SOPHIE KOKO GATE
Sophie Koko Gate created this style frame for our November 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.
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, where as 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 : Yeh I love to lip sync, it’s so satisfying and for some reason always looks good. The first time I made something half decent was when we were forced to do a lip sync project at the RCA. I had blagged my way onto the course, hounding them with love poems and videos of me crying. Had no idea how to animate, I remember just feeling my mouth with my fingers and drawing what I felt. I didn’t know what a key frame was and animated everything straight ahead so the mouth warped and looked like rubber. It didn’t look right but I liked how it made me feel. Dialogue is an important part of my practice, I’m interested in why there is a lack of it in indie animation, my thoughts are that dialogue is perceived to cheapen animation and turn it into more of a cartoon. I think this is funny and try to use it to my advantage.
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 : I think I’ve generally been quite lucky with the clients I’ve had. I guess because my work is not exactly mainstream, it attracts low budget lots of freedom gigs, often where the client won’t have any say in what’s happening or I will agree beforehand that there's only one round of changes. I’m more frustrated with the amount of jobs I get asked to do for free, for charity, which usually comes through a giant ad agency where no one there is taking a cut out of their huge salary to work on this lovely charitable project.
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 : Every film I’ve made, I’ve come out the other side feeling totally different. As if I’ve been smashed round the head. Can’t remember the actual making of the films because humans tend to suppress dark times in our lives so that we are able to move on. As soon as Slug Life was over I was desperate to make another one about a dolphin in a call centre who got told off for always turning up wet to meetings, I had written the script during the making of Slug Life on the last train home every night. I think making a film is a bit like cutting a fringe: You cut it, cry for 6 months, after 2 years the fringe is finally grown out. You are happy, you’ve never been happier. You have forgotten why you were sad. You say to your best friend ‘Do you think I would look good with a fringe?’ You cut a fringe.
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 : Yes, I had a job once that was so bad I was considering quitting animation altogether. The job was bad because I was bullied into it by a producer who was just a terrible man. It made me realise that I should never allow myself to do work that I don’t want to do, and also to never work with pigs.
Q : Freelancers can get stuck in making the same mistakes from job to job, what advice would you give a freelancer?
A : Don’t be afraid to ask the director how they do things, everyone has their own wet and wild ways– it won’t make you look any less experienced, in my eyes, it does the opposite.
TIP OF THE MONTH
Do you have a software tip that changed your world?
A : Transparency lock-in photoshop (shortcut is / )
Will lock whatever you have on that layer so you can texture on top without having to clip. Has other uses too.