Creative Futures Revisited: David O’Reilly

As part of our 40th birthday celebrations, CR is revisiting the alumni from our Creative Futures scheme, which ran for nearly 30 years. Here, we profile LA-based artist David O’Reilly, an alumnus from Creative Futures’ Class of 2008

David O’Reilly’s Please Say Something might be over a decade old, but it remains a hugely influential piece of animation. Even now, the LA-based artist says he still receives emails about the episodic short, which tells the story of a failing relationship between a cat and a mouse, set in a futuristic city.

“It really did put me on the map,” he tells CR. “It took off like nothing else I had ever made. It had a huge influence on the aesthetics of computer graphics that you still see today, and it influenced a lot of students that have gone on to make their own work. And I was very young, only 23, but something that came out of this frustrated, broke animator that nobody had heard of ended up becoming this reference point in animation. It was a crazy thing.”

O’Reilly made Please Say Something while experiencing a heady mix of emotions. He’d spent a year working on another short film, which had gone horribly wrong, and he was desperate to move on and make something better. He held strong opinions on the state of computer graphics – which he felt were too slick, shiny and commercial – and he was keen to move away from the “weird, slow, navel-gazing” short films of the time and actually tell a story. On top of all this, O’Reilly was rapidly running out of money and finding freelance life in London brutal.