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Jeff and Olivier on animation and music


While Jeff and Olivier both studied at the Alberta College of Art and Design, they didn’t meet until crossing paths at iStockphoto where they began to collaborate on the wildly creative Windsage video. Saturated in the music industry for years, Jeff has played in indie bands, worked as tour manager for Martin Sexton and produced songs for international clients before becoming iStock’s audio manager. Olivier comes from a more digital background, moving from computer programing into the world of film and video that has taken him as far as Mumbai. A founding member of Prototype Films and an iStock contributor (darthvideo), Olivier is constantly pushing the envelope with moving pictures.

You both come from fields outside of animation. Why an animation?
We both wanted to tell a visual story, and with skills in drawing, motion graphics and music production, animation seemed to be the perfect middle ground. Storytelling through animation also pushed us into new territory that forced us to be open to new concepts and explore new techniques when problem solving.

Which came first, the music or the animation?
We started with the animation first but we really hit our stride and gained momentum when Jeff produced the song we animated to.

Assuming there was music what was playing while you were working?
There was not a lot of music for some reason we would always have a movie running while we worked. Most times it was just interesting background noise, sometimes it was a needed distraction from the monotony of animation and some nights just watching a movie was ok.

What’s on your iPod right now?
Olivier: The Soundtrack to Halo 4 and Bootie Mashups.
Jeff: Torche and Bon Iver.

Experience the wild ride of Windsage.

What is more important inspiration or work?
They both have their place. We knew we wanted to work together on a creative project. For the first little while we were inspired by everything and kept rallying ideas back and forth. We tried to think each idea to perfection, which can lead to a lot of fun, but little productivity. When necessity drove us to produce, we found inspiration had to kick in. When inspiration kicked in we let it take us where it needed to go.

What is the creative tool/s you cannot live without?
Olivier: Adobe Creative Suite, pencil and paper.
Jeff: Draftsman’s Mechanical pencil, original Bic ballpoint pens (red, blue and black), Hipstamatic and Sketchbook pro on my iPad.

When necessity drove us to produce, we found inspiration had to kick in. When inspiration kicked in we let it take us where it needed to go.

Good collaboration involves navigating differences and compromise – How did this play out with the making of Windsage?
Jeff: Most times you have to follow the other person into their doomed idea while dropping a trail of breadcrumbs along the way. When that person gets lost and tires themselves out in a rage of “This is never going to F*!#@ing work” You graciously point out the bread crumbs and never say “I told you so” as you climb back out of the rabbit hole.
Olivier: This is going to sound like a cliché but communication, laughter and leaving your ego at the door. We discussed and explored many ideas until a visual language evolved. Both drawings and animation techniques went through many changes until we found a style that complimented the both of us.

You are in a cab with 3 people, anyone in the world, dead or alive; who would they be?
Olivier: Joseph Campbell, Nikola Tesla and Lucile Ball.
Jeff: My Grandmother (she would be brutally honest about the state of things in heaven), Jean Arp and Nina Simone.

Coffee or tea (or something more herbal, this video was wacky!)?
Jeff: Prefer coffee but Olivier buys tea by the truckload so at the studio most nights it was tea.
Olivier: I do love my tea and cheese.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give to young aspiring creatives?
Olivier: Keep the momentum going, produce and finish work. Be proud of your accomplishments and move on to the next project.
Jeff: The only honest answer is “I don’t know.” With all other answers go with your gut.

View more iStock video

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Design innovator Charles S. Anderson on his idols and inspiration.

iStock’s own Lon Parker talks storytelling in the age of new media.

Remember when ideas came before strategies?


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