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!