Tim Austin's online campus
Life as an animator started
with the Graduate Diploma in Animation and Interactive Multimedia
in 1993. This was a fantastic experience that culminated in friendships
that will last for a long time to come. The feverish pace set for production
hasn't really stopped since then and in hindsight my career has mirrored
the same pattern established with AIM. You try a heap of different
things, stuff a lot of it up, learn from those mistakes, and keep on going.
So here I am ten years later still running as fast as I can, still very
much associated with AIM, and still enjoying a career that continues to
be fascinating and rewarding. The following is a brief reflection on life
Out of the nest
I pretty much started my own business as soon as I left AIM. I managed
to pick up quite a bit of freelance work, mainly in CD roms for kids.
I had always been interested in the educational content delivery and this
is where I seemed to find the work. It was probably more by good luck
than good management. At this stage my idea of a business plan was work
doing anything for whatever money and subsequently eat. Once again an
ominous pattern emerged. Over the years, the more money I made the more
I ate. Ten years later I'm twice the size! I probably need a few lean
years in the physical sense rather than the financial.
So at this stage in my career
I knew a couple of things. I liked making educational stuff for kids and
I liked to eat. Thankfully I still do both.
Babe in the woods
As the frenetic pace continued I started to diversify. Not satisfied with
just doing other peoples work I wanted to start producing my own. Innocence
and ignorance combined to make this sound like a good idea. Had I known
what was to come I may well have resigned myself to being the animator
that does the little toe on Bart Simpson's left foot in some Korean sweatshop.
It wasn't long before I had some success with my own work. The interactive
children's production, 'Dragons Aren't Bad', was funded by the
Australian Multimedia Enterprise. Although the production never
made it onto retail shelves it was an incredible learning experience and
very satisfying. In order to get this funding I needed to revise my business
plan from the 'work-eat' business model to something a little more diverse.
This meant seeking business knowledge.
I'd already established that I liked kids educational stuff and that I'd
like to eat. I also learnt a few more things. Firstly, business plans
should not contain a shopping list of the stuff you want to buy or the
things you would like to eat. Secondly, you can never have too much to
do. At this stage I joined the first intake of the Masters program at
AIM. Johnny Bird assured me I had the time!
Making mum happy
Multimedia was on a very strong upward trend. I knew this because my new
business plan had told me so. My credibility in my chosen area was starting
to rise. I knew this because Johnny Bird had told me so. Both sources
proved to be somewhat truthful. At this stage I was starting to secure
some bigger contracts for kids multimedia projects. I also became the
AIM centre's first Masters graduate. I was also made an Adjunct Professor
at Swinburne University. So for both my commercial and academic pursuits
I was receiving media attention and some notoriety. When I left high school
I was voted 'least likely to succeed'. So for myself, and my mum, this
was some vilification.
Now I knew that I liked making kids stuff, liked to eat, needed a business
plan, and that sometimes it just takes a little time before your mum can
have something good to say about you at the weekly mahjong game. Mum probably
could have done without waiting 30 years. Still running... still happy
10 years on and I feel humble to be in a great career with fantastic colleagues
doing what I love. Hardly seems fair to the masses. I do try and pay back
in the little ways I can. One of the most rewarding consequences of the
last ten years is I've been lucky enough to take the aforementioned experiences,
both good and bad, and use that experience in teaching others in creative
professions so that they may avoid some pain. So after all these years
everything I have learnt can be summed up in one sentence. Find your passion,
do a business plan, make sure you eat, and make sure your mum's happy.
Tim's website: www.wwigroup.com.au
a Graduate Diploma in Animation and Interactive Multimedia at Swinburne
University of Technology in 1993, Tim started his own multimedia production
business. Before long Tim established a strong track record of securing
government, institutional and private funding as well as building a diverse
range of commercial clients. The interactive children's production, 'Dragons
Aren't Bad', was funded by the Australian Multimedia Enterprise and
was used to launch the Telstra Broadband Cable Network in Australia. The
environmental education productions, 'Ollie Recycles', 'Ollie Saves
the Planet', and 'Ollie at the farm' continue to be developed
and distributed throughout the world. These programs have received support
from many governments including the Executive Committee for the Environment
in the United States where the client was invited to present to the Whitehouse
as an example in best practice environmental education. In addition to
ten years experience running a entrepreneurial business Tim is also a
graduate from the Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship at Swinburne
University. He also holds a Masters Degree in Multimedia and is an Adjunct
Professor in Multimedia. Tim lectures in creative disciplines and entrepreneurship
for Monash University, Swinburne University, and RMIT University in Australia.
In addition Tim lectures and presents to international universities on
a regular basis. Tim continues to develop interactive material across
all levels of education and industry. Tim is currently completing his
PhD in Creative Media at the AIM Centre at RMIT.
Tim Austin, AIM coursework graduate 1993, AIM Masters by Research graduate 1999