Becky Perryman, shares her experience of the industry as a producer across both Passion Animation and Strange Beast and gives some great advice for freelancers and up and coming directors.
She Drew That January 2020 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 parts that I really enjoy. For me working with compositors is something I love as they always elevate your work beyond what you expect. Is there a part of your work that you particularly enjoy?
A : I guess it's different for production as it's not a step in the process per se, it's more about a particular part of my role that I find the most rewarding. One of the most rewarding areas of my work is working with people who are taking their first steps into the industry. The first year after uni can feel like throwing yourself off a cliff and hoping for the best if I can make that process a little easier for people then I feel like I've done a good job.
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 a client has asked you?
A : There's really not one thing that I can point to. The role of the producer is to be the middle man and it's really about people managing and dealing with a range of personalities who all deal with stress in different ways. Every job will throw up different challenges, but some of the main issues come from when agency/clients don't understand the process of animation and how labour intensive it is. Therefore their demands come across as unreasonable; if you're lucky you will get a producer on the other end who is willing to work with your through the process and find a middle ground, the major issues come when you encounter someone unwilling to budge on their demands and refuses to understand the animation production process.
Q : What's something unexpected you've learned since you started working, this could be about studio life or something you learnt from working in a team?
A : The biggest thing for me was learning about the vast amount of different jobs there are within the animation industry/advertising. I think the landscape has changed these days with Instagram, Vimeo and other such platforms that have made it so much easier to connect with creative people and see what other people are doing. When I left Uni, I really had no clue; it was only when I started as a runner did I see all the different paths you could go down. I think for kids currently in school who aren't academically minded, this industry can be a real lifeline. You can be creative and also earn a living.
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 : To quote the owner of Passion 'If things went smoothly there wouldn't be a need for producers.' The role of the producer is to shit catch and manage the team, and the director's through those low points. There's so much behind the scenes issues that we deal with that the crew and the directors will never know. Of course, that doesn't mean we don't have low points and get stressed, but the team will only ever see a small proportion of them. For me, when I'm finding it tough, I always remember that the times that I have learnt the most are when everything is going wrong. That's when you really test your abilities and grow.
Q : Do you have any tips for an artist out there who are currently having to self produce?
A : Never be afraid to ask about money upfront. Everyone finds it awkward but its really important that you get your fee agreed upon before starting any work.
Always have a deal memo that outlines what the deliverables are, what the budget is, what the schedule is, what the licencing and usage rights are and has cancellations terms. Get the client to sign this before you start the project. The amount of up and comers I know who have been screwed over for not having anything in writing is a big issue.
TIP OF THE MONTH
Do you have a software tip that changed your world?
A: I love the Procreate app on the Ipad!
As someone whose job it is to facilitate other people's creativity, I relish in any little opportunity I get to be creative myself. I love being able to grab my iPad and doodle something; It's like having a sketchbook again. It feels way less precious than drawing on your computer and means I find more time to do it and time is something I have very little off.