Who is Jodi Sandler? Could you introduce yourself?
I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and grew up in Toronto, Canada. As far as I remember, I was always drawing and loved art class very much. In high school I became very interested in animation, and I went to Sheridan College where I received a BA in animation.
How long have you been working in the animation business and how did you start?
Since graduating in 2007, I’ve been working at Vivid Creative Services (in Markham, Ontario) —a boutique design agency— where I have the freedom to explore many aspects of art, from graphic design to illustration and animation. As the only animator in the studio, I get to work on projects from inital design, to production and right to completion.
Which was your first project? which is your favourite project and why?
The first project I worked on after graduating was the “Explode” (video reviewed on previous post in Tequila Bajo 0º) music video for Uh Huh Her. This was a very exciting project for me because I was a big fan of Leisha Hailey (from The L Word), and after hearing Uh Huh Her’s music, I was a fan of them as well.
How was your experience directing, animating and producing music videos?
One of the best things about a music video is that it’s basically a short film. And the audio is completed before I begin. I like to make the most of the experience by travelling if it’s possible. For the “Explode” video, Uh Huh Her wanted the video set in Paris, so I went there for three weeks to draw, paint, and to get inspired. It was amazing, and working with the band was great. Initially we had a phone conversation to discuss the general concept, and from there I was free to develop the designs, storyboards, leica reel and so on.
For “Angels We Have Heard on High” (Sixpence None the Richer), I had total freedom for the entire video, but very little time to complete it since it was to be released before christmas. I needed help, so I hired a very talented friend to paint backgrounds for me. What a relief! It was interesting to be in charge of the production where I wasn’t the only one working on it, and make sure that the bg painter was on board with my ideas and able to deliver on time. She did a fantastic job, so I couldn’t be more greatful and it certainly took a huge load off of my shoulders to be able to finish the video on time.
What inpires you in your creations, how do you create a character? How do you manage to bring it to life? Do you have a favourite character?
I spent a few weeks designing the characters for the “Explode” video before I left for Paris. Once they were established it wasn’t very hard to bring them to life. The design and storyboarding stages are where I figure out who the characters are, how they move, etc. So when I was in Paris, I had the characters in mind and would walk through the streets and try to imagine them and picture the shots.
Seems that you have quite enough liberty at work to design and produce, that’s rare. So congrat! What can you you tell the future animators or the future designers about their expectations in the working field?
Uh Huh Her was quite involved in each step of production, which not only made the video fun to work on, but it also made sense since it was their song – but this isn’t always the case. Not only with bands, I constantly come across clients who either don’t know how to direct me (if they don’t know exactly what they want), or simply trust me and give me the freedom to be creative. I am always open to clients giving input, but am capable of working with little direction. It is rare and very nice to have so much freedom with the creative process, not only with clients, but within the studio as well. I work with an art director who has almost 30 years of experience in advertising, so she is there to guide me.
My advice for any animator or designer with a vision, is to pursue it. Love what you do. It may take time to get the freedom that you want, but it’s worth the struggle or wait. When you get to work on projects that you love, you wake up with a smile on your face everyday and actually like working!
What’s in Jodi’s Sandler near future? Projects? Travel?
Well, I’ve just come home from a trip to Portugal, which was amazing!! As for projects, I am working on something I’m very excited about, so hopefully you’ll see it next fall/winter!
Until then you can check out my blog and website, I’ll be posting some art from Portugal soon:
Thank you Jodi!
Fritania de las dos Cejas