As part of our series reflecting on Animation Mentor’s 15th birthday, we reached out to AM alumnus and Lead Animator at Epic Games, Brandon Beckstead.
It was so fun to catch up with Brandon, who’s been busy working on cool games like Fortnite and an upcoming game called Spyjinx. He’s been working in the animation industry for 18 years so you know he has some great advice. Check it out below!
Animation Mentor Experience
Animation Mentor: What’s your most memorable experience from Animation Mentor?
Brandon Beckstead: I remember wanting to make a short film but didn’t have an idea/concept that I really liked. After about 6 months of brainstorming I finally found an idea that I wanted to make but it seemed too daunting. My mentor helped me piece it together and gave me the confidence I needed to work really hard on it and believe in it.
After it was finished I really had a sense of accomplishment. It’s still one of the best memories I have doing animation, not because the film was very good but because of how much I grew making it.
Animation Career Advice
AM: What did you learn from AM that helped you get to where you are now?
BB: I first learned how deeply I needed to look at small details to really get high quality work. I had a 3 year foundation working in games before I started AM but learning from mentors who were doing some of the best animation in the world really taught me how to take things to the next level.
A fun dance Brandon animated for Jonesy in Fortnite
AM: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to current students?
BB: You get out what you put in. What I mean is that AM gives you all the resources to succeed as a professional animator—if you put in the work you will learn as much as you are capable.
AM gives you all the resources to succeed as a professional animator. If you put in the work you will learn as much as you are capable.
AM: Have you seen a piece of animation recently that inspired you? What was it?
BB: I really like the work that Mac Guff does in the Despicable Me movies. One of my favorite shots is when Lucy goes Kung Fu on the cupcakes!
AM: What do you love about animation?
BB: Bringing something to life through animation is the most creative high I have ever felt. But when you see someone else enjoying your work with a laugh or smile that is the most rewarding thing.
Bringing something to life through animation is the most creative high I have ever felt. But when you see someone else enjoying your work with a laugh or smile that is the most rewarding thing.
Start your animation journey today by learning from animators at studios like Pixar, Blue Sky, and ILM! Get more information about Animation Mentor’s Character Animation Program.