)
Zoe Oh, that’s cute! (laughs).
Will Tell us about your upbringing, I understand that, you know, you were born in Nigeria and talk to us about, you know what it was like growing up in Nigeria.
Sam I’ll preface this by saying I came to the UK when I was 12, so my memory at this point – kind of hazy! The main thing really with growing up in Nigeria is this I was fortunate enough to have parents who sort of, at least wanted to provide as best as they could for myself and my brother because we’re at that point, at least for most of, a long time, it was just myself and my younger brother because my older brother was like in college and off in boarding school and then the baby brother wasn’t born until a year or two before we came to the UK. So it was just literally myself and my brother getting into trouble, watching satellite television when my parents eventually got a television. We lived quite sheltered lives, if I should say that, because my dad was at that point he was working, he was high up in the police ranks, so he didn’t just want us to play with just anybody. My mum was also in the magistrate court, so she was also handling like, quite severe, and quite sometimes she’d have cases that were quite, how do I put this, not delicate but high up cases…
Will High profile cases?
Sam Yeah there you go! High profile cases, so because of those things, we were quite protected in a way. But I mean, I found my niche in cartoons and playing with my brother, wrestling with my brother, practising wrestling moves, those kinds of things.
Will So you said that you lived in a sheltered kind of way because your parents were maybe just kind of saving you from the ills of the world possibly?
Will Does that mean that you guys were able to kind of create your own worlds through like watching cartoons and fighting with each other, watching probably WWE at the time or WWF?
Sam Yeah it was WWF at the time, yeah defintiely! I remember the most creative I guess that I could say we were was we had, and bear in mind this is Nigeria, we had a palm tree in the back of our house and because I don’t know if palm trees grow in the UK?
Zoe I actually think there’s one, like I can see my neighbours got one in their garden.
Sam A palm tree?
Zoe I don’t know, I don’t know… I don’t know the facts. I’ll ask! I’ll get back to you both! (laughs)
Sam You shouldn’t have said that! (laughs) So I remember at some point when we see that the palm trees are like ripe enough or sturdy enough, we break some of the branches and then we’d make weapons, so we’d like put them together and it might make a gun, or put them together, break some bits off and then we, I don’t even know how we found the nails but we managed to find nails and I can’t remember how we found them, and then we’d nail them together to form like a sword and then we’d play. I don’t know. So a kind of shooting thing or like a sword fighting thing. And when my cousins came I think we played with them as well, because my cousing just can’t sit down. So yeah, we definitely factioned our own creative, our own world of just fun and just childish stuff.
Zoe So when was it then that you first became interested in animation?
Sam I have to say it was probably when I, and it sounds weird now, but it has to be when I got fixated on this episode of Pokemon. And it was just random because at this point we’d been watching cartoons, I’d watched Scooby Doo, Ed, Edd and Eddy, Dexter’s Lab, Cow and Chicken, I am Weasel, all those ones. But then at some point we travelled to my auntie’s house and then Pokemon is on and I remember not remembering anything else besides that. That’s just how I know that it was just captivating. I was just stuck watching Pokemon Go, not Pokemon Go, Pokemon, and then after that I started watching Digimon and then it just spiralled from then. That’s when it was just, like anything cartoon was just, I think that just drew me, like the way they moved, the way they talked, the wacky way they moved, so much that I think some people now say that I make funny expressions and that’s just because when I watch something, it’s so easy for me to start mimicking it, sound and visual. If I should say something like, ok, let’s just say Lion King, for example, you’ve seen you’ve seen the movie and you’ve seen the animation. If I should use those two animation styles, because let’s be honest the live action is animation, it’s not live action if we’re to talk technically. The animation style and the proper 2D drawn animation, they’re quite soft expression, all their faces you can see the expression when they’re sad they’re sad, when they’re happy, they’re happy. The way they move is quite dynamic and is very strong, whereas the quote unquote live action one, they try to be more down to earth, they try to be more real, they try to move differently like real lions would or real hyennas would. When they spoke, they didn’t really have that much expression on their face. Those are like two distinct animation styles. So if you’re trying to go more cartoony, you do something like the 1992 Lion King, and if you’re trying to do something more real, more down to earth, you’d animate something like the 2019 Lion King, I can’t remember what year it came out…
Will So it’s like a difference in theatrics, basically, and how…
Sam Yeah – at least with the motion, you definitely see a difference in the theatrics because if one moved more realistic, if you see something that doesn’t fit with what you thought it was trying to do you’d be like “oh that’s a bit weird” or if in the animation one of 1992 they suddenly started floating in the air and bobbing along you’d be like “uh – are they trying to do something different?” And if it’s not like a song or a sing song where you know that they’re doing that, it would strike you as weird. So at least that’s the best way I can try and explain, technically, the differences visually in what animation styles there are…
Zoe So what was your journey then from realising that you wanted to go into product design and then discussing that with your parents?
Sam The journey, that was a pretty quick one. So when do you do GCSE? At the end of Year 9 right? Yeah? So at the end of Year 9 when I wanted to pick my course, initially it was going to be music, graphic design and geography if I remember? And I found out that my music teacher that I actually liked was going away, so I thought, ok, well, I can’t do music now because the only reason I wanted to do it was because the teacher was so nice. So I then changed it to graphic design, geography and something else that I can’t remember. I told in airquotes my parents, because I mean, I was just like, “oh yeah, this is what I want to do for my GCSEs”, and they were like “all right, cool”. And then I carried on doing product design and that’s when I found out that oh, you don’t want to be an architect if you want to do different sort of designs, you want to be a product designer or an industrial designer and that was at just about the end of Year 10, when I wanted to know, when I wanted to make sure that ok when I’m going for my A-levels, I definitely picked the right course.
Zoe And who was it that you were speaking to to get advice about the idea that you had of what you wanted?
Sam That was my tutor, definitely. Because I guess I was lucky enough that my tutor was also the graphics products teacher, so I guess if she wasn’t my teacher I would have asked her anyway, so I asked my graphics products teacher / tutor to be like, ok so this is the creative thing I’m going to do, you’re a creative person, at least you’re our creative lessons teacher, I think you might know, so I asked her and she told me, so ok then I wanted to be an industrial designer. I honestly remember that conversation thinking “crap” (laughs).
Zoe So then that took you up to your GCSEs and your A-levels, and then what kind of happened post A-levels?
Sam OK, so I ended up not doing A-levels, I did a B.Tech, because B.Tech gets your hands dirty in a sense, at least from what I’d heard, B.Tech is like the vocational courses, but at least with the vocational courses you get to do more practical work. With product design a lot of it is practical. A lot of it is doing prototypes, making prototypes, working with tools, and I didn’t hear that there was a lot of that with A-levels – it could be different now, but at least back in 2000 and something it wasn’t the case. So I did a B.Tech in Kingston College, did really well cause I did really like the stuff and if I should add this at this point and go back to this, that was the first time I saw computer animation. I just didn’t know that I’d go into it in the end. So in my classroom, if I should say so in the B.Tech, our room that we used a lot was right next to the computer animation room. And every so often I’d just like poke into the door just to see what it was they were animating, or see what they were learning, but obviously that was just at arm’s length. What I was focussed on was learning Photoshop, learning the principles of design, how to make a prototype, how to make concepts, how to go from idea to conceptualisation to, you know, rendering and all that kind of stuff. But yeah, that was the first time I actually did see computer animation.
Will Sick, so it seems like you making that decision on not doing the A-level and going for the B.Tech was quite a pivotal thing, and I think that’s very important that you made that decision for yourself and wanted to get hands on with like your knowledge and just kind of practice before you went into what you was going to do next.
Sam Yeah, because I believe having the best, or paving the most accurate or at least the best pathway for yourself in what it is you want to do helps a lot because if the foundation isn’t great, it’s not going to lead to much anyway.
Will You’ve been listening to THIS IS HOW, created by Nominet and Livity. If you’ve enjoyed this conversation and you’re feeling inspired to develop your own digital skills, head over to thisishow.uk where you can find more information on all the helpful tips and advice shared on today’s podcast, as well as trying our new THIS IS HOW quiz to uncover more about what you’re good at and what job roles could be a good match for you.
Zoe And what was your journey then from moving from product designer into animation?
Sam Oh, it’s essentially by its final year, I felt like I needed a change from product design. This is a bit weird, when I started B.Tech, the room directly next to me was a computer animations lab. And I guess because I really liked animation at that point, I just kept, every morning where we were just like, stuck in the hallway because the lecturer wasn’t there yet, I’d just hover over to see what it was they were doing, what it was they were animating. And then I got to placement year and then the guy that I was working with is really into movies and I’m really into movies, he really into film, and I’m really into film, so we’d talk about film, why we like it, why we don’t like it, we went to the cinema to watch King Arthur, the one that Guy Ritchie did, which people didn’t like but we both loved there you go! So, you know, we spoke about why it was good and why it was great and then I started in placement year, I started watching why certain films are good, why certain animations are great, why this film is bad, why is an animation so bad? And that was just for fun, because obviously my work was design so I was looking at animation, film theories and animation breakdowns just for fun because I was like, I like it and I was thinking oh so yeah that’s why this worked, and that’s why that worked, whatever. Move on to final year and it’s just like my love for, you know, this media industry is growing and my love for design is staying the same. So it’s just like it, because it wasn’t necessarily dropping so much as it didn’t grow, and something else is growing and I just thought, well, I don’t want to go into this industry and do the thing that I told my dad that I didn’t want to do, which is be unhappy. And then obviously, there was a thing with, I say list to people which is nothing against design, but is more for me because there are some things that some people can handle and some people can’t handle. You know, all our strengths and weaknesses are different. So for me, I understood the constraints that animation and of media at least had. And I understood the constraints that design had and I was more happy with the constraints media had than the constraints design had. So because of that, I was like, ok, I need to change, I like film, I like animation, I like cinematography, I like everything to with media, I just like watching stuff and being and having the eye-gasm. I want to say that, and this is not like I’m sponsored by anyone, but this particular anime, One Punch Man, really blew my mind when it came to action set piece and movement on screen. Like ok, if you ask me at the moment best or favourite anime I’d say Naruto because I grew up with Naruto and like from when he was a kid through to when he grew as a character, I grew up with it. But when it comes to like, and then obviously like so with the dynamics or the movement in Naruto, I appreciate that but there some reason that One Punch Man was just so different, but still similar. I stumbled upon it in my final year of design when I was already sort of like definitely swaying away from design and going into animation so that kind of kicked me in the stomach to be like, just, you know there’s something in animation, look into it. So one evening I’m sitting in the design lab, computer labs with this dude that I barely spoke to in second year but we were mates and he’s thinking about doing a Masters in design and I’m like Masters, huh, I didn’t think about that. And that was it, literally, because if I wasn’t in that room, I probably wouldn’t have thought about doing a Masters, it’s so weird.
Zoe So you had the passion, you had the curiosity, you had the education – how did you kind of take all of that and then move into into working? How did you land your first job?
Sam Well, this goes to, I guess, another titbit apply for every job! (laughs) And I say this knowing that, I say this because when I applied, the phone call I got from the company wasn’t, “oh yeah, we really like your stuff, we’d like to invite you for an interview”, at least that wasn’t how they started the conversation. The first thing that they told me was “oh, you applied for the wrong thing”. So the job posting was for an animator, it didn’t say junior it just said animator, and obviously sometimes there are ones that say three years experience, two years experience, whatever, when it’s not ridiculous, like five years experience, I just apply anyway! (laughs) Honestly, because with animation, yes understanding the principles of design and having the educational background helps, but if you can actually do the stuff, it goes a long way. So if your portfolio shows that you can do the thing you at least get an interview and then they want to see you actually do something, to do the practical animation test is what they call it. But showing in your portfolio that you’ve got the stuff, that you can actually animate shows it. So yeah, I literally applied for everything that I came and the one that I applied for was the wrong one. I got a phone call saying, “oh yeah, we saw that you applied for this one, it’s actually not the right position because we saw that you’re obviously graduating, but we do have an opening”. That, yeah, that was it, “we do have something, do you want to come for an interview?” Yeah, you know what I’d like to, I’d definitely like to come for an interview.
Zoe Ok cool, so if you could talk us through the interview, what you think would be really good for people to know.
Sam I can’t say what the other interviewees did, but I know for a fact my understanding of the principles of animation made me approach the test in a different way because I know, I say that because when the guy who sort of like helped us with like how to set up the test and was like reviewing the staff, who had essentially trained pretty much half the animators in there in the office and in facial animation, he was like, “oh, ok, so I saw you did it this way, you focused more on like easing in this and doing this and doing that”. And then because of animation, it’s more time, like how good you can do it in as fast a time or as short a time as possible. And I was able to do a lot within the time, but do it well. And again, I only was able to do that because I knew that. ok, the importance of this is to just, I’ll just use the animation term cause I don’t know how to say this, to ease into this kind of shape more, ease out of it better, go into a lot more harder, or go in softer, peak here and drop there. All that kind of stuff I knew because I had the educational understanding of it. So on the day we get there, in the morning, they tell us what the test is, they give us six hours? Yeah, six hours.
Zoe And you have to do it with six, there were six other people there?
Zoe In like one room, all doing it?
Sam Yip, and then in the middle of the six hour test, that’s when they pull you aside to, you know, talk to you, at leats to talk to us, talk to us about like, you know wha you think of the generic questions kind of. There’s another thing aswell, I guess I can say for the interview process is it’s good to be free to express yourself, and I can only say this for the animation industry, I have no idea for any other industry, but because in animation, when we want to animate a particular shot and if is not an easy shot or an easy movement or an easy motion, we have to look for references. And it’s usually said that the best reference is yourself because at least if you know the intent of the shot and you know the intent of what’s supposed to happen, you can act in a way that helps you look at the reference. So because you’re supposed to be expressive anyway, you know in your referencing for your own shot, in the interview process, at least I was allowed to be expressive and I say this because in me trying to explain one of the things that I found, you know could be done better in animation, the only way I could do that was if I was to get up and do the motion and naturally one might be shy to want to just in the middle of a conversation of like hoping you get a job, going to get up and move around and do stuff. But I just asked them, can I get up and show you the thing? And they were like, “yeah, yeah go for it”. So being able to just like, not get out of your shell per se, but express yourself as you would if you’re having your animation reference.
Zoe And where do you learn new things? Do you have like, is there a community group? Is there online forums? Do you read articles – where can you like, learn new skills about not just the technical side, but also like the industry?
Sam Ok, so the two main platforms I go on for those kind of things are LinkedIn and Twitter. LinkedIn being the more versed into the animation side of things, particularly if you follow the right people, because the people you follow can put up their work and then you see that they’re connected to this one, you can – is it follow or connected? no it’s connecting on LinkedIn – you connect to and then, at least I go on my LinkedIn profile and I can show you like in the first five things, at least three of them would be something to do with animation, either they’re news or just references or just what we call animation breakdowns, people just like showing why this particular animation is good by looking at the principles of animation, appeal, motion, squash and stretch, framing all that kind of stuff. And Twitter, again by following the right people, is I guess is quite, not an underdog, but it’s one I didn’t expect to have that much of a use with animation, I didn’t expect it to be as rich as it is. OK, so in terms of the groups, or no the platform, you said that what it’s…?
Zoe Yeah, like forums or community groups?
Sam Yeah forum, yeah there is AnimChallenge. And that’s just like a thing where monthly there is like a particular theme for the animation challenge, so the theme the last month was “Escape”, so people had to animate around escaping and they have a chance to do exactly that. So you have that range and then you submit your animation, it could be 10 to 12 seconds long but it could be shorter, and then you get to see different entries, different interpretations of just “Escape”. One of the ones that I found really fun was some guy had two characters, one was in a motorbike, one was in a car and the motorbike was trying to escape from the car and the way that he was able to, you know, play around with the motorbike and the mechanics of the motorbike – he was jumping on a motorbike, then he jumped in the car and jumped back on a motorbike, that kind of thing, it was like “woah, this guy’s really good!”. And then it’s like, because anyone can enter, it could be someone with 5 years experience or someone with three months of experience, but you get to see the different ranges, you can study them yourself, see with your own understanding of animation and be like, this might or might not be good. And then at the end it’s reviewed by experts and then you can see the breakdown. Then you can understand, okay, why this one worked so well and at least it’s not just you looking at any random animation and trying to decide for yourself, you’re also hearing from some experts, so that’s AnimChallenge. There is Frame by Frame, I think they’re on Facebook aswell, and that’s just them breaking down animation and oh my god, they’ve got a lot, they did one on this 3-D animated avatar and then frame by frame, I think it was last month, did like a breakdown of someone who animated it, bloody hell they animated it so well. Basically they took the 2D animation and put it in 3D, it makes me want to see a 3D animated film.
Zoe And you’ve mentioned facial animation, can you explain what that is and maybe give us some examples of what we would have seen?
Sam Ok, I’ll start simple, facial animation is essentially just focussing on the movement and expression of the face emotionally through the eyes and the upper face, and visually through the shape of the mouth just to see whether the shape you’re making with your mouth is readable as the particular sound it’s making. So, not to go too technical, but the main shapes, at least that are very easy to miss and easy to identify are F’s and MVP’s, F,Vs and M,B,Ps. M,B,Ps meaning because your mouth closes, when you’re making any M, P or B shape, your mouth always closes before you make the actual sound. Mmmm. Bbbbbb. Ppppppp. Fs and Vs because your lower lip pretty much always goes underneath. So they’re easy to identify but because they did identify if they’re not done properly, it’s hard to read whether you’re saying it or ver or whatever it is. So facial animation, you make sure that those key things as well, like you are able to know read and able to put in. There are other parts of it but those are at least the ones that are to me are very easy to identify. So in facial animation we just focus on making sure everything’s readable from eye darts to eye movement to blinks to the eyebrows. Make sure if it’s sad, it’s proper sad, and the ones that are very hard are subtle ones, whereas like you’re not angry but you’re a bit miffed, so you’re not fully raging, but then you’re not fully nonplussed, you’re just… And those are hard because the thing is it takes the tiniest of distances, like how you raised the corner of your mouth and how you drop the corner of your eyeball, but in facial animation we make sure that we get those ones right because they really help to help the emotion read as that thing, because as humans we can see it, very easily. But when you’re trying to animate it, it’s so subtle that you can be off by millimetres. I’ve literally done animations where all I had to do is tweak it by dropping it down, if I had a ruler, by 2 millimetres and it read. Then that’s just what facial animation is, so facial animation is a lot more, is it macro? In that sense? And that’s different from body animation, which is just more of like big movements for the body.
Zoe And in terms of like your team, how do you all come together because you’ve spoken about when you work on scenes and when you work on projects – how much of that is teamwork? How much of it is collaborative and how much of it is individual?
Sam It’s pretty much all individual and we’re just following the direction of the lead of the project. So they set the tone, there’s like just one animation that sort of like has a broader range of expressions that we can use to say oh, so this is what it looks like, what do you think? This is what it looks like when she says… This is what it looks like when she’s shouting… This is what her mouth shape looks like when she says a particular M or B because again, we’re all different. So the way Will might shape his M will be different from the way you might shape your M because it might take you longer or it might take him longer. So we know that, oh ok so this is how this character does this kind of thing. So we have that and then it’s up to you as an individual to make sure that you’re matching that. So it’s more individual in that sense, because even though, yes, we’re all working with the same sheet, it’s not like, at least for now anyway working from home, it’s not like I’m peering over at the other guy saying, so what’s this? You know, like, let me see what you’re doing? And in any case, even if I was in the office, we might not all be working on the same thing even though the person sitting next to me ius working on animations, I might be on a different project than the guy on my left or the guy right or the lady on my left or the lady on my right.
Zoe And just quickly, where might people have seen some of the work that you’ve kind of worked on and help produce.
Sam So yeah I worked on Spider-Man Miles. There’s another one. Why don’t I remember it?! Oh yeah, that’s it – House of Ashes in the Dark Pictures anthology. So, like there’s a particular scene or cut scene where Peter Parker and Miles Morales are just about to fight Rhino, and I remember this vividly because it was literally my first shot when I started working on the thing, yeah, my first shot. So it was a scene where they were about to get ready to fight Rhino and Peter, the more experienced Spider-Man, his pose getting ready to fight wasn’t believable as somebody who is experienced in fighting because he they just sent us the data, like it’s our job to actually put some life and some character in there. So the lead is like, “yeah, that doesn’t work, we need to change it”, so I ended up with a Bruce Lee. So I just I just went to look at Bruce Lee references and Bruce Lee poses and I was just like, ok, because Peter Parker himself is a bit of a wacky character and he can be funny that way. He could have seen something. And just like, because, you know, Peter Parker is quite eccentric in his own poses so I was like alright cool. So I made a Bruce Lee pose, he saw it and was like “ok, yeah, you changed it”. He sent it off – they kept it in the game! So, like so if you watch just before he and Rhino fight in the cut scene, he does this kind of like Bruce Lee, one arm up, one arm down.
Zoe So let’s move on to the CV section and wrap up. So we have your CV here and what we like to do is we like to kind of ask you a few questions about your CV and we pretend that we’re going to potentially employ you and then at the end, we decide whether we’re gonna employ you o so can you please tell us what your career highlight is?
Sam So basically, since I’ve really been able to work on the Spider-Man game, which was literally my dream coming out of my Masters because I based my Masters on Spider-Man. So it seems like I’ve peaked early, but I’d like to work another Spider-Man game, but the fact that I’ve been able to get there so quickly in terms of like working on Spider-Man: Miles Morales would be like the highlight of my career and I’ve only just started. It’s only been a year and 10 months.
Sam And what would you say your best failure has been?
Sam Best failure, so when I was still an undergrad we had to do this project, the theme of the project was 100 millilitre bottle. So we had to design a bottle that could hold 100 millilitres of liquid and it could be water or any kind of liquid. So I went for a perfume or cologne, and I based mine on the Arsenal Trophy, the Invincible’s Trophy. So after I did all the design, I did a prototype (laughs), I thought to myself, you know what, let me if Arsenal are interested in doing a collab! So I wrote an email, put the pictures of the prototype, sent it off to an email address for, I can’t remember what email I sent it to, but I tried to find an email address I could send to, like customer service or something for Arsenal. Sent it off, never heard back! (laughs) Not even a “sorry, we’re not interested in doing this kind of thing” just didn’t hear anything back. So the only reason I count that as a failure is because at least I put myself out there and just nothing happened (laughs)!
Will That’s really interesting because our last guess before you was working on Arsenal around that time…
Zoe To pass it on…
Will Maybe it was him! (laughs)
Zoe Forward us the email, we’ll forward it to him and we’ll see if we can make something happen! (laughs) But Will and I do need a cut! (laughs). And what would your dream project be?
Sam Second Spider-Man (laughs) or Assassin’s Creed? Definitely, Assassin’s Creed cause already I’ve done Spider-Man, so definitely Assassin’s Creed.
Zoe Ok, cool. And lastly, why should we hire?
Sam Well, I believe that I have the technical ability to achieve most, if not any, animation, motion movements and body physics and expressions, obviously, with the aid of reference, but the other thing that I do bring to the table is my own ideas for character animation, I like to say that in my own acting, I bring character to my characters.
Zoe You’ve got the job!! Congratulations!!! (laughs) Thank you so much Sam, it’s been so lovely meeting you and getting to know you and hearing your story.
Sam Ah no, thank you guys!
Will Thank you, Sam, you’ve been amazing, man, this was great!
Zoe You’ve been listening to THIS IS HOW created by Nominet and Livity. If you’re feeling inspired head over to thisishow.uk where you can find out more helpful tips and career advice. While you’re there, you can also take our THIS IS HOW quiz to uncover more about what you’re good at and what job roles could be a good match for you.
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