Trevor Davies – A Brief Animation Biography
I’m a graduate of Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, in
Vancouver. I’ve been running COREefx since the mid 80’s, while
concurrently making a living as a contract employee and
free-lance animator. This approach has allowed me the
flexibility to expand and contract as projects have required. I
began my career at the NFB in Vancouver. I’ve worked for
Toronto based broadcasters and studios including Nelvana, Film
Effects and YTV. In the late 90’s, I was recruited by St. Clair
College in Windsor to assist in the launch of their new
animation program where I served as the program’s first
full-time hire. I’ve continued to teach part-time since then. I
currently teach one day a week with the animation program at
Sheridan College in Oakville.
Trevor Davies at Emily Carr, building a stop-motion
What part of Canada are you from Trevor?
Born at Toronto General Hospital, back when the CIBC building on
King St. was the tallest building in the British Commonwealth.
What inspired you to create animation?
I took a film-making course at a Saturday morning program at
Castle Frank High School at age 14. The following year I was
lucky enough to land a summer job in the film industry;
suddenly at age 15, I was working at Chetwynd Films in
Thorncliffe Park. They were producers of excellent 16 mm.
industrials and documentary films here in Toronto, long before
there was a local film industry.
After that… I became mesmerized by a lineage of some of the
era’s most socially relevant films:
Arthur Lipsett (“Very Nice Very Nice”)
Grant Munro (“Toys”)
Chris Marker (“La Jetée”)
Bruno Bozzetto (“Allegro Non-Troppo”)
From then on, I was hooked.
|Trevor Davies with co-worker and mentor, Dave Cox|
How would you describe your artistic style?
With live action, I employ a montage approach. For example,
during the editing process when you have the need for a shot
and you scour the bin for the closest thing you’ve got, every
shot has appeal even if it’s only a 3 frame loop that could be
step-printed. So you find the most appropriate shot, then find
the visual story element in that shot and present it with
appeal within the frame.
With effects animation I try to generate
elements/animation/particles etc. in the simplest way; knowing
that at the compositing stage I have tremendous latitude to
dial in the right look and treatment.
In character animation I try to build the animation up in a
series of passes, working big to small. For broad action, I
will focus on the physics For dialogue scenes, it’s all about
the character’s anatomy or body language. For facial animation
my touchstone is the thought process or the emotions the
Can you share a piece of art work or script segment that no
one has seen before?
An oil painting I’ve begun, called “Crabs”.
What role do you play in the creation of animation?
As a free-lance effects animator and compositor I work on
contract for studios like Nelvana. I was recently the effects
animator on the TV series “Ruby Gloom”.
Crew of the Nelvana production “Ruby Gloom”
Trevor is in the middle on the far right (the man with
the full beard).
As a Producer and Director at COREefx, over the years I have
created show openings, music videos, title sequences, 3D
architectural visualizations, technical animation, special
effects and character animation. I often obtain sub-contracts
from smaller independent studios.
In addition, as a small studio I’m involved in the development
of original content, independently financed short films and
What is one project that you are proud to have been involved
feature and cut my teeth on the project, learning the
fundamentals of the craft. While not a commercial success, it’s
a great film and part of Canadian animation history. I once
heard it lovingly referred to as Nelvana’s Casa Loma.
What project are you working on now?
I’m editing footage that we shot at the end of the summer. It’s a
short film about a rather interesting and unique Toronto
experience; the modern downtown lifestyle in an accessible,
vibrant, creative neighbourhood. Our storyline centers around a
pick up game of hoops.
Principle shoot for the short “Foot Fall Legato” at
Who is one of your favourite Canadian animators?
Pindal, a wonderful asset to the industry, the persona of
the art and of the craft. On a personal level; always
What are some of your favourite animation books?
Trevor Davies’ Book List:
- The Animation Book: by Kit Laybourne
- Elemental Magic, Volumes I and II: The Art of Special
Effects Animation: by Joseph Gilland
- The Animator’s Survival Kit: by Richard Williams
- Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to
Screen: by Steven D Katz
- Five C’s of Cinematography: by Joseph Mascelli
Who is an up-and-coming or relatively unknown Canadian
animator that everyone should check out?
Two talented animators come to mind. Noam for his comedic
timing and economy and Rodrigo for his energy and the classic
design sensibility of his work.
Are you involved with any animation organizations in
I served a couple of terms as vice-president of the Toronto Animated Image Society and I
belong to CASO (Computer
Animation Studios of Ontario). I also enjoy attending the
events as well as the TAAFI and
Have your films won any animation awards/accolades?
Animation Producer: “Anglosea”, United Nations
produced series won International Maritime Lecturer’s
Animation Director: “Buzz Wray and his Telephone”,
a 1979 indy sci-fi short directed by Wayne Sterloff.
The film garnered awards and recognition from festivals in
Lille France, Chicago, Ottawa and Melbourne.
Designer/Animator, YTV: fall-launch
interstitials, 2 gold BDA awards (Broadcast Design
Association) presented to YTV Anim. Dept. for North American
Effects Director on “Carebears” – all time top
grossing Canadian animated feature.
Effects Designer: “The Magic School Bus” (1994)
awards for children’s entertainment.
Character Animator: “Monster by Mistake” (1996),
first Toronto produced CGI TV series.
What are some of your animation milestones?
NFB in Montreal for several weeks to supervise the shooting of
“O” section (the sequence in the Disco). While shooting each
day in the open camera area at the NFB, I would see
McLaren working just a couple of animation stands over from
ours. I was impressed by the way he laboured slowly and
meticulously as he shot cutout animation under-camera.
Have you written any books or blog posts about Animation or
My writing has been limited to curriculum for some of the college
animation programs; St. Clair, Humber and Sheridan Colleges to
date. In the past I did enjoy writing articles for the TAIS
Is there a question I should have asked that I
The question of “jobs in the industry” (a common student
I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to pursue a
career in animation. Animation is an efficient way to
communicate visually and to tell stories. Animation has fewer
cultural barriers to impede reaching out to a broad audience.
As the industry evolves from the Film and TV studio model of 20
years ago, animation is becoming the default form of visual
communication. Define your skill set in broad terms and there
will always be a market for what you can create.
Do you have HTML Links to other posts on the internet where
you were interviewed about your work in animation?
I was interviewed by animationcareerreview.com in December of
For more information on Trevor and his work in animation,
check out the links below.
Main Website: http://www.coreefx.ca
IMDb Credits: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0204008/?ref_=fn_al_nm_4