Apr 18

Pegbar and creative disobedience

I was happy to be invited to speak at Pegbar‘s event last Friday evening and what a great event it turned out to be. A big meeting of so many people in the Irish animation world and a chance to meet Norton Virgien, director of Rugrats, Duckman and now some great new shows over at Dublin’s Brown Bag Films.

As for my talk, well, I came to realise that there have been just a few key leaps in my career – going from an animator out of college to being creative director of the excellent Monster Animation and now a creator/writer/director of children’s shows. Each leap have happened when I found myself taking risks. Sometimes going against what actually would be perceived as the ‘correct’ way and always going against what would be seen as safe. Even though each career leap was different, they all shared this common factor.

For lack of a better term, I’m going to call this ‘creative disobedience’.

The most important factor in each leap (I’ll leave the stories a Pegbar exclusive for now!) and this creative disobedience, was that I cared. I believed we could do better and I wanted to do all I could to make that happen. In any creative business (is there any other kind?), having something to care about beyond yourself and the furthering of your own career is essential. Because, without that, you’re guided by ego.

And, when you’re disobedient due to ego, you push people away.

Creative disobedience, on the other hand, doing something because you have a purpose and a strong belief in doing better for the right reasons, well, that doesn’t push people away. It does the opposite. It brings people in. Sure, it can surprise them. Sure, it can challenge people and certainly challenge their accepted way of doing things. But, actually, it fosters trust. If you have a mission, you’ll be amazed at how many people will want to join you on that mission and will help you out every step of the way.

Right now, my mission is making better content for children.

Making a better world for children.

A lofty goal? Sure. But why shouldn’t I try? You know what happens if we work towards making a better world for children? We make a better world.

For anyone who was at my talk, there is one thing I didn’t get around to saying and it’s worth saying here ‘ for every leap in my career, for every risk I took that paid off, there were a hundred others that didn’t. If I were to draw my career, it would be like a tree, with a huge amount of dead-end branches. Life doesn’t always go how we want it. Norton Virgien made a great point in his talk ‘ sometimes the Universe has a way of guiding you and there are times you just have to go with the flow and let that happen.

But, like with Norton, those things that didn’t work out for me all led me to the things that did work out.

Thanks to Pegbar for inviting me to speak and to everyone who came to the talk!

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