Peter Quinn: From UU graduate to L.A. to social media sensation

TikTok star shares how a degree in Visual Communication has seen him up with a life in LA

23 Mar 2021   8 min read

overlay graphic Peter Quinn: From UU graduate to L.A. to social media sensation

Peter's story

After I graduated from visual communication, I took a job at an ad agency in Belfast for about 2 years. I was making websites and doing graphic design, but started to get into flash animations and little bits of motion design.

Then I took a more senior job at Whitenoise Studios, a design agency over on Airport Road West where I got to really develop my video production and animation skills. I worked there for 4 or 5 years just getting better and learning better techniques in 3D, broadcast graphics for BBC NI and started to hone in on what I was best at.

Moving to Canada

Then I was able to take a job as the art director in a video production company in Vancouver so we emigrated to Canada! I had to really learn how to work fast and continuously produce polished video work, really fast under high stress.

Road-tripping through USA

After 4 years, I wanted to move onto something cooler and less stressful, and after road tripping through California, I decided that I had to find a job that wanted me enough to handle my USA visa application! After chatting with lots of companies, I got hired, and moved to LA.

How lockdown has helped

Since we’ve been in lockdown I have all this extra time because I’m not commuting, and there’s nothing open at the weekend, so I started making funny videos for my Instagram… and they’ve just got so popular in the last few weeks that I made more… and more!

It can be challenging to keep thinking of new fun ideas. Sometimes I think I’ll never come up with anything cool, but eventually something pops into my head and I jump into action.

Tips on how to create cool videos

If you’re interested in the sort of things I’ve posted my Instagram, you need to start learning Adobe After Effects. It’s the program people call ‘the Photoshop for video’. It allows you to do pretty much anything, and there are a lot of jobs out there that lean heavily on it. I use it every day.

Advice to UU students

My advice to any UU student is to really start doing what you want to do and not wait for something to happen. Don’t wait to graduate, don’t wait until somebody says you’re ready, don’t wait for anything. Start doing something now, however small, every single day that’ll take you in the direction of where you want to go. Get off your phone and do something, urgently. It’s worth it.

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