Mikey Please is based in east London. He studied Sculpture at Wimbledon College of Art, and then went on to take the MA in Animation at he Royal College of Art, graduating in 2010. Until recently he worked out of a home studio or rented spaces temporarily for the duration of a particular project. He now has a permanent shared studio with animator Daniel Ojari, based in a fine art studio space, managed by ACAVA. The space combines areas for writing, design and a small shooting space, mainly for stop motion projects.
The Eagleman Stag, his RCA graduation film, won 20 awards, including the BAFTA for Best Animated Short in 2011, Best Graduation Short at British Animation Awards 2012, and Special Jury Distinction at Annecy Festival 2011.
He is represented commercially by Hornet and Blink Ink, and is working with Warp Films and Film4 to develop a feature film.
His recent work has been primarily been writing and designing for television and film. He has also made short films for online and for one off public events. Occasionally he also works on other people’s projects as an animator, designer or compositor. He also gives talks and runs workshops at festivals, galleries and Universities.
Mikey collaborates with lots of creative on his own productions, where the team size ranges from one (himself) to eight people on any given day. He enlists the help of model makers, set designers, other animators, sound designers, musicians, actors, post production; all the personnel you might expect on a live action shoot. Mikey also has to assume a multitude of roles: writer, designer, storyboard artist, producer, animator, model maker, DOP, editor, and he handles post and some of the sound design.
Hornet and Blink Ink have both helped to fund Mikey’s most recent independent short film, Marilyn Myller, which premiered at Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2013, winning the McLaren Award for Best British Animation. Both companies have also lent their support in post production and facilities, as well as hiring in crew, and will support the distribution and publicity of the film. Clapham Road Studios also provided support during the six month shooting period and according to Mikey are perhaps the greatest unsung hero’s of non-commercial stop motion in London.
Mikey likes to show his work at festivals and online. He believes that festivals provide a sense that the films have a real physical place in the world and connect directly to audience, whereas online connects with a greater audience and gives the work longevity, and sense of a collective body of work that a DVD once provided.
STATE OF PLAY
Although making music videos helped to fund his Masters degree and aided him in developing his work, Mikey stopped making music videos in 2012, as the available budgets were not sufficient for his labour intensive practice.
Most of his personal work has been made in educational institutions (RCA & Wimbledon) and was funded by a combination of loans and working; non-animation industry related work whilst at Wimbledon, and commercial animation whilst at the RCA. Mikey has found it difficult to find a means to make his own work outside of educational institutions.
His recent film, Marilyn Miller, was funded without public funding through a combination of production companies (Blink Ink and Hornet), in-kind support from Clapham Road Studios, self-funding, and an independent investor. Where possible, Mikey pays the people working on the production, but some of the work is also unpaid. He had to work full-time for 6 months on this last short, living off of his personal savings. The funding he raised covered facilities, a few key people and the materials, and the majority of the equipment was loaned.
“I think a lack of platform is a real problem for short-form animation. I dream of the day we scrap deodorant adverts and bring back pre-feature cinema shorts.”
“It’s a shame DVDs are defunct, I think when I started out just a few years ago the idea of making work with the intension to build a collection for an anthology of my work seemed like a sensible goal. Now of course that seems less realistic.”