Fred Deakin

Fred Deakin is founding director of Airside, a small, experienced, innovative and award-winning media studio, working across graphic design, illustration, digital, interactive and moving image. Their clients include Panasonic, Nokia, BBC and Virgin Atlantic. Fred is also a member of Mercury and Brit Awards nominated electronica band Lemon Jelly.

What’s your connection to the British Council?
I've been lucky enough to work with them on a series of collaborations in Indonesia. There's a unique interaction possible with the local creative community through BC's presence in these areas and it's been a very exciting project.

Your current projects?
I'm making a new album under my alias Frank Eddie with a batch of animated videos to accompany it. Also I'm creating an art installation for La Gaite Lyrique in Paris for June 2012.

What/who originally inspired you to make animation?
Oliver Postgate was always a big influence, but to be honest I'm more of a director and designer than an animator and as such my work is usually much more inspired by visual artists than animators. The poster design of Tom Purvis was definitely a touchstone as were the psychedelic poster artists of the sixties.

What has been your career high so far?
Being nominated for the Mercury Music Prize with my Lemon Jelly partner Nick was probably as good as it gets. Headlining the Big Chill, two BAFTA nominations, being on a panel with Jarvis Cocker, getting my (self illustrated) picture on the front page of the Saturday Guardian, all close seconds.

What was your first job in the industry?
I worked for a really cool designer called Swifty aka Ian Swift for a couple of years after I left college. He had worked for Neville Brody before going solo and winning an award for his work on jazz magazine Straight No Chaser. It was a great education: long hours, a smokey office and lots of loud music!

If I knew then what I know now…what advice would you give to someone starting off now?
Collaborate with your friends to create your dream projects and don't wait for anyone to give you permission - do it now!

What is your favourite British animated film? Why?
I'd have to say Yellow Submarine - great visuals and of course an amazing soundtrack. We did an animated video for The Beatles a few years ago and it was another career highlight. Meeting Neil Aspinall was a treat - such a dude.

If you could have directed/been involved with any film ever made, which one would it be? Why?
My favourite film has always been Russ Meyer's Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls. No need to explain why I'd like to have been part of it. "This is my happening and it freaks me out!" I often quote that line when having a dinner party but Z-man delivers it with somewhat more authority, I have to admit.

What’s the first film you remember seeing? What was so memorable about it?
I remember watching a couple of classics with my parents: Singin’ in the Rain was a biggie and Brief Encounter also. Both felt very grown up at the time, a glimpse into the adult future.

What’s your favourite line or scene from a film? Why?
See Z-man above! "Shut up and deal" at the end of The Apartment is great as well; that was the first film I saw on my own (i.e. without parents) and I fell completely in love with Shirley Maclaine as a result. When Jack Lemmon first meets her and comments that she's had her hair cut off, I wondered what she had looked like with it long for the rest of the film.

Favourite screen kiss? Why?
I'll go with John Gordon-Sinclair and Claire Grogan in Gregory's Girl - an adolescent milestone.

Who’s your favourite screen hero and/or villain? Why?
Duran Duran from Barbarella for villain (best title sequence ever by the way) and Ray Winstone in Scum for best anti-hero.

Who would play you in the film about your life? Why?
A cross between James Stewart and Rhys Ifans - a combination of personality and physical resemblances.