Introduce Yourself : Help! by Peter Butler

Peter Butler


Hi everyone my name is Peter Butler. First off I want to say how much I love Stage32, it's great to be able to connect directly with such talented people within the industry which is one of the reason I'm posting this here. If you're wondering why the strange title for my post it's because I'm in a situation that has responsibility on one side and dreams on the other. I've written a little bit of a back story as I feel I need to let you know how I've got to where I am but if you want you can always follow Tim Bisley's advice from the TV series Spaced and "Skip to the end". I've always loved storytelling from the moment I picked up my parents JVC video camera in 1982 at the age of 7, I knew I wanted to make movies. I spent years shooting films with friends and family learning everything I could about the art of movie making. I decided in order to make movies, I needed to know everything there was to know, from directing to special effects (foolish I know). At the age of 18 I worked for an editing company in London. Unfortunately that company closed down and at the age of 20 I found another job, this time in the computer games industry. I'd always had an interest in CG and so I felt this would be a great way to learn VFX, which it was. Problem was, real life got in the way, meaning paying bills, mortgages and all the other crap that life throws at you. And so the small stint in the games industry became a career. Now I'm not complaining, after all working in games isn't exactly a terrible career path. But my heart was never completely in it. I missed the thrill of film making, the buzz of working with a crew and actors. The thrill of getting that perfect shot after two dozen retakes. The satisfaction of seeing all the hard work coming to life in the edit. And so after being made redundant in 2011 I decided it was the time to get back to following my dream. I decided the first thing was to test the water by creating an animated short film. After all I'd spent 11 years of my life learning computer graphics so I might as well use it. After 6 months I finished my first animated short Baggage, which if you like, you can view below. It's only 3 minutes long. Baggage went on to win at a number of film festivals and has given me the confidence to believe in myself again, something I'd lost while working within the games industry. And since then I've also started up a film club/concept called 22 days later where by I have to make a film from to script to screen within 22 days using suggestions from Youtube users You can view my blog all about it here and the first (silly) film here Second movie trailer here The problem is as I'm sure you all know, there's not much money in short films and so I begun shooting corporate work where ever I could find it. It was ok, because although I didn't have a lot of money coming in I still had enough to just keep afloat and also have the time in between work to carry on working on shorts. Freelance work has dried up and I've realised that to really get my foot on the career ladder in the film industry I need to find a permanent position, even if it means starting near the bottom. And this is where my big dilemma comes in and where I'd love your help. I've just been offered a job, a very well paid job too. Problem is it's back in the gaming industry, the area I was trying to get out of. It's also 240 miles away from everyone I know. There's an added issue too. I have a one year old son, he lives with his mother, we split up 4 months ago. So I've got two options. If I take the job it will obviously solve my money problems but everything else about it feels wrong. If I don't take the job then I can continue my dream but still have massive pressure of finding that open door into the industry I love. To sum up. I feel that if I take the job I'm going up a ladder but it's the wrong ladder. I'd rather step off that ladder and start from the bottom of the right one even if it's for a lot less money. But then morally should I just forget my dream and just think of the extra money I could give my son on top of the normal amount I give? I just feel I need to find that break, is Stage 32 the first step? Thanks for taking the time to read all my waffle. Peter

Quinn Katherine Stone

Trust your instincts. If you have to go back to gaming, do it close to your son, and keep pursuing your dream on the side. That's my two cents.

Peter Butler

Thanks Quinn, very much appreciate your advice. My son lives with his Mum about 120 miles away which is pretty much bang in the middle between where I am in London and where the job is. So in terms of distance it would be the same. My concern is by not actively meeting people in the film industry on a day to day basis I'm never going to get the connections I need. Stage 32 is a great site but people buy people and it's always going to be easier to get hired from people you've met. Thanks again I really do appreciate your input.

Jason Morris

Peter I am super inspired by your story, you are an amazing talent as evident by your short Baggage. If I was you, I would set a time limit goal. Take that job make as much money as you can spend as much time as you can with your child and late into the night turn Baggage into a feature animation. I guarantee you will get distribution and make some money and get noticed. You don't need to meet and connect with people to make this kind of project, you CAN do it all by yourself or you can use the internet to connect and find other animators that can help, go from there but being broke and struggling is no way to reach for your dreams.

Lindsey M. Foulkes

I cannot express the amount of LOVE I have for this! Freakin' AWESOME!

Peter Butler

Thank you Jason for your kind words. I'd love to get distribution but that's one area that I really need to know more about. If you have any tips on how to do this or can point me to some good articles that would be brilliant. Congratulations on doing three features by the way, that's a massive achievement! And thank you Lindsey, I'm really glad you enjoyed the film. I see you do dialogue editing, I'm always amazed at how people master this dark art.

Kimite Cancino

I absolutely Love your work. I hope it leads to greater things in 2014, because u are so talented. wow

Juan Pete Diaz

Work of a pro! Great work in ALL areas!!! Peter follow your heart for your mind will give you excuses not a reason,and you already hold your reason. Stay in touch. As a creative writer and owner of a very small production company, I will need your service and talent. The lord will bless you,just ask him. Juan

Richard "RB" Botto

Wow...What a fantastic post and a remarkable piece of work, Peter. I agree with Jason, not only that your story is incredibly inspirational, but I also agree with his advice. Keep driving forward, believe in yourself, and be motivated by every "No" along the way.

Lee Chavis

Hi Peter, I found an actor and composer (from Portugal -- imagine that!) for my first short. And now it's featured on First Rites Films. All three came from Stage 32. This is a great community. Doors will open. Patience and perseverance work in mysterious ways. And by the way, I loved your film!

David Dion

Awesome work here Peter, your gift will open doors for you and you are gifted. Follow your heart and do what you love!

Gene Cuvier

I agree with Chavis. Doors will open. I enjoyed your short film. You have an ability. Don't forget that, keep up the hard work and hold on to your drive.

Whitney Forrest

That was great!

Peter Butler

Wow! What can I say other than everyone here is amazing. Seriously flattered that you took the time to read my post and enjoy my films. Every comment has such great advice. I think my biggest problem is getting myself out there. I'd love to enter more festivals but the costs really add up as I'm sure everyone on here knows. It's great to know that this site has such good support and such awesome talent. It's given me the courage and belief to carry on doing what I love. which is telling stories. Thank you all.

Milt Barlow

Hey Peter I love Baggage. Could you upload to our site and your other films ...the world should see more of this. As to your future decisions its tough mate....sounds like you will get the money but hate the job. I would only do it if it opens more doors to what you really want to do - animated film. In the meantime I would get your show reel out everywhere. You are talented and WILL get where you want to be. Send it to PIXAR ...nothing ventured nothing gained ! Best Milt

Dwaine Govan

Peter, I was in a similar situation in which I had to decide happiness pursuing the career I wanted or chasing the money that accompanied a job that I didn't want to do anymore. I chose happiness pursuing the career I wanted because it would be the same advice that I would give my sons. What does the money matter if you're not happy? I suggest following the advice that you would give your son. Either way, I wish you much success in all of your endeavors.

Laurie Ashbourne

Hi Peter. Welcome to Stage 32. I completely understand your situation, here's the way I look at it (and have had to similarly deal with it) take the job that will get you on your feet, but use some smart time management and always be working on your own stuff in addition. The job will not only help your pocket it will give you the safety net of cash flow to invest in your own work (not to mention your son -- they only get more expensive as they get older) maybe as others have said give it an unspoken time limit -- but truly when it's meant to be over it will be. The fact of the matter is, you are a storyteller with marketable skill sets -- so in a way you are in the industry just put yourself out there more, I can say this for certain -- there is no better time to be a writer with chops in animation and VFX and that is because of online tech and the global opportunities it brings. Stage 32 will certainly help in that regard. Use the money you make to help pay for some festivals, or production tools, or pitch fests and build your reel/website. The key is if you are doing your passion work when the other work is over -- you're not sacrificing anything. Put yourself out there online and soon you'll have the connections that want to meet you in person. Just look at the response you've gotten here already. Best of all to you -- remember, there's no wrong choice only different paths to your goal.

Jacalyn Evone

Gosh Peter, I was much like you. I became a real estate broker in order to afford my craft, however the industry consumed me. I ended up with a brokerage of 35 agents and 4 staff persons, 12 hour days, 6 days a week and no time for my craft. When the market changed, I found the opportunity to jump full time into doing what I have always wanted to do. A year ago, I found myself in the emergency room where I stayed for 6 days. If the doctor had not done one last test he would have sent me home where I would have died. I think about that day a lot, because when I was feeling ill right before going to the emergency room I was sitting at a board meeting with a group of people that never agreed, made me feel miserable, and likely had a lot to do with my failing health. When I think about it, I think how that could have been my last day on earth surrounded by people I did not want to be around, doing something I really did not want to do. I know if you have family, you have to bring in some income, but you also have to figure out a way to do some without being consumed. I learned my lesson, and while I am not bringing in the money that I did when I was running my brokerage, my heart is rich in wealth because I am doing what I really want to do. If you ask yourself if this is the last day you had on this earth would you be doing what you want on that day and the answer is no... you must make the changes before it is too late. I still have my brokers license and will always maintain it... it is my parachute, but I hope I never have to use it again.

John William Doryk

Peter, great animated short! As a professional composer who's been in the "business" for over 25 years, I can say that I completely resonate with your predicament. To follow your heart and gifts or follow the money(but not necessarily passion). It's a tough situation. And it changes with time. Sometimes I've gone after one, other times I've had to pursue the later. Most of the time I compromise and pursue a little of both. Hang in there and , most importantly, don't give up and don't stop pursuing your talent.

Rhonda Husak

I think we have a support group started for you! I've been pursuing an acting career for years but family and life issues always came they should, but you always follow your dream. Jaclyn had great advice!! You have a right to be happy but so does your son and his mother. They'll need YOU more then the money. I'm suggesting: take your baggage video..which I loved... And market it to airlines for them to show on boarding or in-flight. Maybe you.could even make a safety video. It sounds like you have good ideas with the YouTube requests but now you have to get your product out there to the people with the big bucks.I'm an actress/flight attendant and would be happy to help you anyway I can. I think you're going to make good connections on stage 32. Keep us posted.

Laura Lewis-Barr

Hi Peter, I wonder if you can have both, the financial stability and the dream? I know it's hard to find time for both but sometimes the obstacle can create the impetus. btw, if you're ever looking for an animated screenplay, let me know.

Peter Butler

Once again, thank you all for the over whelming words of encouragement. Some great, great advice and some very touching stories too. I turned down the job offer today. Every part of me was saying taking the job would be the wrong thing to do and as Jacalyn mentioned in her very touching post, you end up getting consumed. And I believe that would of happened, as I was going to be head of a team. I'm going to look for a job nearer to everyone I know including of course my Son. I'd prefer to take a job that wasn't as demanding allowing me to have the time to follow my dreams. I'm just at an age now where I feel if I don't pursue this then I probably never will. Thanks again for all the amazing words of wisdom, they really did help me make a decision.

Laurie Ashbourne

Firm decisions open doors! Keep us posted.

Milt Barlow

Good for you Peter! Hope it all goes well for you throughout the year and keep all your friends at Stage 32 posted. Best Milt

Milt Barlow

Great idea about a safety video for airlines...Peter Air New Zealand has done some amazing and funny safety videos...for the first time passengers actually watch a Google search and check them could do a 'safety video' using your animation skills and sell it to the highest airline bidder. Once you have a contract go back and rework it with the airline branding...let me know if I can help. Cheers Milt

Peter Butler

With all this support and great ideas I feel a lot more confident about find the right path now. Many, many thanks!

Daren Allen Seifert

This is great! I enjoyed this very much. Most people discard old items without realizing the sentimental value until it's too late, or maybe not at all. Nice Message, great animation, and nifty sound. 5 thumbs up.

Gizelle Lue

That was a great!! I thought Baggage was fun!! Keep following your dreams and trust that it will all work out!!

Mikki Hall

Money isn't everything. I refused and gave up good paying jobs because they would have interfered too much with my job as a parent. As a result, we struggle financially but I've got extremely cool kids. They know they are loved and are more important than things & money. Every person has to make their own choices in life but if I were in your shoes, I would continue working towards that dream because that dream keeps you near your son. But that's just me. Good luck.

Helen Stirling

Well you can fund your dreams packing bags at the supermarket which keep you closer to your son.

Justin Dean

Love the short film baggage, you have to do what you feel is right, I made the decision to not work away from home anymore when my daughter was born and im glad i did it, money helps but other things in life are more important.

Tina Field Howe

You do brilliant work, Peter! Do what you have to do to survive financially but keep doing your creative work. You'll get there!

Claudio Napoleoni

Ahh ..that's a doozie! BUT! Assessing priorities... I would say.. there is NOTHING like family, and life is like a BAGGAGE. Peter, stick around and still shoot for the stars... they will repay your decision and give you what you are looking for. Perhaps also a mid-point can be negotiated. With software that enables you to stay connected to any office around the world... would it not be feasible to make a proposition to this employer, for ...say...half the money to do the work part-time? no fringe benefits to pay off to you right ? and still quality work performed ?! the proposed scenario ... stay where you are ... and do the work from a remote location,...all while, still having time to peruse your dreams??. Heck that is what I managed to do ! Do what feels right, and when there are kids involved... It an easy decision that ALWAYS pays off in the long run! Just laying the thick my syrup over your waffle bud! PS I love the short, no sound though? Claudio Napoleoni Voice Actor / Narrator

Yanil Molina

I love this story. :-) I really enjoyed watching it. I wish you all the best!

Mark Schaefer

We loved the film over here. (watching with my 5 year old). Great Job! :)

Diana Eiranova-Kyle

Beautifully filmed and wonderful message! Loved the score as well. Congratulations and good luck!

Joe Riley

Hi Peter, I met you at 'Tight Shorts' and would love to stay in touch with you! Joe

Johnny Blue

Truly great work Peter. I love the attention to detail in the comic twists of the script as well as the animation, I just shared it on my Fb page.

Carlo Fiorletta

I like this and the Lollipop Lady Killer. My advice given your situation ( I am divorced dad, since re-married and kids grown ) is to take the job. 240 miles is about 4 hours drive. I was a couple hours from mine. Try to work out a long weekend every 3-4 weeks or so to see your child. Save your money. To make a good feature and have any chance for distribution, real distribution, will need name actor(s) and luck. I can discuss our feature SURVIVING FAMILY with you, Gaming is entertainment and can be important in education also. Good luck.

Mike Grell

Well done, Peter! An introduction, pitch, resume and bio all in one. BAGGAGE is brilliant.

Frankie Pace

Funny Innocent Cute Clever and Memorable.....good work

Shelly Paino

I feel your pain, have been doing that dance on and off for 15 years now! Balancing day job, family and up late nights or early mornings typing screenplays, wondering if this is going to be the one to take off. The dream usually takes the back seat. And unfortunately it probably should when weighed against having a job and spending time with family.

Ritesh Jeswani

Hi Peter, You should be slightly glad to have this problem. Hopefully this is a solution. The game industry has been using a lot of filmmaking pool to develop new ideas and the way things are headed, the gap between the two industries seem to be getting smaller. My inexperienced mind would suggest taking the job whilst looking for opportunities to perfect your filmmaking skills within the industry. Also, having a well paid job also means being able to afford tiny productions of your own. And if the problem is about filmmaking eventually taking a back seat, that completely depends on your resolve to make time for it even if almost sporadically. A tip one of my professors shared was "no matter what you end up doing after your masters, even if it's selling credit cards, never stop writing." Hope this helped :)

Peter Butler

Thanks again everyone. I've made some great connections on here through your help so fingers crossed it helps me start on the career path I want to be heading.

Jolyn Janis

Hey Peter! Yes! I love that analogy - stepping onto the bottom of the right ladder. I recommend specificity at this point. Starting with getting really clear about what exactly you want in the industry. What ladder do you want to create. Whats your ideal situation with income, creativity, films etc. Then find the means to make that happen. I think that in creative fields, we tend to meander around with whatever comes our way, which is fine, but years later, we could very well still find ourselves meandering and understandably so. To have a clear focus is key to enduring long term sacrifices but also open ourselves up to being in communication about what we want. I find that when i start to get 'heady' - as in, over intellectual, about what to do next, I know i need to get clear on what i WANT to happen, pursue that and everything else kinda works itself out. You must know about that amazing yet elusive phenomenon, as a fellow freelancer :) I speak of things happening for myself in this way, though I'll mention a good friend who also is making the shift, very successfully at that and I think you may be inspired. He is a motion graphics artist, does title sequences for features. He wants to get into directing, but the title guys just don't often have inherent connections to the production guys in order to get in that field. They don't always get invited to the parties, lets just say. So, he got tired of his job, was bummed for a while and then got clear of what he wanted his career to look like as a Director and is pursuing that in order to show ppl that he can do it. Meanwhile, the title design pays the bills but its even more fulfilling because instead of living in resentment of doing what he doesn't really want to do anymore, he wakes up passionate about pursuing the film he's Directing and time does seem to expand when we pursue our passions. Also, using your resources to your advantage is key. This same friend currently has the FX technical director from Gravity on board for his short for example, as that guy also wants to do creative, fun stuff amidst what also pays the bills. Even at that level. So glad you got into dialogue about this. I think that's key also to working these things out, if only to not feel alone :) As for Stage 32, Im not one to say for sure, as I just started connecting here, though I hear lots of ppl making connections, so you never know. I met a working TV director and a photographer I'm now collaborating with on a shoot on the other day pretty much right after I signed up. Never know. I think your work is stellar. You'll do really well for sure. You're already doing really well for sure.

Jessica Cherniak

Congrats!!!! Great Job!!!!

Jalynn Venis

Wonderful work, Peter! I loved baggage! I also agree with Jolyn -- follow your passion.

David Lee Melton

Now that was really good!

Nicola-Jayne Wells

Wow, it was fab, I loved it... your work is amazing.. cant you send it to Pixar.. Do what you love...and what you enjoy, we are only here once...I totally understand where you are at the mo.. Im there at mo, I love doing hair and make up and writing, Ive written two feature films and two shorts.. but have no idea how to produce..bills need paying and so Im working in a college.. part time, but by time I get home, Im just doing it at weekends.. now im waffleing!!! Thank you for sharing it, I am poorly today.. it brightened up my day x

Tabitha Baumander

I'm 54 years old. Trust me life gets in the way and continues to do so. The thing about being an artist no matter what the medium is you have to do both. It never gets easier and you lose out on a lot of stuff other people do because they have time. Until or if you make it you will have that juggling act. Sometimes you will have to pay more attention to the regular world sometimes you will be able to focus on what you want to do. If your lucky you'll make it. But you wont make it if you don't keep trying. I'm still trying and have been for a long time. Learn your business. Keep trying.

David Lee Melton

Nicola is right it should be on the big screen.

Jo Ann

I really enjoyed it. Great work. Congratulationsss Peter!!

Meredith Heinrich

Wow! I adore your film - so much heart in this little gem and can understand why it has won at festivals. You are uber talented and a gifted storyteller. Keep sharing your work and just keep taking steps forward. So glad you decided to turn down the job and stay near your son - he'll forever be your north star.

Jo Ann

I already posted a comment on your charming film, but that was before I read your story, which I ve just seen... It s a full feature script , your quest. I was moved. I wish you all the best- and stay true to your dreams and your values, your son. I admire that !! I have written a script for a short film I want to make and it needs some animation effects, as we must see a fotograph come to life and become a dream sequence. I have a bit of a budget .. would you be willing to work with me on it. This is a fabulous platform, stage 32- my sincere thanks to you for using it to share and to RB and talented team.. pls connect with me to get back to me here or email me at

Tina Field Howe

Loved your short! You have to do like so many of us do - do both the day job and your creative work. Someday your creative work will support you.

Rebecca Doherty

Hey Peter, What a great little film :) I understand what you're going through mate. I gave up a boring yet well paying job in Oz to come to Canada, where I'm doing an internship while working a part-time job that doesn't even cover my rent. Was it worth all the stress and expense? Admittedly I sometimes have my doubts. There are times though where you have to take a leap of faith, it may be painful in the short term, but it won't be nearly as bad as the regret you'll feel. May I suggest checking out the BBC careers page. I know that every February/March they open up applications for their Trainee Schemes, the Production Talent Pool and Technology Traineeship would be right up your ally, and they pay too. They're pretty competitive but well worth entering.

Georgia Hilton

brilliant - excellent timing, comedy, and great VFX/CGI work.

Lesa Babb

It's not often that I laugh out loud, and this made me do so... twice. That bit with the handle... been there!! I have been where you are, all of us have to pay the bills somehow. I'd encourage you to find your Door #3. It doesn't come easy; but it sounds like you have the best possible motivation. You obviously have skills and talent. Keep producing work like this and others will notice. Best wishes and KEEP ROLLING.

Julio Luna

I like both film. don't give up on your dreams. it'll be bummy, but stay focused.

Peter Butler

Thanks again for all the continued support I've had some great messages. Also if you'd like to connect on Twitter please feel free to get on contact my twitter is @Fizzy125

Georgia Hilton

i've watched this like 4 times.... love it.

Peter Butler

Ha ha thanks Georgia glad it's given you so much entertainment.

Demiurgic Endeavors

Baggage has that Charles Schultz Peanuts innocent quality. Good Job.

Peter Butler

Thanks Demiurgic, that's a lovely compliment.

Gerald Bedeker

Hi Peter. I absolutely love Baggage. Your work is beautiful and technically brilliant without lacking in that all important human touch, as so much digital animation seems to be. This may be something you've thought about before and an obvious route, but have you considered using your amazing talent to write, direct and animate short commercials for businesses to market themselves on the internet? More and more companies are turning to online videos to boost their advertising reach and it seems to me like a solution that would allow you the freedom to manage your own time while making the money you need to realise your creative dreams. I have done some 2D animations for various clients as part of my work in advertising, but nothing as advanced as your work. I would even suggest that we try to collaborate on a few projects when I get advertising requests from my clients.

Peter Butler

Hi Gerald, Thank you for your lovely comment and idea. To be honest I'm really bad on capitalizing in business. I never really know where to start. I have tried some freelance sites but people expect something for such low fees that it's just not viable. I'd love to be able to contact business owners that want to use my skills to advertise but so far just can't seem to find any that have any funds close to what I'd need to make a living from it. I'm more than happy to collaborate. You can contact me directly on my email Thanks again

James David Sullivan

"The Butler did it!"

Tomasz Mieczkowski

And the love continues. I just found this post. Obviously, you are very talented. No doubt about it. If you ask me, you need to keep at it. I cannot offer much, but if you need a website to present your work online, send me a message and I'll set you up. I know that I'm half a year late, but it would be a shame if you abandoned your passion. Even if you took up the offer, I think you should still keep doing what you do because you do it so well.

Lorelle James

Great story! If you are in need of a production assistant, please feel free to contact me. Im available in the near future. thanks!

James David Sullivan

"Never can say goodby..."

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