Alex Leighton & Ryan Cooper are the brains and good looks behind Mukpuddy Animation. Tenacity is an understatement for these guys. Mukpuddy is an independent studio that launched over fifteen years ago and has stubbornly worked through many set backs and false starts before finally getting the green light on their biggest project to date; The Barefoot Bandits (TVNZ) a show they’ve affectionately dubbed "The Kiwi Goonies". On the eve of the release of season two, they visited our studio and had a candid conversation about their journey. Get in to it!
What is the core belief that drives what you do?
We're super passionate about telling funny and heart felt stories through the medium of 2D animation. I think the core belief that drives us is retaining that childhood innocence we had as kids, making the type of things that inspired us as kids to pick up a pencil and draw and to never take things too seriously. A desire to create our own art is a big part of it too. We never wanted to be a cog in someone else's machine. We firmly believe that if you do some well for long enough, people will start to notice.
What is your number one tip for surviving and thriving in the creative industries?
Perseverance. We started the business as 21 year olds straight off our animation course, the dream was to have our own TV show. We were super naive and thought, even when we were initially set up in a basement in East Auckland, that to achieve that goal was always just around the corner. Now, 15 years later, we have a TV show... it was the longest corner EVER.
How have you learned from failure in the course of your career?
I think for us through all the "no's", "maybes" and the "might have beens", the biggest thing we've learnt is that you're last idea probably isn't your greatest and if it is... it'll come back around. If you get a door shut on you put that idea on the back burner and work at something new, just keep moving forward.