Caribbean animator finds success with Netflix

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A report from The Reporter.

Five years ago an 18-year-old Caribbean native left his home in south Trinidad to pursue a dream. Now 23, Joash Berkeley has become an example to the world of the excellence that Caribbean people can achieve when determination finds its home inside their heart.
Berkeley, a freelance animator and motion designer working out of California, has taken his love of colors and motion to new heights, working on projects for big named companies such as Walmart, Netflix and even Facebook.

Born on September 7, 1994, Berkeley attended San Fernando Central Secondary School (also known as Mod-Sec) in Trinidad where his introduction to graphic design began by editing photos for his classmates. As the popularity of his edits grew, a friend suggested that he actively pursue a career in the field of digital arts. Taking that advice, Berkeley went on to the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) where he obtained a Bachelors of Fine Arts (BFA) in Motion Media Design; with Magna Cum Laude and an Outstanding Achievement Award from his department.

Through determination and asking a lot of questions which helped him to widen his knowledge, he managed to land an internship at Apple, which was named in 2017 as the largest publicly traded company of all time. In October 2017, he founded Jberkeley Studio and began making a name for himself. Notably, he worked on the animations for Facebook’s promotional banners and the opening titles for the hit Netflix series “Anne with an E” in collaboration with the series director Alan Williams.
Berkeley said that his distinction comes in the smoothness in which his animations flow and his use of colors in telling a story.
“I can use colors to track the viewer’s eyes, to make them see specific things or feel specific things.’ Berkeley said.

He noted that an integral part of survival in business is making sure that you consistently market yourself online, putting out projects for people to see, and making sure that you’re ready at all times to do business. He said that since his first few projects he began to achieve that level or renown where clients are beginning to reach out to him.
“I’ll soon be seeking to work more directly with clients to create commercially driven stories for their products. This is a shift from working directly in production studios and working directly with brands that I love.”

Growing up in a Christian home, Berkeley maintains that his faith is the single most important motivation for him to achieve the things that he has. Going to Apostolic Reformation church called City at the Cross; one of the churches connected to Congress WBN, a global faith-based network of ethical leaders, Berkeley said that he remained in freelance work instead of working full time for a studio so he could ensure that he has time to actively participate in activities for his church.

“Faith is everything.  All I’m doing is using the gifts that God has given me.  Smiling he said, “My Faith becomes even more important when you’re working freelance and you don’t know where your next paycheck is coming from.”
Berkeley went on to say that he might not be animating crosses, but that he shows his faith by the way he conducts his business, the way he dealt with people and the ethics he brings to a job.

Berkley encourages all Caribbean natives to pursue their dreams in all fields, even if they don’t fit traditional molds. He noted that he himself did not know anything about animation prior to attending SCAD, but putting his all into the work pays off.
“If you’re interested in studying something other than law, business accounting, medicine and engineering, which is what everybody studies, then you should go for it,” Berkeley said.
He also said that being passionate about what you do will go a long way. Something that he enjoys in his field because it is filled with people who are willing to share ideas.

He believes that the Caribbean is blessed with limitless potential but lacks the resources, so he encourages natives to keep seeking out ways to get to where those resources are. He emphasized that asking questions will be the most important part of that process, and encourages people to ask as many questions as possible and learn from successful people in their desired field.
“If you ask one person their advice then you’ve learned something you wouldn’t already know. If you do that with 100 people you’ve learned 100 things that you wouldn’t know,” Berkeley added.

Berkeley said that he intends to one day take his love of motion to the next level and go into directing. In pursuit of that goal, he continues to market himself and take on jobs of all sizes to build his professional portfolio. He emphasized that, above all else, he intends to continue working with his church and deepen his relationship with God.

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