Amanda Eliasson talks us through her career as an animation director working with hand-painted animations.
She Drew That October 2019 Workshop
Organised by Hannah Lau-Walker
In collaboration with Julia Parfitt
Filmed at Nexus Studios
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 animating gifs and loops. Just short fun things that don't have to make sense. I think filmmakers often overthink their story and visuals which is one of the reasons I like simple/fun/crazy/disturbing loops. I find them like exercises between my longer animation projects.
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 : Since my work is all hand-drawn on paper, and extremely time consuming, changes that would be relatively quick digitally are much more labour intensive for me. To avoid this happening I do rounds of style frames and animatics to be signed off before I get into the main animation, but sometimes clients only realise at the end that it’s not exactly how they want it and then I have to put a whole pile of papers in the bin (recycling obv) and start again!
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 : Due to my films almost always being derived from personal experiences or stories, I worry that people won’t relate to what I am feeling, and it almost always surprises me how people can relate to small elements that are in line with their own experiences and make them feel something too. I’m clearly not as original as I think lol!
Q : Everyone has low points on jobs, 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 : When I started out, getting negative feedback really used to bum me out, and was something I took to heart, it made me doubt myself and my work a lot. Over time, I've learned not to take that kind of feedback personally, and instead accept that my work isn’t going to resonate with everyone, but providing I am happy with it then that should be enough. Also, client work is about collaboration, and feedback - negative or positive, is part of that process which ultimately will end up guiding the project towards a (hopefully) better place!
Q : Freelancers can get stuck in making the same mistakes from job to job, what advice would you give a freelancer?
A : A big one is not to be hard on yourself!
It’s all a learning process that takes time if you have to do the same mistake 10 times to learn then that’s how long it takes. For example, if you get paid late for 3 jobs, you will learn how to ask for 50% upfront for the next. On the theme of money, try and stick to your values and worth on what you think you should be paid for something if someone is trying to low ball you, then they don't respect you, your work, or your process and it won’t make for a good collaborative exchange.
TIP OF THE MONTH
Do you have a software tip that changed your world?
A : I don't use so much software, but a strong lightbox and a sad-girl playlist work for me!
Amanda Eliasson created this style frame for our October Workshop. We use these styles frames as a jumping off point for our community to create animated work too. You can see the results of this animation challenge below.