Disney Animation Artist teaching at JMC gives his advice

As an Animator, working for Disney would be considered a highlight of your career, and for one of our JMC Lecturers Damian Smart, this is exactly what he did. 

As Australia's leading provider in the creative industries, JMC Academy hires industry professionals with strong experience in their field. Damian Smart teaches Animation in Melbourne where he passes on his advanced knowledge gained from years of hard work, so we caught up with him to hear his advice for current students. 

Tell us about your history working in the industry?

I have worked in the Industry for around 20 years now. I started my career at Walt Disney Studios as an assistant animator working on such productions as the Little Mermaid II, Lady and The Tramp II and Peter Pan Return to Neverland. After leaving Disney I worked on various productions around Australia and spent a year in London as an assistant character designer. In 2007 I formed my own production company that produced animated content for television and many other different multimedia platforms. I designed and produced the 2D Flash animation series The Beach Crew which screened on Fox8 and KidsCo in more than 80 countries, from Spain to Taiwan as well as producing and animating my first short film Squirrel Away which screened in over 25 local and international film festivals. I still enjoy doing the odd freelance job and more recently worked for Salmat Learning doing animation and illustrations for Learning and Development platforms.

What was it like working at Disney? 

Working for Walt Disney was a childhood dream come true. I look back after all theses years on what an amazing experience it was and how much I learnt from many talented and unique artists. There were always in-house workshops and we had compulsory life drawing classes once a week. It allowed us to hone our craft and develop new skills.

How would you describe your teaching technique?

I would say may teaching technique is very hands on and practical.

What advice would you give to current students and graduates about working in the industry? 

I tell all my students to work hard always keep honing your skills and to believe in yourself and try to find your own style which only comes with time. ‘Most of all you need passion in what you are doing and you must always be willing to listen and learn as the industry is always evolving’.

What do you think the benefits are of studying at JMC Academy?

A huge benefit of studying at JMC is the team of experienced industry professionals, from the head of departments down to the sessional lecturers who are still actively involved in the industry, which is priceless.

To learn more about studying Animation, click here.