Dara McGarry is Artist Manager at Dneg Feature Animation. She will be in Paris on April 11th and 12th for our Feature Animation Roadshow. Do you want to meet with the team and learn about our current and future job opportunities in Feature Anim? Register your interest here and read on to know more about Dara and Dneg Feature Animation!
Prior to joining Double Negative, Dara spent over fifteen years working for Walt Disney’s Animation Studios in production roles while also bringing the characters to life with voiceovers on feature films such as Hollywood Abbey (Chicken Little), Mrs Harrington and the Receptionist (Meet the Robinsons), and the multi-award winning global phenomenon, Frozen.
Hi Dara, what is your role in the Feature Animation team?
I am the Artist Manager, which means that I help build the team, make sure the team members are happy and getting the support they need. I’m also responsible for training and talent development.
Who are the Feature Animation team at Double Negative?
We are very excited to have Corey D. Smith (Gnomeo and Juliet, Chicken Little) and Philippe Denis (Trolls, Shrek, Madagascar) on board as our VFX Supes. David Peers (Mad Max: Fury Road, Happy Feet & Happy Feet Two) joins us as Director of Photography with Jason Boose (Little Prince, Up, Ratatouille) as Animation Director. Combined, they bring decades of experience! This dream team comes from over seven different countries with experience from studios including DreamWorks, Disney, Pixar, Animal Logic, Illumination, and Sony.
What is it like to work for Feature Animation at Double Negative?
It’s a fun, warm and collaborative creative environment where artists get the opportunity to engage with other talented artists to make beautiful pictures. An average day consists of group meetings, rounds with the Supervisors and dailies once, the shows are up and running: there are always lots of laughs, guaranteed. Training is taken very seriously at Double Negative. There are also opportunities to work in other divisions and openly engage with other artists in a non-formal way. User group sessions are run across the business involving peer-to-peer learning for solving technical issues and creative challenges.
Who are you looking to hire?
At the moment, we are interested in all disciplines, especially rig, layout, and animation. Hiring for these roles can be challenging. Layout is tricky, as we’d like candidates to have previously worked in feature animation, as artists need to have that in-depth knowledge of camera language and cinematic experience. Rigging is a specialist field and very technical, while the animators we are looking to take on need to be able to breathe life into very stylised characters to make them totally believable.
It is such an exciting time to be joining Feature Animation at Double Negative, as it is a brand new division and we’re working in partnership with world-class animation studios and directors! We’ve been actively building the division over the last two years and we’ve started work on our first project, with the next two projects deep in development. We’re super excited about the next few years ahead. Coming in at the ground level will see you embark on a long-term animation career: with dedication and perspiration there’s no limit to where your career can take you 🙂
What do you look for in the talent you work with?
What I really look for when meeting candidates is their demonstrable passion for animation and film. It is vital that our artists love what they do and are looking to be part of a long-term animation family. In terms of personal characteristics, I look out for talent with a high level of self-awareness and those who are genuinely interested in collaborating with other artists: you could be a brilliant artist, but if you can’t check your ego at the door and build positive working relationships with those around you, your career is going to be limited. Being able to listen and accurately follow the creative brief is also crucial.
How hard is it for a self taught animator to break into the industry?
When we look at animation candidates, we look at the reels, not which University you attended. As long as you can show your talent, that’s all that matters!
How much acting experience do I need as an animator?
Especially in feature animation where acting is key, it’s great to have some experience in the fundamentals of acting or improvisation. Blocking scenes are a great way to solve creative challenges. Animators more familiar with acting have a greater understanding of the physical manifestation of certain emotions. Undertake personal projects either on your own or get together with friends and make shorts. Taking advantage of module based, self-learning workshops and tutorials through iAnimate and Animation Mentor are a fantastic platform for self-development, and you get to have your work critiqued by Disney and Pixar professionals. This is also a great way to demonstrate to potential employers how passionate and dedicated you are to developing your craft.
Last but certainly not least, why would I want to come and work for Feature Animation Double Negative in London?
Dneg Feature Animation is a world-class animation studio with some of the best talent in the business. Our beautiful, bright modern offices are within a ten-minute walk to Oxford Street and a fifteen-minute walk to beautiful Regents Park. We are a stone’s throw away from iconic theatres, museums, galleries, restaurants and shopping: who wouldn’t want to do their dream job and have all this too?!
Before you go, check Dneg Feature Animation full job listings!
See you all in Paris!