She Drew That July 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’m totally the same! I try to avoid animating anything that mirrors reality too much because I find it boring and too hard. With animation, you can literally make anything move so why not take advantage of that? Animation is also quite a forgiving medium to work in, it allows me to animate things ‘badly’ but for it to still look cool in its own way. I’m always more drawn to animation that bends reality and messes with your expectations because I find it much more interesting to watch!
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 directors can face when interacting with clients. What’s one of the more frustrating things you’ve been asked by a client?
A : I can’t think of a single instance, but I still find it difficult to receive feedback in general for any job! There’s that initial frustration I always get followed by anger followed by (later) acceptance and agreement :^). I find it hard to not get too personally invested in my work and have to remind myself that someone else is paying for me to do this. In my experience the feedback almost always improves the end result so in hindsight I’m glad that I get it, but I always sit and stew in my feelings for 20 mins after getting feedback, thinking ‘you don’t know what you’re talking about.’
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 : Do not work ALL the time!! It’s so easy for me to sit at my desk forcing myself to come up with ideas or work through a problem. Sometimes this works but sometimes it just makes me feel more anxious and bad, now I’ve learnt it’s a sign for me to step away and do something else. I think this is especially hard when it’s a personal project because you get so emotionally invested in it and getting stuck can make you lose your confidence really easily. It’s important to just leave it sometimes and come back to it when you’re feeling better. Trust the process!
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 : There have been jobs where I’ve worked late into the night every day and on weekends, and I totally burnt out as a result. I once worked two weekends in a row and by the end of it, I knew I needed to take at least one day off. My life revolved around the job - I woke up early, went straight to work, worked all day and into the evening, got back home, and went straight to bed. I repeated this every day and my mental state was pretty bad. I had a moment where I knew I couldn’t keep doing this for future jobs because it’s just not worth your mental and physical health. Now I try to negotiate as much as I can with clients at the start of the process to ask for the time and money, I need in order to not feel stressed and have to work longer hours. I’ve found that if I’m firm about what I want, clients are usually willing to work something out with you!
Q : Freelancers can get stuck in making the same mistakes from job to job, what advice would you give a freelancer working today?
A : I haven’t freelanced that much as an animator, but I think it’s good to be able to gain experience working with lots of different directors because you learn how they all direct in slightly different ways! Also of course the She Drew That challenge is great because it gives you the opportunity to receive proper feedback on your work, which often a job doesn’t have time for - it’s more about meeting the deadline rather than tweaking and honing animation to make it even better than it already is.
TIP OF THE MONTH
Do you have a software tip that changed your world?
A : Animator’s toolbar pro by Patrick Deen is the photoshop extension I use to animate! It’s amazing. You can create video layers in different frame rates which are perfect for colouring if you’re colouring something that has frames of different lengths.
Katy Wang created this style frame for our July Workshop. We use these styles frames as a jumping off point for our community to create animated work too. You can see the results to this animation challenge below.