Recently, I had got the chance to visit the actual Aardman animations head quarters in Bristol on behalf of a Creative Skill Set event. As I was surrounded in the cafeteria by many creative people and aspiring animators in university, the purpose of the event was to learn more about animating and how the employees, animators and even the founders themselves got into it. (Obviously Peter Lord and David Sproxton got in by actually founding Aardman- haha!).
Going into the building, you could see memorabilia of all the famous Aardman productions everywhere! There was a hug golden Grommit by the door, a 4ft approx morph and an absolutely massive Shaun the Sheep. It was really nice to see all the little figurines of Wallace and Grommit, Chicken Run etc dotted around. Walking through the building were scattered large figures such as a rabbit from Curse of the Were Rabbits, the windmill from Matter of Loaf or Death and the little cheese robot from one of Aardman’s most earliest productions- A Grand Day Out. All this definitely enhanced my excitement from when I had seen the last remaining set from The Wrong Trousers up in Bradford.
The evening was extremely interesting and has inspired me to make small stop motion videos on my phone, which I spend waaay too much time on. It was really incredible to be able to listen and take advice from the people who created all the national treasures that many people including myself had grown up watching such as Wallace and Grommit, Morph and Shaun the Sheep.
The evening also had time at the end of everybody’s presentations where you could get up and chat to people which gave a really good chance of networking. Aardman (or creative skillset?) paid for a load of Domino’s pizzas to be delivered for our dinner which you could have considered the cherry on the cake. But no. For me actually the cherry on the cake was when Peter Lord came over to the small table I was sat at with another guy and chatted to us. Even though a lot of my friends were not as excited as me, I was completely star struck as I was eating ham and mushroom pizza, drinking orange juice with and talking to Peter Lord- the man who created Aardman. It was a very surreal moment.
You hear stories of when people have met creators that they look up to or are inspired by and are left disappointed with the fact they just aren’t as nice as you thought they might’ve been. Well, I am glad to say that Peter Lord is the loveliest and most down to earth person. He’s quite bonkers but lovely. He showed me the pictures on his phone that he took of the Morph he made at the Oscars earlier this year. He had placed Morph in the middle of the red carpet and on an Oscar statue. He was also very kind and wrote me an autograph whilst drawing Morph on it and took a selfie with me.
The evening was so awe-inspiring and really great for getting to know different branches of the creative industry. Maybe I want to be an animator now? Who knows. Thank you for reading!