[FRAMED] Lead Animator, Melanie Plett, Melbourne

6 min readMay 23, 2024


If you could travel back in time, which film, TV series, advert, or immersive project would you love to have worked on?

Oh goodness, not sure, though my favourite film is Spaceballs, so probably that one, ha!

Which Framestore character do you feel you’re most like?

I suppose a cross between Ted and Pooh bear :P

What fictional world or place would you like to visit?

Oh toughy, maybe the Land Before Time, surrounded by nature, stars for days at night, no traffic ha! Though dinosaurs that want to eat you would be problematic.

Your career highlight to date:

For me, prob Ted TV series. It was my first go as an animation supervisor and while I was nervous at the start, I ended up really enjoying it. Being there to help my peers and take part in the creativeness of it was very rewarding, plus lots of laughs were had.

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in VFX?

No one really, I fell into this job as my dad wanted me to not be an artist (starving artist, ha), so I found a way around it with including computers, hee hee (should say he is very very proud of me he just didn’t know about this stuff back then). I was in school for computer programming, got my degree and then hated it, so I went to an open house at the Art Institute of Vancouver and boom, said “yup this is for me!” I guess really back then ( now I’m dating myself) animation wasn’t really talked about that much as a career.

The DREAM project would entail:

Anything with character animation for me, I’m not picky but I LOVE breathing life and character into our jobs. Maybe I wanted to be an actor but I hate being in front of the camera, so this gives me a way to act but not as myself.

How do you explain what you do to someone who doesn’t work in VFX?

Ha, well I don’t draw it, so that’s the main one. I normally try and explain that we use puppets in the computer, that have bones and face controls and such, we move over time. That kinda helps those that don't know to understand, or I get blank smiley stares :P

Describe your career journey into the exciting world of VFX.

For me, I started off at Mainframe(Rainmaker) in Vancouver, working on the Barbie movies, a couple of years there then moved to New Zealand to work on some other small projects while I lived at the beach (ya it was rough). After New Zealand, I moved to LA to work for Sony on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, did a few more projects with them then moved back to Vancouver as they opened up another studio there. So after almost 4 years with Sony they had major layoffs, I was not immune, but they did a hiring day and invited all the studios that they could to place us. I ended up getting hired by Pixar in San Francisco for The Good Dinosaur but timing plagued me as once I got there, they had to push the movie (I did work one day there though, ha). While at the time I was pretty bummed it only led me to Iloura now Framestore, which I have been with for almost 10 years and Australia, which is my home now. Funny how it all works out :)

What does the day in the life of a lead animator look like?

As an animator and a lead, well it mostly checking references, and notes. Making sure we are on the mark with the clients expectations. If it's a character based show, then I will normally shoot reference of myself acting it out and then show my Sups to see if they are happy with that, then move forward on animating it. Also as a Lead I’ll make sure everyone has the information they need and if a daily needs a bit of tweaking I’ll let them know so they can fix it before our SUP review.

Best thing about your work environment?

Well I work from home 4 days a week, so I can’t complain about my work mates, a labrador and a bulldog, oh and king parrots and cockatoos and lorikeets to name a few. The work day in office is good too, lots of hugs, laughs and a good lunch out, oh and a proper coffee ha!!! Just have instant at home, yes I know, shame!!!!

Favourite artform?

For me, that’s prints, if I had walls for days I would cover my house in artwork, but also plants.

What’s your favourite movie/ series/ advert/ immersive experience and why?

Any movie that makes you think, but not the type that makes you have to google the ending as that drives me batty.

What is the last piece of art (e.g. music, film, TV, writing etc.) that inspired you?

Hmm well if you asked me 20 years ago I’d probably have an answer as I used to rent around 5 movies a week (don’t ask me about the late fees, I was terrible at returning movies), but these days since we are behind screens so much, I don’t really watch movies or tv. I find joy in the garden and watching my dogs and cats putter about and all the little creatures I find in the garden (birds, possums and even bugs ha).

How do you unlock your creativity?

I suppose it's seeing nature around us, I love nothing more than going camping or sailing and seeing the stars away from the city lights.

From where do you seek inspiration?

While I said I don’t watch many films, I do watch or try to watch the latest animated ones. I find inspiration from those when they push the limits and teach me new ideas.

Share the best piece of advice you’ve ever received:

Don’t sweat the small stuff, we all get notes. This one was toughy for me, when I first started the gig, constantly being told no that’s not right, was really hard to hear. Over the years though, I got it, and now for me in a lead/sup role as I understand what it feels like. While I still say no, not quite right, it’s more with a positive feedback with maybe we try this and see how it looks.

What tech/innovation could you not live without?

Ok, cheeky response, power :P only so much reading you can do when the power goes out and not fun in the dark.

Melanie Plett, you’ve been [FRAMED].




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