It's safe to say that Will Marler is a young motion graphic designer with enormous potential. He's imaginative, his enthusiasm is infectious and he has a great instinct for lovely looking designs. On top of that, he's already achieved so much in his relatively short career, with an impressive portfolio including large-scale projects for international clients.
Will joined the Ember team in July 2016. We caught up with him to find out more. What we found out, frankly, makes the rest of us look like we're not trying hard enough.
Sam: Where did your desire to work in motion graphic design come from?
Will: I got into filmmaking after I received my first mobile phone for my 10th birthday that had a camera on it. I quickly began making little films with my friend. That then led to me learning about different video software and eventually getting into animation.
I'd always been interested in animated films, having grown up watching Pixar films from a young age. I remember watching The Incredibles on the night it came out; my Mum came straight to the cinema from a full day at work so we could all see it together as a family.
I then gained an interest in graphic design, so naturally the combination of design and animation - namely, motion graphics - became a love of mine.
Pep Mask is a personal reflection on your experience of living with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Why did you want to convey it through film?
CF is an invisible illness, so it comes with a lot of baggage that I don't ever speak about to anyone but close friends and family. I became quite frustrated with people not being able to fully understand what it entails, hence the film. As well as conveying the actual routines I go through daily, it was more important for me to portray my feelings and the hidden side of my illness, which I felt could only be done through animation.
My parents are characters in the film as well, and even though you don't really see them, the animation makes it possible to make their dialogue with me become characters in themselves.
What is your biggest life achievement so far?
Definitely completing the 2015 London Marathon. I'm very lucky with how healthy I am as a CF patient, so I wanted to use that to do something that many other patients can't do. I raised over £3000 for the CF Trust.
Looking at your website, you're a busy guy. What projects have you been involved with recently?
My biggest project recently has been a new dance film collective I launched with my Uni colleague Dilek Osman, called Figure + Phrase. We plan to explore human movement through dance and animation and have been lucky enough to connect with dancers and musicians already. We plan to make our first short film for around Q1 next year but have some other side projects in the mix already.
Describe how you felt when you saw your work for the BRIT Awards for the first time.
I was very lucky to land that job, and I'm very grateful to the tutors who helped me with it. I was fortunate enough to be involved in the whole process from ideas to filming, to editing, and finally seeing the work at the O2 Arena in London.
One of my favourite moments in life so far was the first dress rehearsal I experienced. We saw the visuals and heard the music alongside the live dancers for the first time, and I'd never worked with a project of this scale. It was quite magical, and I'd love to do more work like that in the future. Even if I do, that experience will be difficult to beat.
Where do you take inspiration from?
I've started listening to the podcast 99% Invisible by Roman Mars recently on my way to and from work. It's been a great break from just listening to music and I've learned so much. A lot of it is just curiosity learning, but I feel like it still contributes to ideas I have or ways of thinking.
I've always found it difficult to say that my inspiration comes from distinct sources, I feel more that my ideas and ways of thinking about design and animation are an amalgamation of things that I have listened to, watched, read, or seen in everyday life. I'm always hungry for knowledge because even if on the surface it doesn't seem anything more than trivia, I still believe it contributes to how I work.
Give us a breakdown of your work setup. What do you use to get stuff done?
I'm an Adobe certified associate so most of my work is done using the Adobe Creative Cloud. After Effects is my main tool, used in conjunction with the classics: Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere on a Mac system. I love making little notes and sketches in my IKEA notebook for future reference and also do some storyboarding on Adobe Draw. That's the general way I work, but it can vary with certain projects, sometimes I use hand drawn methods with a Wacom Bamboo tablet or even a lightbox.
What are you most looking forward to about working at Ember?
I like the idea of being able to take a project from start to finish, similar to the process I mentioned from the BRIT Awards. I've already had a chance to do that here at Ember, and I look forward to more of that. Essentially I'd like to make a difference, whether that be making new products for Regis Media, or improving the rendering workflow we use. So far though I've been consistently looking forward to coming into work every morning, which is a good sign.