Success Stories - Andy Wyatt

Director of Business Development for Toon Boom Animation

My name is Andy Wyatt , I am 52 years old and I studied Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at South Essex College in 1984/5.

What did you study at South Essex College?

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design where I specialised in Photographic Arts and Moving Image.

What qualification did you receive?

I completed my foundation course at SEC and then went to study a BA in Filmmaking at Harrow School of Art which is now part of the University of Westminster.

What was your background before coming to the College to study?

I grew up in Chelmsford and studied A levels.

What have you done since completing your course?

After my degree I worked as an animator working on cartoons such as The Teenage Ninja Turtles and Duck Tales the Movie. I then joined a studio called Halas and Batchelor in London, followed by a studio called Honeycomb Animation where I became an Animation Director, animating and directing TV series including Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids. I then moved to Bristol, setting up my own studio, creating animation for the internet before working as a series director at Aardman Animations.

I have also worked as an educator, helping to set up degree programmes in Universities, and now work as an ambassador in the UK and Ireland for Toon Boom Animation, a Canadian Animation technology company. I work with studios setting up their productions, which can be TV series, Feature films or games.

Why did you choose to study at South Essex College?

I was impressed by the staff, and the student work I saw at an exhibition. It’s also great to study in a seaside town!

I was impressed by the staff, and the student work I saw at an exhibition. It’s also great to study in a seaside town!

What is the best thing about doing further or higher education?

It really develops your creativity, and is life-changing in that you get to specialise in a subject that you really love, and get to meet friends for life. It helps you progress to a great career.

What skills did you gain / are you gaining that have proved valuable?

As well as creativity, you also become more professional, meeting deadlines which can be really stressful, but college gives you experience working as part of a team which should never be under estimated.

What is your favourite memory of being at the College?

Some great people, and I remember the pride from being part of the end of year show. The environment was inspiring too.

Why would you recommend South Essex College?

For the same reasons I went…really knowledgeable staff who develop you as a person. The facilities are also incredible.

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

I’ve been part of productions that have had two BAFTA nominations… unfortunately we did not win either time, but it is a great achievement to be nominated!

What are your ambitions for the future?

To continue working in Animation which is one of the most dynamic and constantly evolving industries….when I think how much it has changed just throughout my career, who knows what will happen in the future!

Did your time at the College help with other areas of life (such as gaining confidence or maybe a skill that has helped you to pursue a hobby)?

Definitely. It built my confidence and developed my ability to work as part of a team and probably made me a bit more competitive (in a good way!)

Where are you working now?

Director of Business Development for Toon Boom Animation

What does your job entail?

Working with studios in the UK and Ireland to develop new ideas for projects. I help them achieve the look and style of animation they want.

How did you progress to your current position?

It took all sorts of experience from all the various jobs I have had to give me the knowledge and experience I needed to do the job I do now.

How did your time at South Essex College help prepare you for the workplace?

It opened my eyes to the fact that there was a whole sector of work out there (the Creative Industries) for people like me who enjoyed art and design.

How does the equipment you used at College compare to that within industry?

Actually, it is as good, if not better. Many of the studios I worked for had very limited budgets and we had to use old machinery or computers, and the studios were often in freezing cold basements or boiling hot attics!! The college has the latest software and powerful machines and air-conditioned studios…quite a luxury compared to some of the places I have worked!