We spoke to Galloway via email to find out how he carved out his place, what his clients expect of him and why he left SVA disillusioned …
Discover the animation
Galloway’s first ambition was to be an actor. He changed his mind at 14 after seeing GI Joe: The Rise of the Cobra (2009), a live-action film based on the namesake toy line. “As a fan of toys and cartoons, I was angry,” he says. “Hollywood has access to fun and successful IPs, but time and time again they create bad, bland content based on these iconic IPs. From that point on, he knew he wanted to achieve.
While browsing Youtube, Galloway discovered animators who created stop motion with figurines. As a toy collector himself, he was drawn to this kind of animation. He started experimenting with stop motion, and in 2010 he launched the DGDXanimation Youtube channel.
Galloway enrolled at SVA, where he studied live action. He was disappointed with the course: he says the teachers fostered a closed atmosphere, rejecting his love of popular films like Robocop. The mood in the cinema department was “disgusting and toxic”, with competitiveness encouraged rather than collaboration.
In his senior year, Galloway took an animation history class taught by Howard Beckerman (who directed the first episode of Doug). It opened his eyes. “The animation department was so calm, loving, educational and collaborative,” he recalls. “[Beckerman’s lessons were] the only time I was really happy in college.
Building a suite
Either way, Galloway had seen 15 million views online by then – and it was starting to grab the attention of businesses. In 2015, while still at SVA, he was approached to host a few short films featuring Star Ace Toys’ Harry potter The figures. Two years later, he pitched and directed an 11-minute stop-motion film, The Smackdown before Christmas, for DDP Yoga, the company of ex-wrestler Diamond Dallas Page.
A turning point came in 2019, when Galloway acquired online retailer Big Bad Toy Store as a customer. After that, “customers kept coming into my life like an assembly line.” He found himself animating full time for toy companies.
Animating at high speed
When Galloway receives a commission, he often has to act quickly. He describes a job he was contacted for on a Thursday. He accepted the offer and received the action figure on Friday, then animated throughout the weekend. Everything was finalized and approved by the licensees on Monday afternoon, and the announcement went out on Tuesday.
“Whenever I have a little time to finish gigs, I think about the past,” he says. “Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera were able to do 166 episodes of The Flintstones within six years. They opened the doors for others to find the balance between entertainment, quality and quantity. So, given that I’m in a situation where last minute gigs can happen more than I would like, I’ve practiced being ready for them by hosting regularly every week.
Galloway often has a great deal of freedom to develop the plots of his commercials, although he sometimes has to work from a script. The poses of his characters are faithful to the way real toys move. “The only modification I have ever made is piercing the back of the platform / reel for flying, jumping, etc. We are in a golden age of action figures in terms of articulation, painting and sculpture. . “
In 2019, Galloway took some time on Youtube to develop its presence on Instagram (@dgdxofficial). His experience on both platforms shed light on Youtube’s shortcomings. “I go back to Youtube to try and download short films (which have 50,000 views in one day on Instagram) and Youtube punishes me for being away.” The platform’s “BS algorithm and advertising revenue” prevented it from posting regularly on the site.
This has implications for the type of work Galloway produces. He made works longer than advertisements – The Smackdown before Christmas being an example – but the algorithms of sites like Youtube do not encourage this.
“I have animations on my Youtube channel [that are] about nine minutes with over three million views, ”he says. “The point is they were easier to produce back then, because I was just a kid doing it for fun. I didn’t know what both were, and I was working at 12. fps Now I’m doing 24 fps so it takes longer to produce content but the quality is much better Youtube doesn’t care about the quality They want consistent downloads Weekly or Daily.
The change in focus from Youtube to Instagram proved to be emotionally difficult: “I was in a really dark place between some of the things that happened around college graduation as well as the transition from Youtube ( with over 100,000 subscribers) to Instagram (where I was basically starting over). “Yet he has managed to rebuild his audience, racking up more than 26,000 Instagram followers to date. He says his videos on the site are helping him find work.
More recently, Galloway has started to create freelance work, most notably with his character Burgman the Burger Monster, and got his first gig for a TV client (which he cannot speak to yet). Working with major cinema and television brands remains a goal. “I hope that one day DM Galloway will have the same validity in the animation / film world as Tim Burton or Brad Bird,” he says. “I got millions of views on my own. I know I can eventually reach a larger audience. I have to.”