At 18, Paul studied for a classics degree at the University of Otago before working in different libraries. It didn’t take him long to realise he hadn’t found his calling. He’s always loved making things look pretty so he thought he’d enroll for a Graduate Diploma of Graphic Design at Massey University in Wellington. During his diploma one of his papers featured animation and he found himself immediately hooked. After finishing his graduate diploma he travelled for a year then called his university friend Toby Donald and together they started a studio in 2009. This turned into a viable business as they obtained commercial work and put together a show reel.
Paul is the first to say that the way he went about getting into the business is hardly traditional, as people generally start off by working for someone else and learning the business before moving up. His way involved a lot of trial and error as he loved animation but didn’t know a thing about running a business, so it was a steep learning curve with many ups and downs. However, it seemed the more confident he and his business partner became, the more work they got and the more the business grew.
Paul recently received funding to animate a short film, Queenie, which saw him fly to Houston, Texas, to connect with other animators there – a real community, he says.
It took Paul quite a while to find his way – he was 28 when he got into animation. The best part of working for yourself, he says, is being the master of your own day. And if you’re looking to get into animation, Paul’s only advice is to work hard, be patient, passionate and creative, and the work will come to you.