Q : Throughout my animation career I’ve found that there are some things I like animating more than others, for instance I love animating morphs making something really fluid and fun, whereas I find realistic walk cycles less exciting as they’re so technical. I was interested to know what it is you like to animate and how that relates to your work?
A : I LOVE character animation! As an animation director, I am always so excited to see characters come to life in movement. They can express so much and enhance a style. Working with different animators allows us as a studio to get new perspectives that feedback into how we think about character design. Once we see how a character might move we can imagine a whole personality, and this can influence many other parts of the image such as the colours, the character’s appearance, or their clothing.
Q : Clients can vary from project to project, don’t feel like you need to name names, it would be great to get a sense of the difficulties that you can face when interacting with clients. What’s one of the more frustrating things you’ve been asked by a client?
A : It’s essential that a client understands and respects your point of view, and it is usually easy to spot early on whether this will be the case or not. If you feel uncomfortable in the initial conversations with a client, and you’re in the position to not take the job, I would say it’s usually worth going with your gut instinct and avoiding any potential stress and misunderstanding further down the line.
Of course, we can’t all be on the same page all the time and the most frustrating thing for me is when I feel that a client isn’t respecting my work: if they’re asking for lots of changes without giving room for my opinion or explanation (because there always is an explanation!) and if they don’t read emails and reply to questions properly.
Q : What’s something unexpected you’ve learned from making your own films? This may be something that you experienced in the making of your film or perhaps during the festival circuit.
A : I’ve realised how quickly things can be done when you have a clear focus and no distraction be that a client project or your own doubts or lack of seriousness. If you dedicate the time and know what you want to do it’s so satisfying to see how quickly a piece can come together.
Q : Everyone has low points on jobs, and I feel it’s important to turn those low points into something you can learn from and grow with. Have you learnt something from a low point on a job that changed the way you worked?
A : I touched on this earlier, but I think it’s good to reiterate the point about avoiding people and situations that cause you stress. Every time I feel stressed out or not totally in control of my work I try and reflect on why that is and how I can avoid it in the future. That can be a client I avoid working with, a timeframe I always kind of knew was unrealistic, or a project that somehow turns out being bigger than the budget allows for. I am very serious about who I work with and how I do so, and if I feel something isn’t right I say so at the first opportunity. Every time (almost) that I’ve stuck up for myself I’ve got a nice reply and I feel I’ve made that person understand that in the future things need to be different.
Q : Freelancers can get stuck in making the same mistakes from job to job, what advice would you give a freelancer?
A : Always demand respect and professionalism. Ask what the job is and make sure you’re interested and know all the details before agreeing to it and if someone tries to move you to a different job or waste your time don’t allow it. The more bad behaviour you tolerate the beginning, the more difficult it is to call out later down the line.
Tip of the month
Do you have a software tip that changed your world?
Be organised with your files and store everything in Dropbox. It might sound boring but it saves so much boredom searching through files or hard drives, plus Dropbox has saved the day for me many times by allowing me to send files from anywhere on my phone. (I don’t work for Dropbox, I promise!)