Designing Down Under

They are in most everything we watch or read – titles, credits, graphics – and making them is an art in and of itself. For Kelly Falconer, the appeal of motion graphics was the opportunity to express ideas in a variety of forms. Wanting to learn more than just traditional design, she came to what was then the VFS Interactive Media Program (now Digital Design) to immerse herself in the discipline.

“By teaching 3D, audio, print, and animation, the program gave me a broader knowledge of the field,” says Falconer. “I find I am more technically knowledgeable than some of the other designers who come from just a classical design education.”

Motion Graphics

After graduating, Falconer shopped her portfolio to media companies, film post houses, and local TV stations. Just three months after graduating in 2001, her persistence paid off when the Creative Director at a Vancouver television station noticed her portfolio, and gave her the chance she was hoping for.

Falconer started off doing relatively small jobs for the station, which at the time was known as ckvu13, and has since become Citytv. But even while working her way up, Falconer managed to impress people with things she had learned at VFS. “I trained one of the other designers on Adobe After Effects,” she says.

Falconer gradually moved her way into more significant roles at the station, and when the station re-launched as Citytv, was asked to design and shoot the show’s opening title sequences.

From Rain to Sun

While working for Citytv was going well, Falconer nevertheless decided she wanted to work in Australia. Admittedly, she started to think about Australia partly because of its burgeoning design culture, but even more because of the promise of sunshine. Falconer contacted a Design Producer she knew who worked for a design firm outside Sydney, and was given a chance to pitch some opening titles.

Although going freelance meant having to pursue contracts pretty vigorously, Falconer was undeterred. She paid frequent visits to graphic managers and producers, and continually updated her portfolio. “I harassed the manager of Foxtel Graphics each month with an updated show-reel until he gave me a job, probably just to get me out of his hair,” says Falconer, who was hired on a three month contract.

After completing her stint at Foxtel, Falconer was hired as a Junior Designer at XYZ Networks, a position which afforded her the chance to work with many talented designers.

She soon moved up from the self-described monkey jobs of junior design, to more substantial projects like directing graphics shoots and designing graphics packages for shows. Her responsibilities have since expanded to include conceptualizing, storyboarding, designing, and animating on-air graphics like show titles and promos.

Concept Development

In addition to her motion graphics work, Falconer is finding herself taking an increasingly active role in creative direction and even working on set. She participates in concept meetings and brainstorming sessions, and gets to enjoy the odd liquid lunch.

“I actually prefer being on shoots, researching, brain storming, working with people,” says Falconer. “I hope this path I’m on eventually takes me towards a more directorial role. I’d like to be a creative director or music video director.”

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