Ricky Gane is a freelance motion graphics creative based in Dorset. 15 years ago he offered to do a week's unpaid work experience at one of Bournemouth's biggest advertising agencies.
They were so impressed with his attitude and work ethic that they offered him a part-time junior artworker position on the studio's evening shift. A year later he was able to quit his job in an insurance company’s complaints department and pursue this career full-time – all without a university degree.
He's since worked for Dyson, Starbucks, the RNLI, Walkers and on loads of other cool projects. Rick talks digging dirt jumps, being honest and working from the ground up.
It’s okay if things don’t go to plan
I wanted to work with computers from a very early age, but I didn’t know how to get to where I wanted to go. I had no idea what options were available to me at the time. The school I went to, most people went into a trade – plumbers, carpenters, builders – but that didn’t interest me.
There wasn’t really any support for someone like me who was a little bit creative, a little bit artistic and interested in the creative industries, but not enough to pursue a career as an artist. So I put it on the backburner and went on to study A’ Levels in subjects that I wasn’t really interested in. Unsurprisingly, this meant I spent most of my college time digging dirt jumps in a field, riding my BMX, going down the arcade or watching Toy Story at the cinema.
Creativity is an escape
I went to work at an insurance company straight after college. While there I used to draw when I was on the phone to customers. I needed something to keep me sane. After a while, I got fed up and frustrated with the situation. I chatted with a friend on the way home from work about it. He was a designer at a local advertising agency and seemed really happy with his job. The path he took was A’ levels, art college and then university. I thought I can’t do that, so how does someone like me get into it?
I decided to apply to the Arts University, but at the same time I also asked to speak with his studio manager. I wanted to ask him a bunch of questions to figure out if this could be a career for me. He was really nice and offered me a week’s work experience, so I just took some holiday at the insurance company. As soon as I went through the studio door I got a feeling that I’d be happy spending my time doing this.
Everything happens for a reason
At the end of that week they were really impressed with my enthusiasm and work ethic, and said they’d keep me in mind if anything else came up. I was really excited – finally it clicked that I knew what direction I wanted to go in. A few weeks later, I got a letter through, accepting me on to the course I’d applied for, I just had to set up a meeting. Brilliant, I’ll go to university…
But on that same day, the advertising agency studio manager contacted me and said they were setting up a night shift, 6-10, Monday to Friday – was I interested in the job? I had to weigh up going to university or getting my foot in the door at one of the biggest advertising agencies in Bournemouth. I decided I had to take that chance.
I was working in the daytime at the insurance company, finishing there at 5pm then going on to the advertising agency. It was tough; it was hard work. After a year, they shut down the night shift and I was lucky enough to be brought on board full-time in the studio. It meant I could quit my job at the insurance company and focus on graphic design full time.
Learn from those around you
Turn every event, every experience – whether it be good or bad – into an opportunity to learn and improve. I think that every interaction, every person you meet (whether they be older or younger than you) has an interesting story and some good advice.
Be open minded. Be friendly, be genuine and honest with people. If you’ve made a mistake, own up to it, learn from it. Nobody’s perfect. Recognise your weaknesses – everyone comes up against problems, but chances are the person next to you has come across that problem many times. Ask them and they will be happy to help.
Walk your own path
One of the things I’ve battled with in the past is a ‘what if’. A lot of the opportunities that didn’t go my way, I couldn’t help but think it was maybe because I didn’t go to university. But, ultimately, I needed to go on the path that I did to get me where I am today.
To face and overcome challenges is part of being a designer. Designers take a problem and create a solution for that problem. Essentially I designed my own career. I was unhappy working in insurance and I changed routes and, through a lot of hard work and determination I got into another career that I loved and still love to this day. Who could ask for more.
What is a motion graphics creative?
What do you get when you cross a graphic designer with an animator? A motion graphics creative! They specialise in making moving graphics and video, which can mean anything from animated shorts for YouTube and social media to titles at the start of TV programmes. Motion Graphics creatives normally use software such as After Effects to do their work.