Thursday, 11 February 2016

Company Research 5

My final choice for my company research is........Drum roll...............

(I chose this because I am left handed and being left handed rocks!)

Apart from the obvious reason of choice stated above I chose this company because, like Catfish Collective, they offer something a bit different from kids animation (I am not saying that kids animation is a bad thing, I am keen to work in many areas of animation!) and experiment with different types of media. 

Two left hands are an animation workshop based in Paris created by Sabotage studio, an alternative production and creative studio specialised in mixed media. I came across them whilst searching on the internet and at first was purely hooked by their website and logo design which I think look great! I have included a link here so you can see for yourself!

At two left hands there are sculptors, designers and animators, all who specialise in stop motion animation! This is an exciting company to come across (not that others aren't - of course they are!) but looking at a company that I would like to work for abroad and one that may speak another language was something I was really looking forward to researching into. In the past I learnt a little french, not that this means I could speak fluently (far from it!) but it doesn't hurt to know a bit! 

Two left hands offer commercials, music videos and short movies and have a really impressive and fun showreel! One of the things I noticed straight away was they have used some paper animation and also magazine cut out animations which are just great, pushing animation in other ways not just using a puppet. 

Their clients include: Citroen c3, Nutella, BBC 2, Mc Donalds, Diesel, Hotel Fl, Quechua, Volvic and Swiss credit. 

The Nutella advert is made out of paper... LOVE this style and design

Other work includes the wide range of music video clients including Babet - a lovely animation of paper objects of live footage and Zim's - using objects and people in stop motion which looks extremely fun and is something I have not had much practice at but would love to do more of!

above is the video for Babet

above is the video for Zim's

As for their short movies there are a couple that particularly stand out to me one is called The Gloaming, which uses a stop motion puppet and set that interacts with 2D animation. It is such a clever piece as it insinuates the puppet is God and as he looks down on the little planet Earth below him he sees the human race being born. It ends with him destroying the human race and therefore himself due to the horrible way humans have become. 

This short film will blow your mind... you have been warned!

A second short animation in complete contrast to the one above I like because the puppets are made out of felt giving it a more child friendly look. Duel a la recre (from what I can tell) is about encouraging kids to eat healthy foods because it will make you stronger and of course healthier! 

the bad guys

the good guys

The diesel advert is one that I straight away admired on the company's showreel because it was made out of magazine figures with 3d stop motion objects. I just think this is a really simple yet extremely effective way of producing animation and as I said about Catfish Collection, it comes as a breath of fresh air.  

(unfortunately I couldn't find any pictures, so if you would like to see the Diesel advert click here:

I aspire to work for this company because it has so much to offer and I feel I would have so much to offer them too. I would benefit from being somewhere where it welcomed stop motion being taken in a different direction and it would help me to widen my skills in animating other things not just an armature in a puppet. 

The five companies that I chose to research have really opened up my eyes to what it is I want from my career as an animator/model maker. Where before I visualised a future with puppet animation I am now more open to the possibility of mixed media and object animation. I would love to get into a company like Laika and Aardman to do the incredible work they do, as they are my biggest inspirations, but as well as that dream/goal I now also want to see what else is out there and take any opportunity to try something new and exciting!

Company Research 4

The Fourth company I have chosen to research is Factory!

I first heard about Factory quite a while back, but it wasn't until a guest speaker a few weeks ago mentioned them that I remembered I had looked at their portfolio of work before! The company were originally called Factory Transmedia and are based in Altrincham, Cheshire.
Factory are an independent multi-genre animation studio who offer 2D, CGI, hybrid, live action and stop motion services.

Working for a range of global clients their productions are aimed at all ages. Some of these clients include: CBBC, cbeebies, BBC, Disney, Five, Milkshake, Nick Jr and Sky.

The company, which started off with a workforce of 6 people and now exceeds over 100, celebrated their 5th birthday in 2015 which was celebrated with the release of four high profile productions being aired.

These productions were:

Newzoids - Aired on ITV, this puppet animation is a series of British topical sketches that feature small clips of well known people talking. For example, there are a couple I have seen starring Ed Miliband... all I am going to say is I think they are pretty funny!
It is great to see these quick, light-hearted  sketches and that they are aimed at an adult audience. One of the reasons I picked this company was because of their audience diversity and the range in animation that is produced. The animations don't all look the same and they have such a difference in style, it is obvious the company take pride in their commitment to the quality of work they produce and that this is for such a vast range of viewers and genres.

I just think the design of these is hilarious and really fits in with the cartoon sketch feel of the performance. 

The Clangers - This classic made it's come back in June 2015 on the cbeebies channel. The response was incredible and hit number 1 in the UK's top children's programmes. As well as this the animation was successful in gaining Broadcast Awards Winner 2016 - Best Pre-School programme, British Animation Awards nominee 2016 - Best Pre-School series, Kidscreen nominee 2016 - Best animated series and BAFTA winner 2015 - Best Pre-School Animation.

I love the knitted look of the clangers and how the design has been kept the same as the original. This look is also great for the younger audience it is aimed at as it has that obvious real quality about it that kids will relate to. These models were made by the incredible Mackinnon and Saunders!

Scream Street - This is a horror / funny series about a boy and his family that get moved to a street named scream street, in which the neighbours consist of zombies, vampires, mummies, witches and monsters in general! Scream street was also nominated for the British Animation Awards 2016, Best Kids series.

I like the style of the puppets here, it is a more pristine, polished look which is very different to that of the clangers yet both are just as effective.

The company also did three specials for Disney, with the show club penguin. I like the style of these characters which are so bright with colour. I also like the way the mouths have been done for these characters in a more hand drawn look, it really suits the rest of the design. 

The simple shapes of the characters offer a beautiful design coupled with the colours.

As well as the above Factory have also worked on many other recognisable animations including Raa Raa the noisy lion, Fifi and the flowertots, Roary the racing car and children in need 'Peter Kay' (absolutely love Peter Kay) It is incredible that all these productions are extremely successful and yet each is unique in its design and style!

The company are very desirable in terms of me looking for where I would love to work because they offer so much opportunity within their workplace. They cover all genres of animation which would give an animator opportunity to experience the difference this makes on a performance with the character. They also They have four sites - with four fully functional stop motion studios as well as a CGI digital studio and a digital post production studio! 

Their work environment seems challenging and ever changing which I really like the sound of! 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Company Research 3

The third company I have chosen is called.....

I came across this directing duo whilst I was browsing an independent production company that I love the work of (there are so many to chose from!!) called Loose Moose. Whilst looking at the directors on their website I saw the name Catfish Collective and it stood out to me as the name is something a bit different!
Daniella Orsini and Joe Orton started working together in 2011 and their reason for being called Catfish Collective is because the year 2011 was the year of the catfish!
Daniella Orsini is a 'world-renowned cutter-outer' who made her first film with a Sony Mavika floppy disk camera taped to a pile of books! (this is similar to me when I first started in animation I was taping cameras to the sides of desks and all sorts!)
Joe Orton studied Chinese at Oxford before becoming an animator! They both love all things handmade and love fine detail: "Stories come alive in detail". They are also always on the look out for freelance artists, particularly model makers, which is extremely useful to know as I absolutely LOVE their work and the use of paper animation! It is incredibly effective and quite subtle too and just amazingly beautiful to look at!
Here is one of their Flora adverts below! I like the way that this is stop motion but it also has that beautiful hand drawn quality and it also combines real objects like the flora tub, butter and cakes.   
The company is made up of just the two of them, but they also join forces with many others to create these projects. As some examples, they have worked with Loose Moose, Belafonte and recently joined the team at Kode Media. 
They have two offices, one in East Ham, London and the other in Lewes, East Sussex. Although they are a small team they have produced a magnitude of work for customers such as:
Unilever, Danone, BBC, Nike, British Council, (below) Kelloggs, Microsoft, Vodafone, McDonalds, Deloitte, Gucci, Hawkins Bazaar, War Child, Edible arrangements, Zucker, Sucre, Zucchero....So many!!!

These paper sets were made for the British council active citizens programme
I just love the quality and look of these! Looking closely at the detail you can see that they have used various recognisable things but it looks like it belongs there!!

This is the final animation for the British Council - Active citizens! I think it is great, I know I have said it so many times already but I love the style of the paper animation it works so well!

On their blog they have a fair few posts about work that they have completed, one of them being a recreation of the 7th May election vote in 2015. Catfish Collective did their own version - the national bird election! It is a very clever little piece making a serious topic a little more fun and light hearted. 

Here is the short animation of the bird election!

Also on their blog they posted about a commercial in April 2015 that they were making alongside producer Kode media and live action directors Belafonte. The commercial is a combination of 2D and live action and from the pictures looks really exciting! 

I went onto Kode media's website where it has a few of Catfish collective's animations, again incredible stuff and inspiring in that their work makes me think a bit more outside the box. The use of paper and found objects has a certain energy and captivating look about it that is infectious!

If I had the chance to work for this talented pair in the future that would be insane, as well as being completely different in style to the other companies I have been searching I think in terms of pushing my skills in different directions this would be a wonderful way of doing so. I do have a little experience in paper animation, in which I really enjoyed it and so I have to say stumbling across this company and researching it has been a breath of fresh air!

Company Research 2

Number two of my top five companies is Aardman! 

As well as being one of the most loved stop motion studios in the UK they have been one of my own most loved studios and they have inspired me since a young age with Wallace and Gromit being my favourite thing to watch.

Aardman are a Bristol-based stop motion company, which was founded by Peter Lord and David Sproxton in 1972. By 1976, the studio had moved to Bristol and begun their first professional production, Morph.

Morph above!

In 1985, Nick Park joined Aardman after being spotted at the National Film and Television School where he was working on his student film A Grand Day Out.By 1993, Aardman had achieved their first 30 minute film, The wrong trousers, which won them their first Oscar! Since then, every Wallace and Gromit short has received a BAFTA and each has been nominated for an Oscar. In 1995, Wallace and Gromit starred in A close shave, which won another Oscar! 

Shaun making his first appearance!

As well as Wallace and Gromit, Aardman have produced endless other forms of entertainment:
Creature comforts - A clever series in which voice clips were lip synced to the characters created by Aardman. The animation in creature comforts is extremely subtle, but is so effective with the strong use of dialogue. 

I had to use the polar bears as an example as they are my favourite!

Angry kid - In 2001 Aardman released episodes on BBC2 about a trouble making kid who is awful to his Dad and has a bad attitude problem!
Chicken run - This was Aardman's first full length film funded by Dreamworks.

You can see the armature on the left

Wallace and gromit the curse of the wererabbit - Wallace and Gromit's first feature film was also released by Dreamworks and received many awards including an academy award for Best feature film and a BAFTA for Best British film!
Flushed away - This was Aardman's first CG film released worldwide by Dreamworks in 2006. In 2007 it was nominated for a BAFTA.
Shaun the sheep - Shaun the sheep made his first appearance in the 1995 Wallace and Gromit episode, A close shave. In 2007 he was given his very own television series! This later led to the youngest sheep of the flock, Timmy, getting his own show on CBBC in 2009 called Timmy Time. Shaun the sheep then went on to his own feature film, Shaun the sheep the movie in 2015 which follows the adventures of the sheep as they venture into the big city. 

Arthur Christmas - Aardman's second CG film released by Sony pictures.
The Pirates! An adventure with scientists - In 2012 the stop motion film was released and received an academy award nomination the next year. 

Early man is Aardman's latest film in production and is set to be released in 2018. This is great news as it means, fingers crossed, there will be job opportunities on the horizon!  

We were fortunate enough to meet a woman called Emma Diaz from Aardman (She is an assistant animator!) who was absolutely lovely at the end of January and she talked to us about some of the puppets used on Shaun the sheep and The farmer’s Llamas. Having excitedly sat nose up to the T.V screen at Christmas to watch Farmer’s Llamas you could say I was a tiny bit excited!

Aardman have a signature style, one that they have continued to adopt across the range of entertainment they have delivered. This signature style doesn't necessarily strive for a polished finish like that of Laika, but instead embraces the more hand touched look with visible fingerprints.

Shaun the sheep has become a world wide phenomenon – Japan, who love Wallace and Gromit, have now also took to Shaun and have even opened a Shaun the sheep cafe in Osaka!

How cute is this?! I want to go!

In 2015, 120 large models of Shaun the sheep were made and decorated differently for the Shaun the sheep trail, where they were placed around London and Bristol. In my second year at University I was privileged to visit the studio in which these models were being made. 

Nick Park with some of the Shaun sculptures

I would love to work for Aardman for a number of reasons. I love their style of work and the variation of materials that they use. I also want to push my sculpting skills, which at Aardman I would have the opportunity to do that, as they continue to sculpt the mouth shapes. I think this would not only push my skills in sculpting, but also doing this as well as animating. I think it is great that Aardman have kept to their traditional routes still using plasticine in some areas. 

Mouth shapes made out of plasticine!

Company Research 1

For my business module I have been asked to research into 5 companies that I aspire to work for and to talk about them in depth.

Number one on my list has to be LAIKA!

Laika entertainment is a animation company based in Hillsboro, Oregon which has mesmerised my imagination since their first feature length film Coraline, 2009.Primarily specialising in stop motion, Laika also combine this 120 year old technique with computer animation to push the boundaries of animation.

The company was founded in 2005 by Phil Knight (the co-founder of Nike, Inc.) and was originally in two divisions, Laika entertainment for feature film and Laika/House for commercial content. In 2014 Laika dropped the commercial division to focus on feature films entirely and Laika/House became an independent company called House Special, which is still based in Portland, Oregon. The work produced here looks incredible and is also somewhere I would be keen to work, as the commercial work is something I am interested in for variety. Some examples below:

CG short (not that I have any experience in CG I just love this!)

Reynolds parchment paper advert

Laika have a huge team of over 300 people!! for its feature production, with many different departments. Some of the departments that they have that I am interested in working for are: Animation department - This is ideally where I would like to be, whether as an intern or assistant animator (Laika has internships that run for up to 12 weeks during the summer, but it is difficult for international students to be considered due to visas). The armature department wold also be somewhere I would be interested in working as I am interested in the structure of the puppet and gaining knowledge on this to help the animator. I would also be interested in the silicone and foam department and the mold making department, both of which I am always keen to learn more about! 

After celebrating a decade in animation the company are set to release their fourth feature film, Kubo and the two strings, in August 2016. Whilst the company appeal to a younger audience, the films produced also draw in an older audience because of the appreciation of the artwork before them. In their latest trailer for Kubo and the two strings, Laika show a snippet of the film incorporates paper animation in the form of origami. This, I am excited to see because this is something new from the company and it is great to see a huge progression on a whole in the film between Coraline and Kubo. Laika have also produced 2 other films as well as Coraline; Paranorman, 2012 and the Boxtrolls, 2014. All three films released have been nominated for an Oscar and Paranorman was also nominated for a BAFTA.

You can watch Laika's Kubo and the two strings trailer below:

Online there are many behind the scenes videos of the production of these films and many of these videos have been uploaded by Laika themselves.  It is extraordinary to watch these videos as they are, in themselves, a work of art showing time lapses of the animators at work and how the characters have been made.  Before I started my first year of university, I studied a foundation course in art and design and one of the modules we covered was of course, Animation! Not that this was the first time I had ever considered animation (back in school I was very interested) but it wasn't until I came to trying this incredible world of stop motion animation for the first time that it finally clicked for me! I went home and started to pour over endless animations, fascinated with what I saw. One of the first things I came across was a YouTube video about Laika’s Paranorman called, ‘faces of Paranorman’. I was hooked from this moment on wards and I continued to look at video after video. 

Here is the video I was talking about:

Laika emit a huge sense of community within their workplace but also outside it too. On their website it talks about their community outreach program, Soul Corps, which helps provide financial and voluntary help to local non-profits supporting the arts education in the area. As well as supporting local businesses, they encourage conservation and recycle wherever it is possible to do so. They encourage employees to do the same which I think is a great way of creating awareness and helping everyone to do their bit for the environment! From their website the team also partake in plenty of activities together creating a friendly and close connection between colleagues which is definitely encouraging to see and makes an outsider like myself look forward to hopefully being a part of a team like this one day! 

For me, Laika has always captivated my creativeness, because they never look at something as being impossible, they continue to push stop motion to higher ground. The passion that can be seen in the films themselves and in the behind the scenes videos are infectious and it helps push myself to achieve as much as possible.  

Working for a company like Laika would be incredibly beneficial in so many ways. As well as pushing my abilities as a stop motion animator or model maker, the opportunities to make a difference in the community and on a larger scale as well as inspire others to take part in this incredible art would be amazing.

If I worked at Laika I would bring my keen eye for learning new things and would always want to try anything even if it is something scary!! To be a part of a team made up of such talented individuals would inspire me to be greater every minute of the day and settle for nothing less than perfection!