Student animator draws interest from international animation giant

Wednesday, 14 September 2016


A University of Newcastle (UON) animation student has been hand-picked from over 900 international entries to produce an animated film for children’s television network Nickelodeon.

Bachelor of Visual Communication Design student, Dan Smith

Dan Smith, a third-year Bachelor of Visual Communication Deign student, will move to Melbourne to work with a prestigious animation studio to complete his short film, titled Blair and the Sea Pancake.

“I still can’t believe my work has been chosen. My film is about a pair of loose-cannon larrikins, one human and the other a stingray, who bumble through life together,” he said.

Mr Smith’s project is the result of his entry into the 2016 Nickelodeon Animated Shorts Program earlier this year. Participants were invited to develop a storyboard aimed at a young audience and nominate a production studio they would like to work with to bring their idea to fruition.

Mr Smith’s Melbourne-based collaborators remain a secret to the outside world, but he revealed they are a company he had admired for some time.

“I couldn’t be more excited to bring my idea to life with the help of a studio I really respect.

“I’ll be working alongside some of the leaders in the industry and will be able to learn from the best. The experience will be invaluable,” he said.

Dan Smith won the Newcastle International Animation Festival Animate Daniel Johns competition in 2015. His work was selected by musician Daniel Johns as part of the official music video for his song Going on 16.

“Winning the Daniel Johns competition opened up some great new doors for me. As a result, I’ve had the opportunity to work on other awesome projects like Sesame Street,” he said.

Although Mr Smith’s time at UON is coming to an end after graduation, he said he is thrilled to have started his career in Newcastle.

“The best thing about studying at UON is the work I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in. Newcastle is attracting hordes of creatives, which means I’ve been able to work on huge projects from a relatively small place.

“The bottom line is it doesn’t matter where you’re based, animation has the power to open up awesome doors and I’m so excited about where this path is leading me,” he said.

Dan Smith hopes his work with Nickelodeon will lead to assisting on further projects with the international company. Blair and the Sea Pancake will be produced by the end of 2016 to be released in 2017.