Trevor Davies - A Brief Animation Biography
I'm a graduate of Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, in Vancouver. I've been running COREefx since the mid 80's, while concurrently making a living as a contract employee and free-lance animator. This approach has allowed me the flexibility to expand and contract as projects have required. I began my career at the NFB in Vancouver. I've worked for Toronto based broadcasters and studios including Nelvana, Film Effects and YTV. In the late 90's, I was recruited by St. Clair College in Windsor to assist in the launch of their new animation program where I served as the program’s first full-time hire. I've continued to teach part-time since then. I currently teach one day a week with the animation program at Sheridan College in Oakville.
|Trevor Davies at Emily Carr, building a stop-motion puppet|
What part of Canada are you from Trevor?
Born at Toronto General Hospital, back when the CIBC building on King St. was the tallest building in the British Commonwealth.
What inspired you to create animation?
I took a film-making course at a Saturday morning program at Castle Frank High School at age 14. The following year I was lucky enough to land a summer job in the film industry; suddenly at age 15, I was working at Chetwynd Films in Thorncliffe Park. They were producers of excellent 16 mm. industrials and documentary films here in Toronto, long before there was a local film industry.
After that... I became mesmerized by a lineage of some of the era's most socially relevant films:
Arthur Lipsett ("Very Nice Very Nice")
Grant Munro ("Toys")
Chris Marker ("La Jetée")
Bruno Bozzetto ("Allegro Non-Troppo")
From then on, I was hooked.
|Trevor Davies with co-worker and mentor, Dave Cox|
How would you describe your artistic style?
With live action, I employ a montage approach. For example, during the editing process when you have the need for a shot and you scour the bin for the closest thing you've got, every shot has appeal even if it's only a 3 frame loop that could be step-printed. So you find the most appropriate shot, then find the visual story element in that shot and present it with appeal within the frame.
With effects animation I try to generate elements/animation/particles etc. in the simplest way; knowing that at the compositing stage I have tremendous latitude to dial in the right look and treatment.
In character animation I try to build the animation up in a series of passes, working big to small. For broad action, I will focus on the physics For dialogue scenes, it's all about the character's anatomy or body language. For facial animation my touchstone is the thought process or the emotions the character feels.
Can you share a piece of art work or script segment that no one has seen before?
An oil painting I've begun, called "Crabs".
What role do you play in the creation of animation?
As a free-lance effects animator and compositor I work on contract for studios like Nelvana. I was recently the effects animator on the TV series "Ruby Gloom".
|Crew of the Nelvana production "Ruby Gloom"|
Trevor is in the middle on the far right (the man with the full beard).
As a Producer and Director at COREefx, over the years I have created show openings, music videos, title sequences, 3D architectural visualizations, technical animation, special effects and character animation. I often obtain sub-contracts from smaller independent studios.
In addition, as a small studio I'm involved in the development of original content, independently financed short films and co-productions.
What is one project that you are proud to have been involved in?
"Rock and Rule". I was one of two effects supervisors on the feature and cut my teeth on the project, learning the fundamentals of the craft. While not a commercial success, it's a great film and part of Canadian animation history. I once heard it lovingly referred to as Nelvana's Casa Loma.
I'm editing footage that we shot at the end of the summer. It's a short film about a rather interesting and unique Toronto experience; the modern downtown lifestyle in an accessible, vibrant, creative neighbourhood. Our storyline centers around a pick up game of hoops.
|Principle shoot for the short "Foot Fall Legato" at Underpass Park|
Who is one of your favourite Canadian animators?
Kaj Pindal, a wonderful asset to the industry, the persona of the art and of the craft. On a personal level; always positive.
What are some of your favourite animation books?
Trevor Davies' Book List:
- The Animation Book: by Kit Laybourne
- Elemental Magic, Volumes I and II: The Art of Special Effects Animation: by Joseph Gilland
- The Animator's Survival Kit: by Richard Williams
- Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen: by Steven D Katz
- Five C's of Cinematography: by Joseph Mascelli
Who is an up-and-coming or relatively unknown Canadian animator that everyone should check out?
Two talented animators come to mind. Noam for his comedic timing and economy and Rodrigo for his energy and the classic design sensibility of his work.
Are you involved with any animation organizations in Canada?
I served a couple of terms as vice-president of the Toronto Animated Image Society and I belong to CASO (Computer Animation Studios of Ontario). I also enjoy attending the Animatic T.O. events as well as the TAAFI and Ottawa festivals.
Have your films won any animation awards/accolades?
- Animation Producer: "Anglosea", United Nations produced series won International Maritime Lecturer’s Association award.
- Animation Director: "Buzz Wray and his Telephone", a 1979 indy sci-fi short directed by Wayne Sterloff. The film garnered awards and recognition from festivals in Lille France, Chicago, Ottawa and Melbourne.
- Designer/Animator, YTV: fall-launch interstitials, 2 gold BDA awards (Broadcast Design Association) presented to YTV Anim. Dept. for North American On-Air Promos.
- Effects Director on "Carebears" - all time top grossing Canadian animated feature.
- Effects Designer: "The Magic School Bus" (1994) awards for children's entertainment.
- Character Animator: "Monster by Mistake" (1996), first Toronto produced CGI TV series.
What are some of your animation milestones?
While working on "Rock and Rule" at Nelvana, I was sent to the NFB in Montreal for several weeks to supervise the shooting of "O" section (the sequence in the Disco). While shooting each day in the open camera area at the NFB, I would see Norman McLaren working just a couple of animation stands over from ours. I was impressed by the way he laboured slowly and meticulously as he shot cutout animation under-camera.
Have you written any books or blog posts about Animation or Canadian Animation?
My writing has been limited to curriculum for some of the college animation programs; St. Clair, Humber and Sheridan Colleges to date. In the past I did enjoy writing articles for the TAIS newsletter.
Is there a question I should have asked that I didn’t?
The question of "jobs in the industry" (a common student question):
I don't think there's ever been a better time to pursue a career in animation. Animation is an efficient way to communicate visually and to tell stories. Animation has fewer cultural barriers to impede reaching out to a broad audience. As the industry evolves from the Film and TV studio model of 20 years ago, animation is becoming the default form of visual communication. Define your skill set in broad terms and there will always be a market for what you can create.
Do you have HTML Links to other posts on the internet where you were interviewed about your work in animation?
I was interviewed by animationcareerreview.com in December of 2011:
For more information on Trevor and his work in animation, check out the links below.
Main Website: http://www.coreefx.ca
IMDb Credits: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0204008/?ref_=fn_al_nm_4