Harry Butt of Butt Studio revisits his biggest creative failure and the lessons it has taught him
Upon leaving university, designer and animator Harry Butt was in a difficult position. Many of his peers were founding their own studios, often named after themselves, but Harry’s own unusual name left him wondering whether it would be a bad move to follow suit. “I felt that I couldn’t do that because my name is basically ‘hairy butt’,” he recalls. However, he soon realised the power of embracing his comedic name and decided to create his own company: Butt Studio. Not only did his worries about this quickly disappear, but it wasn’t long before his skills in animation shone through and became the most memorable part of his practice instead. He gradually built up a truly enviable list of clients, including Boiler Room, Nike, and Instagram.
But, modest as ever, what Harry wanted to discuss with the crowd was not his success against the odds, but instead an animation that he considers his biggest failure. Showing them a strange yet sweet short film of a hungry frog, he explained “It’s not objectively bad, but it feels like a failure to me.” There were two reasons for this, he says – one was a lack of a cohesive narrative, which meant that the story was nonsensical, and the second was a lack of proper animation technique. He broke these two problems down into detail, giving his thinking behind each. However, always one to take the good with the bad, Harry moved into the concluding moments of his talk on an inspiring note, explaining that this project had actually been a useful lesson in taking his time and not rushing the process: “It was a bit of a risk coming to a wonderful event like this and showing you my worst work… But my hope is that the next time you make something you hate, you can also love it for teaching you something about yourself.”