This article is available in: French
3DVF: Can you tell us a little bit about your work with Animation Supervisor Kevin Webb?
So as I mentioned before, it was my second project with Kevin. Both times, it was a breeze to work with him. He manages to always be clear with his notes, never pass on any stress, and have the animators’ back when needed. He gave us the freedom to explore our ideas, and not push only his own. I think it’s very important to feel that you can add something to the movie, and not just execute someone else’s ideas. He’s also super knowledgeable on lipsync, and has an eagle eye for it. Nothing gets past him! So yeah, as you can see, only great things to say about Kevin, I learned a lot with him.
3DVF: Due to the pandemic, the team had to work remotely. How did you manage to maintain a good communication within the team?
The transition was quite flawless actually. At Sony, we were already using remote PCs at the studio, so it wasn’t too difficult to make the switch. Also, being a giant studio, with hundreds of people working there, in the US and Canada, they already had everything in place for people working remotely from each other : video meetings, screen sharing, group discussions, etc. So honestly, the day to day work didn’t really change. It felt like the team was as efficient as when working from the studio (but I don’t have the exact numbers, it’s just a feeling). Working from home had it’s challenges of course, but it worked!
3DVF: Overall, what are you the most proud of on this show? A specific shot, maybe?
Ah…that’s a tough question ! I had a few shots in a row of Vivo on a barge, getting super angry at Gabi. Those shots were quite long, lasting for 150, 200 or even 600 frames. Doing long shots like those is already challenging, but here Vivo was at 100% energy for the whole thing, so it was hard to find nuance, and keep it interesting to watch. So I would say those are the shots I keep in mind the most.
3DVF: You left Sony a few months before the end of the production. What have you been doing since? And what are your plans for the future of your career?
Yes, the show got extended a bit, and with COVID and being away from friends and family, I already planned to come back to France for a time. Starting Vivo at the beginning, it would have been great to see it through; that was a hard decision. On the positive side, I got to discover a few things during the screening that were not done while I was there. When planning to come back, I got in contact with Illumination Mac Guff in Paris, and they were recruiting for a few shows, so once again I was lucky. I can’t really talk too much about what I’m working on at the moment, but the team is super talented, it’s very motivating! I do recommend working in a few different studios if you can. It makes you see a lot of different aspects or approaches to animation, and you can learn the best from each one. For the future, I honestly don’t know. I’d love to keep working on great shows of course, but I don’t have specific plans. Right now I’m just focusing on improving as much as possible, we’ll see what’s next.
3DVF: Would you have an advice for young animators studying animation, or who just left school?
If you’re like me, and always think what you’re doing isn’t good enough, that’s okay. I learned to stop stressing about that, and just compare my current work with what I did 1 or 2 years ago. Usually, you can see that you improved, and at least you know you’re doing something right. If you were perfect from the beginning, that would be boring. You wouldn’t have anywhere to go. Trying to improve is the fun part (usually). Comparing your work with the top animators in the galaxy can also be a good thing to do, but only as a healthy goal, showing you where you can still grow. If you’re just starting in the industry, don’t forget that animation isn’t the only thing you have to focus on. The work attitude really plays a big role. Try to stay positive with the notes your lead and supervisor give you, and don’t take them personally. It can be hard sometimes to let go of an idea you thought would work really well, but you’re not working on your own. You’re working as a group, with different creative inputs, so you have to stay flexible. On a more technical level, I would say : use video reference, and don’t use video reference too much! It’s very useful to pick up small acting nuances or interesting movements, but if you look at it too blindly, it won’t help you improve or understand what you’re doing. And it’s usually quite noticeable and less interesting. Use it as a guide rather than copying it frame by frame. Final advice, don’t hesitate to contact animators in the industry for feedback. If done nicely, you usually get a response, with precious advice more tailored to your work that can make you grow immensely.