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by
Adam Korenman

SOM Teaching Assistant Algernon Quashie on When to Stop Learning and Start Doing

Motion Design and Music have a lot in common. From writing songs and scores to animation and MoGraph, it's all about rhythm and flow. Algernon Quashie learned to love music by following his father, and to love Motion Design by chasing Superman. His journey from rockstar to animator kept him humble, and taught him to appreciate what it means to give back.

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We had a chance to sit down with Algernon and talk about his early career, what it's like trying to remix a song, and what he's learned since joining School of Motion as a Teaching Assistant. Get those fists in the air and start the mosh pit: It's time for a special Rockstar edition of Office Hours with Algernon Quashie.

Background & Education

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!

I was born in the Carribean on an island called Tobago; one half of the country Trinidad & Tobago. I was around 5 or 6 when my family left. Today, I am married with a 2-year-old little lady. My wife’s a nurse that mostly works nights. I primarily freelance remotely. It's been tough figuring out the schedule with a toddler. It might be harder now than when she was a baby. In the baby stage, they just eat and sleep. But now, I understand parents more. My dad and mom at random points just laugh at me saying, “Oh boy, you guys have no idea.” The energy our kid has is off the wall. Either that or I’m losing my ‘jab step’ as I age.

HOW DID YOU BECOME A MOTION DESIGNER?

Well it all started with Superman, the movie. The 1978 classic with Christopher Reeve. Let me backtrack a smidge. My dad plays guitar (Hold on, I’m going somewhere with this), and has played in bands since he was a wee lad in Tobago. He once opened for The Meters.


He once left his band because the new drummer smoked weed. But being the nice guy that he is, he let them borrow his guitar and amp to play shows. Anyway...fast forward some decades later. I’m playing guitar, I’m playing in bands, I go to school for music, I started recording music, I started touring a lot. In that order.

As a musician I always wanted to compose the soundtrack for a movie. So then I acquired a copy of the 80’s classic, Superman, ripped it (early 2000 slang, for extracting a DVD to your computer), edited it down to 20 minutes, and started to re-score it. This was in my early days of “I don’t need a good backup system,” and I lost most of it when that MacBook died.

"So how did you become a motion designer?” you asked. I was working in iMovie at the time (I know, I know, but it did all I needed). During this process, I thought to myself, “I should make intro and outro titles...but how do I do that?” I picked up a copy of Apple Motion and made some titles. Then I started making random things, not related to Superman. I slowly just fell in love with making things move on the screen.

I started working on that more than the score. Then a buddy of mine said, "Hey, have you tried After Effects?” "No, what's that?" I asked. That was the beginning of the rabbit hole that I’m still in today.

BUT ARE YOU STILL A ROCKSTAR?

Still touring and whatnot at this point. My band is called Miniature Tigers, if you want to check it out. We have a new album coming out soon. Shameless plug to my boys. I’m not on it because of, you know, life, but you can find me on the previous records. To finish this long ramble, I made a remix for one of the best bands I’ve seen in my life—Pretty & Nice—and proceeded to make an animation with my new Apple Motion skills. It ain’t great, but you gotta start somewhere.


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