Blog #1 - Hello
Updated: Apr 21
Hey there, thanks for checking out my (sort of) brand-new website; I guess you could call it version 2.0 of the Light On The Water Video Productions website, with a new lick of paint.
My name is William and I’ve been making films in some form since the age of 12. Although those early experiments were nothing to write home about and look more like a kid playing with toys than they do films, it inspired me to continue to create new things, eventually getting into making stop motion animations, inspired by the likes of Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run, and Coraline.
Once I became confident enough to share my creations online, I would stumble upon a highly active online LEGO stop motion community, consisting of a diverse range of experience levels and skills, some of whom had started around the same time as me and others who had been doing what I had just started doing, for 20+ years. The friends I would make and the feedback I would receive along the way, stayed with me and helped me to become the animator that I am today.
Despite taking up all my spare time, I had always intended making films and sharing them online to just be a hobby for me, until I started volunteering at a military museum at the age of 16. After the Museum Director stumbled upon my YouTube channel, I was asked if I would be able to make an introduction video, recreating the museum and staff in LEGO. This resulted in a 2 and a half minute short LEGO stop motion video called A Lego Welcome to the Firing Line. This was a really fun video to make and something I was more than happy to do voluntarily, but would lead to the creation of a follow-up video Army Training in LEGO, which would become my first ever paid project, at the age of 17 and also became one of my most viewed videos on YouTube.
This would lead to a series of commissioned films with the museum, most of which were live action; educational videos demonstrating and talking about artefacts in the collection, as well as talking about historical events. My experience working for the museum really changed how I saw what was originally just a hobby of mine. It enabled me to see how I could use my skills to create engaging and educational content for organisations, small businesses, and more broadly, the community around me. It also helped me realise that the experience of making animations could be translated into live action, expanding myself further into different mediums.
At the age of 18, I would start my BA in Film, where I would further expand my skills whilst also narrowing down the areas of the filmmaking process that I found the most fulfilling. Over the years, I had already dipped my toes into most stages of the filmmaking process; from the pre-production stages all the way to post-production, but it was my experience as a film student that opened my eyes to seeing video editing personally, as a particularly fulfilling part of the filmmaking process.
With what I now felt was a much clearer path set for me, I would graduate from Film in the April of 2022. Although university had occupied my focus for that period of time as a student, and the added impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had undoubtedly set things back, I had the opportunity to create another project with the military museum, in partnership with their sister-museum in Brecon, titled Revealing the Secrets of the Japanese Flags, a short documentary shot in early 2020, before the lockdown. It was an examination into captured Japanese flags from WWII, housed in both museums, which featured Japanese inscriptions and messages, previously not translated into English. With the help of a student from Cardiff University and specialist in translation and interpretation, the film documented the process of translating the flags and helping broaden the interpretation of the artefacts housed in the museums.
I would keep in contact with the museum at Brecon, leading them to approach me for a follow-up project in 2021; presenting a talk on stop motion animation for Year 9s at Christ College Brecon. Having this opportunity to present a talk on stop motion and give insight into the things I had learnt along the way, was a real honour and is something I have continued to do since, holding a workshop for the Grangetown Zoo community project in 2022, alongside a promotional stop motion video, and most recently, a series of presentations and hands-on workshops with Cyfarthfa Castle and Art Gallery, funded by Art Fund for The Wild Escape.
The past 12 months have been my busiest yet, collaborating with my good friend and fellow University of South Wales graduate, Mahesh Madhu - who, alongside Sam Griffiths, formed Running Clichè, a film and television production house based in Cardiff. I have edited a variety of projects with him, one notable project being Lazy Bones; a short dramedy film, currently touring around film festivals and recently winning “Best Student Alternative” at the International Comedy Film Festival, and a special video, promoting University of South Wales’ commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
After many years of making LEGO stop motion videos as an avid LEGO fan, I was hired by the LEGO Group for the first time in 2022, to make a short video promoting the Optimus Prime set that came out last summer.
I was also fortunate enough to work with fellow animator and highly talented filmmaker, Gabi Bania, on her stop motion film Nibbling of the Night, creating pre-visual mouth animation sequences. The film won "Best Film Student Short Script" at the Wisdom Tree International Film Festival in India.
This leads us to where I am today, as I write this first of hopefully many blogs for the website. I plan to create a diverse range of blogs; some life/work updates, filmmaking tips and advice that I have picked up over the years, and industry interviews with fellow creatives. I am very excited to have my website up and running again and to be continuing to build on my body of work as a filmmaker. It has been quite the journey so far and I am excited to see where I will go next!
-William (Light On The Water Video Productions)