Pete Gallagher is an amiable sort of chap with a vast knowledge of film, animation and television. The local lad has been working on music videos and as an animator for the past five years. This month sees the release of his new music video to accompany singer-songwriter Fabian Holland’s ode to Spring. The delightful song is accompanied by Pete’s colourful, playful animation. He talked to Lisa McManus about his love for stop-motion animation, inspirations and his new company Pet Egg Animation.
How did the music video come about?
I am really lucky because most of the music videos I work on seem to find me rather than the other way around. In this case I got a call from Mark Hutchinson at Rooksmere Records, who had seen a previous music video I directed called Old Coal Town for Victorian Dad. He liked what he saw so he asked me to come up with an idea for the Fabian Holland song, Spring.
I sent my idea across to him with some quick sketches of how it would look, what Fabian would look like and so on. Then I waited and heard nothing for a while. I kind of assumed it wasn’t going to happen at that point. Then about 2 months later Mark got back in touch and said he and Fabian wanted to do it. I was so pleased because I thought that video was going to be a lot of fun, with the style and the colours. As it turned out, it was.
Describe your style.
I would say my style is very lo-fi but charming and imaginative. As well as doing 2D drawn animation, which is what Spring is, I also love working in stop-motion animation. I consider myself a stop-motion film maker at heart. The work I do tends to be very rough round the edges but with a lot of humour to it which is very important. The ideas are more intriguing to me than slick animation.
I take a great deal of inspiration from Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python animations and old stop-motion children’s TV shows like The Clangers and Bagpuss. The animation in those shows is very primitive now, but they still feel so timeless and charming. They had a great imagination about them that I think transcends the technical inadequacies of the animation itself.
What other projects have you worked on?
I have worked on several music videos both live action and animated for local artists in the Preston area since 2010. Jamie Brewer’s video for Songbird was filmed locally in Fanaki’s Coffee Shop.
In 2012 I worked on 2 animated adverts for York St John University, for a project they were running called the Infusion Factory.
Just recently I have completed an animated short for the TUSC for use in their political campaign.
What does a typical working day involve?
It is great being able to work from home and make your own hours up but I try to be disciplined with myself and make sure I do at least 8 to 10 hours a day. On a typical day I try to get up about 9am then work till around 1pm. I then usually take a break for a couple of hours in the day get outside for a bit, go for a walk maybe, I go a bit crazy if I stay inside all day everyday, and sometimes taking a break is required if your stuck on a particular scene, time away came help recharge the batteries and make you come back to it with a fresh perspective. I will typically try to work from about 4pm through to 12am. I find working past 12am I really tend to slow down and I work better after a good night’s sleep. The closer it gets to the deadline though the more this routine ends up shifting till your pretty much constantly working round the clock on it to get it finished on time.
Who are you inspired by?
Nick Park is obviously a great inspiration to me. I love his style, the homemade style he created with Wallace and Gromit and Creature Comforts that then went on to be the defining style for Aardman Animations. Its great that he is from Preston as well, I think he is seen as a local hero to many people around here.
Tim Burton too was heavily inspirational to making me want to give stop-motion a go. I remember seeing The Nightmare Before Christmas when I was a kid and it blew my mind, just how dark and different it felt. It still feels that way today. Stop-motion animation does not seem to date the way CGI does.
Do you have a favourite animation?
Ha ha, well I think I have already made it obvious what that is, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a huge favourite of mine but overall I would have to say my favourite all time animation is still Wallace and Gromit in The Wrong Trousers. There was just something so epic yet so homely about that short animated film. It totally redefined what stop-motion animation could be. It was no longer just for doing children’s TV it was a bone fide way of telling a complex story with humour emotion and action. It packs so much in in 20 minutes, it feels like you are watching a mini movie. That was the defining film that made me want to be an animator and a film maker.
I am currently starting up a new company called Pet Egg Animation, which is about creating animated content for businesses and artists online, in my unique style. If anyone out there would like an animated music video or any animated content, please get in touch.
Pete Gallagher can be contacted via Facebook or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org