School of Motion

Small Studios Rule: A Chat with Wednesday Studio

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We sit down with Iria Lopez and Daniela Negrin Ochoa, the dynamic duo behind Wednesday Studio and masters of motion in every sense of the word.

There are so many great studios popping up that it's tough to keep track of 'em all. We are living in the golden age of the small studio; 2 or 3 person shops that stay lean and mean and produce killer work while keeping overhead nice and low. On the podcast today we have the co-founders of an amaaaazing shop based in London called Wednesday Studio.
Get ready to meet Iria Lopez and Daniela Negrin Ochoa. They are the two creative minds behind the studio and have established Wednesday as a shop that produces beautiful illustrated work with a strong mix of traditional animation, 2D after effects stuff, and even a little bit of 3D. In this chat we talk about their backgrounds as international women of mystery, who also both hold master's degrees in Animation Direction, and we chat about how they are able to keep their shop small while still being able to scale up for bigger projects. Along the way they drop all kinds of tips about design, direction, animation, business, and more. This episode is packed full of a lot of very tactical, useful tips. So sit back, and enjoy this conversation...

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Wednesday Studio Transcript

Joey: This is the School of Motion Podcast. Come for the MoGraph, stay for the puns.
Dani: The great thing about being as small as we are is that it gives us a lot of flexibility and we're able to manage our time in certain ways. We're also able to take on small projects because we don't have a payroll of people that are depending on that. We can take some smaller passion projects and in our downtime we can do things, maybe a charity project and things like that.
On the flip side, when we are very busy we do end up to wear all the hats, I guess. We're producing at the same time as we're directing and designing, and then we-
Joey: There are so many great studios popping up that it's tough to keep track of them all. We are probably living in the golden age of the small studio, two or three person shops that stay lean and mean and produce killer work while keeping overhead nice and low.
On the podcast today we have the co-founders of an amazing shop based in London called Wednesday Studio. Get ready to meet Iria Lopez and Daniella [Nigria Achona]. Did you like my rolled Rs? I've been practicing. They are the two creative minds behind the studio and have established Wednesday as a shop that produces beautiful illustrated work with a strong mix of traditional animation, 2D after effect stuff, and even a little bit of 3D. In this chat we talk about their backgrounds as international women of mystery who also both hold masters degrees in animation direction and how they're able to keep their shop small while still being able to scale up for bigger projects. Along the way they drop all kinds of tips about design, direction, animation, business, just a lot of very tactical, useful tips. Sit back and enjoy this conversation. I know I did.
Dani and Iria, thank you so much for coming on. I am so excited to talk to you both. Just welcome to the podcast.
Dani: Thank you so much for having us.
Iria: Thank you.
Joey: Yeah, it's my pleasure. The first thing I wanted to ask you, I tried to find this out because you've both been on other podcasts and you've been interviewed before, but I couldn't figure out where your name came from. Where did the Wednesday Studio name come from?
Dani: God, picking the name turned out to be really, really hard.
Joey: It's like a band name.
Dani: Yeah, exactly, and there's so much riding on it, you know? I think we spent like two weeks back and forth like throwing out names and whenever we chose something that we sort of liked we'd look it up and somebody else had it.
Joey: Right.
Dani: We weren't very original, or somebody in the art world had it or something close to it. Then we were so fed up that the truth is on a Wednesday we picked the name Wednesday. That was it. I mean, we've gone backwards and assigned meaning to it. We're like, "Oh yeah, it's Wednesday because it's in the middle of the week and we meet in the middle," you know?
Joey: Right.
Dani: We try to put some meaning behind it, but yeah, the truth is it was a Wednesday.
Joey: That's really funny.
Dani: We liked it.
Joey: Yeah, I mean, it's really kind of catchy. It reminds me of the band U2. The story I heard is that the name doesn't actually mean anything, but you say it enough times and then you can sort of imply meaning in it, so in the end it doesn't' matter. That's really funny. I love that story.
Dani: Yeah, for sure. We need to sit down and come up with a good backstory for it.
Joey: Yeah. Wednesday is hump day, so I don't know if you ... The studio, it's a small studio, and I know the two of you are based in London. I want to get a little bit deeper there, but how do the two of you split up the responsibilities of the studio? Do you have separate roles or are you both sort of generalist in running it?
Iria: We share everything equally, so we just talk about what needs to be done. We usually share even the amount of emails that we have to send. We talk about-
Dani: Yeah, we split everything up, but I think the thing is Iria and I started very much as a duo directing team.
Iria: Yeah.
Dani: The very first project that we had we split everything 50/50.
Iria: Yeah, we made lists of everything that needs to be done and then we split it in half, and very often we throw a coin to choose who does what group of things.
Dani: Yeah, and that means that we'll end up doing things that maybe we necessarily didn't want to do or shots that were outside of our comfort zone and things like that.
Joey: I love the coin flip idea. That's a great way of delegating. You're splitting obviously the creative responsibilities, but how about the business responsibilities? Are you also splitting those?
Dani: Yeah, same.
Iria: We've got almost like one mind really. We talk about everything and we make all the decisions together.
Joey: I love it. That's really cool. Okay, I want to come back to that later on because that's an interesting way of doing it and it's a little unique, I think, to your studio because especially as studios grow you sort of do have to specialize in your role. I want to get into that a little bit, but let's get a little more about the studio itself. How big is the current sort of full time team at your studio?
Dani: Full time it's Iria and myself and we only just got a third member about five months ago, a head of new business.
Joey: Ooh, congrats.
Dani: Thank you, but we are a really small studio. It is Iria and myself full time and then we just get freelancers in as and when we need it.
Iria: Yeah, we have a sound designer that always does the sound for our things, Tom Drew, and we love him. He's super talented. Then we just hire freelancers as we go. They're brilliant.
Joey: How often is that? Are most of the projects big enough where you need freelancers, or are you doing a lot of the work just the two of you?
Iria: It's a bit of both really, like many projects it's just the two of us, but many other projects we hire other people.
Dani: Yeah, at the beginning it was just the two of us and then over time we've been able to get bigger and bigger projects. It also depends on how many come in at the same time, but yeah, we've been getting more and more freelancers recently, which is quite cool. That's exciting to be able to work with people like that.
Iria: With talented people, yeah.
Joey: I was looking at your work earlier and you both do a great job of putting the credits on your website of everyone that worked on it. I saw Oliver Sin's name on there and a lot of really, really talented, talented animators. Let's talk a little bit about your backgrounds. The two of you have lived all over the world it seems like. I've assembled a list as best I could, so Spain, Venezuela, Curacao, Holland, I saw Florida on there, which made me smile, and now you're both living in London. As someone who has only lived in the United States his entire life, I've lived in different parts of it, but I've never lived abroad and I haven't traveled as much as ... I think most people from other countries go to other countries more often than Americans.
I'm just curious. How has that international living and sort of absorbing of cultures influenced the work you do? I'm always curious about how backgrounds and childhoods can influence the actual work that animators are doing and I'm curious if on a conscious level you're aware of say being born in Spain or being born in Venezuela actually affecting the work you're doing even though now you're in London.
Iria: I have a feeling that that influence was a little bit more obvious in our graduation themes, like we both made our films in Spanglish, so there is a mix of languages in the films. Then the look of it is quite I'd say Hispanic or Latin because of the design of the characters or the color palette, but from then on with our commercial maybe the only thing that would be linked culturally to our background maybe is the bright color palette perhaps. Maybe we are not aware of other type of things.
Dani: Yeah, you know, it's a really good question, but the truth is I really don't actually know how it would have influenced it because even if, I think, creatively you live in the same country, there's such a big online community and you're always exposed to work from people from all over the world. I think all of that has a lot of influence in things, but I think what Iria said, like it had the biggest influence when we were studying, for sure. In fact, our graduation films are what drew us to each other, because when we saw the films there were a lot of similarities in them, like the type of colors and the type of styles that we were attracted to, so maybe. Maybe that was a cultural link there.
Iria: Yeah, cultural link.
Joey: Yeah, so one of the questions that I wanted to ask you about was the use of color in a lot of your work. I mean, to me, that's kind of where I feel like I can sort of sense a little bit of influence and not just from the two of you, but from other designers. I remember I asked this question to Jorge, JR [Cannist] a while ago because he is from Bolivia and he kind of said the same thing. He's like, "I'm sure that it influences me. I'm just not sure how," but he did mention color palettes.
Growing up in say Boston, Massachusetts you are not surrounded by very bright, vibrant colors, but if you ... I mean, for example, Curacao is one of the most colorful places I've even been in my life. I've actually visited there.
Dani: Isn't it beautiful? It's so nice.
Joey: It's amazing and I would imagine growing up ... I don't know how old you were when you were there, but I would imagine that just seeing color palettes like that every day might almost give you permission to use them later on, where I would feel kind of ... If I'm designing something putting bright, hot pink next to bright yellow feels like I'm not allowed to do that, like that's too much.
Dani: After Curacao I was in Florida, but then I was in Holland and London. You know, gray, lots of gray. Yeah, maybe growing up with that, and also South American art and Spanish art as well tends to be quite vibrant.
Joey: Right.
Dani: Yeah, I'm sure that had an influence for sure.
Joey: That's really cool. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a designer and I was trying to work on my design skills because I'm really more of an animator than a designer. He told me that the best thing he ever did was traveling. I was expecting him to say like go buy this book or go take a class and he said to travel. It kind of makes sense. This is a topic I kind of want to dig into more and more as I get older.
Let's go back a little bit in time to school. You've already alluded to the fact that the two of you met in school and you were sort of drawn to work with each other because you have a similar style. You both, I guess, were in a masters degree program. Is that right?
Dani: Yeah.
Iria: Yeah.
Joey: Okay, so that's really ... I haven't met many animators who have a masters degree. It just sounds very impressive and lofty, so I'm curious if you could talk about why you chose that program. Is there something about the masters degree as opposed to just getting a bachelors degree or something that you felt was important?
Iria: The masters was in particular about directing animation, so the interesting thing about it is that in this course we will be working as directors for another team of students with different backgrounds, like producers or [inaudible] or screenwriters. That was something that really interested us in this course, but also at the same time my background was not animation at all, so I thought I would just jump the gun and go for it, and learn animation at the same time that I learned how to work with a team to make a film.
Dani: Yeah, because it's a film school, so it also teaches you a lot about filmmaking and storytelling. I had more of an animation background than Iria maybe. My BA was mixed, illustration and animation, but the truth is I felt like I wasn't ready for the real world with the work that I did in my BA, and it's got nothing to do with the course. The course was really good. It was just I didn't make the most of it while I was there and then I didn't feel like I had developed a style properly or really felt like I knew what I was doing, and also I just needed a lot more work in animation. I felt like I really needed a masters in order to get a film that I was proud of to go into the real world.
Joey: Got it, so it was an animation direction program. What does that mean? Can you talk a little bit about ... What are the skills that you need to develop to direct animation as opposed to just being a good animator?
Dani: Communication.
Iria: Yeah, communication. In the course we had to pitch our idea to the other departments in order to get our team from the different courses, so knowing how to pitch was part of the learning process. Then also understanding how people can help you in the project and how to rely on them and delegate things from the film towards other people.
Dani: Yeah, and it taught us how to deal with budgets as well because they give you a really small budget. This course was the National Film and Television School, by the way. I don't know if you mentioned that.
Iria: No, I don't think so.
Dani: Yeah, it's like two years, a little bit more than two years. It's like imitating a real production as much as possible within a school environment, I guess.
Joey: Yeah, I was going to say it sounds like a simulation of a real production.
Dani: Yeah, so you get a budget and you have to come up with your idea of the film. If it's not in a good place when you pitch it to the tutors, they won't bring the budget and you can't start, so almost like a real production.
I think that the focus in the masters that we did wasn't so much on animation technique. It was about learning how to manage all of these sides of filmmaking.
Iria: Yeah, how to work on a team and how to communicate with the different members of your team.
Dani: Yeah, how to handle egos, all of that.
Joey: That sounds incredibly useful and I would imagine that a lot of what you learned ... What often happens is that people go to school, and even college and masters programs, and then what they end up doing in their career doesn't actually have much to do with what they learned. That's certainly the case for me, but it sounds like what you learned in that program is what you're doing every day.
Dani: Yeah, we're really lucky.
Iria: We actually thought that at the end real life was easier than at school.
Dani: Yeah, it was so much harder then.
Joey: That's amazing. That's a really good commercial for that program then. We'll link to that in the show notes if anyone is interested. What was it? The National School of Film and Television?
Iria: National Film and Television School.
Joey: National Film and Television School, cool. They should come up with a sexier name, I think, like Wednesday. They should have a better ...
Dani: Wednesday is taken.
Joey: Right, exactly. Your lawyer will sent them a note.
Dani, you said that you were kind of focused on, I think you said mixed illustration, but Iria, I know you were more coming from a fine arts background. I'm curious what that background gave you that you now use as someone doing more commercial animation.
Iria: Yeah, that's an interesting question. I feel that I got two important skills from my background in fine arts that I can apply to my now profession. One of them is that I learned quite a bit about contemporary art and different types of artists and that helps me a lot to come up with those type of references in our work. Also in fine arts you learn how to answer briefs thinking out of the box and I feel I learned to come up with ideas quite quickly for different briefs.
Joey: Can you talk a little bit more about that? What did you learn or what sort of techniques do you use? Because I agree with you. What I've seen from the best studios in the world including yours is that the references that I see in your work, the inspirations, they're all over the place. They're painters and they're not just other motion design studios. How does that fine arts training help your brain do that?
Iria: It's weird because in fine arts you have to come up with your own briefs, you have to just be consistent with your work but at the same time make it look like you have a [inaudible]. I don't know. I feel that when I finished fine art I was not really sure about what I learned and how to apply that to anything really. I felt quite lost, but in my everyday life now, so professional life, I realize that fast thinking was one of the most helpful things I learned within fine arts. Just coming up with answers to questions, answers that probably wouldn't be the first thing that comes to your head when you read the brief. Maybe something a little bit different, I don't know. I think that's one of the most important things I learned.
Dani: Like drawing inspiration from anything essentially.
Iria: Yeah.
Joey: That's a really useful skill. I mean, learning how to see. One of the things I learned from Ian and Nick who run Gunner in Detroit is that you can look at something that looks nothing like animation, you can look at a building, and it can give you an idea for a motion design piece. It's kind of a skill that you have to develop and in our industry now there's far more people that don't have a fine arts background, so I'm really interested to hear how that's kind of helped you.
Why don't we do this? If you're doing a "fine art piece," you're just doing something to make art versus doing something for a client, how is that process different?
Iria: The difference is that when you do something for a client you have parameters. The client tells you what they want and [inaudible] they give you a color palette or not, so you have more things that limit what you have to do. In fine art you put your own limits. It was really hard not having limits set by someone else. You often feel quite lost when there is not like a [inaudible] brief by someone else for you to do something, if this makes sense.
I think in fine arts you learn how to do those parameters when you don't have them and how to drive your creativity towards something, if this makes sense.
Joey: Yeah. I was thinking that in a way ... Because doing something without parameters I think is the hardest thing to do, so are you saying as a fine artist you learned to essentially give yourself those parameters and you're almost acting like the client?
Iria: Yeah, that's what I mean.
Joey: Okay, yeah. It sounds like then doing client work in a lot of ways is easier because you don't have this infinite canvas. There's actually a box that you have to stay within, which is kind of helpful creatively.
Iria: Yeah, exactly.
Joey: Got it, okay. Let's talk about your animation shops, which are awesome. Obviously you both have masters degrees in directing animation, so we know you're good at that, but you're both also animators, correct?
Iria: Yeah.
Joey: You animate, I know that you use after effects and other tools, but you animate traditionally primarily. That is really, really hard to learn and to get good at. I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit about what it was like for you to learn to do that. What was the learning curve like? How long did it take before you felt comfortable doing it?
Dani: If we're perfectly honest, we never fully feel comfortable with it. It's like, oh gosh, this shot sounds really hard or this one sounds really hard. How about you take it?
Iria: Yeah, this is a life goal for us still.
Dani: Yeah. We still love it, but we always feel like we could be [crosstalk].
Iria: I think it's especially hard when you're working for other people. Maybe it's because we used to animate for ourselves mainly. When we used to do animation for other people it felt a bit harder to think about what they want, how they want it. I don't know, but yeah, we really love animating anyway and it's a really fun challenge to have. I don't know.
Dani: But I think also the learning curve that you mentioned was quite steep for both of us because ... Maybe even more for Iria because she had zero animation background when she went into the masters. She had to learn on the masters while doing her graduation film. I had done a little bit of animation in my BA, but I felt out of the people in my course I was the least qualified, so I was learning on the go. You know, like looking at Richard William's walk cycles.
Joey: Right.
Iria: Yeah, Richard Williams, Richard William's walk cycle.
Dani: Oh my god, that was our bible.
Iria: Richard William's book was really helpful for us.
Dani: Yeah, and-
Iria: And also [inaudible]. I remember [inaudible], a fellow student in Dani's course, and he really taught me a lot about how to animate.
Dani: Yeah, he's now in [inaudible] by the way. He's doing well.
Iria: Yeah, and Jack [inaudible] in my course. He also was really, really helpful.
Dani: That graduation film, we both actually did it on paper, like real paper.
Joey: Ooh wow.
Dani: I know, I know, which is crazy now that I think of it because ... The reason I did it on paper is because even when I was doing my masters I still didn't know how to use a [inaudible], so I didn't know how to draw on Photoshop. It was a steep learning curve.
Iria: I think the reason why I did it on paper is because I didn't know how to animate and by doing it on paper I was learning how to animate. If I would have chosen to do it on software I would have to learn how to animate and how to use the software, so it was one thing less to learn. I don't know. It felt quite natural doing it that way for me.
Joey: Yeah, that's a really good point. I was going to ask. A lot of our students who get out into the industry and then they want to learn traditional animation, they go right to doing it in Adobe Animate or Photoshop. They skip doing it on paper and having to learn how to roll the pages and doing all that stuff.
I'm curious. Since you both learned to do it the old school way with paper and pencil, do you think there's any benefits to learning it that way and then going to the computer? Is there something that you gain from that?
Iria: You can do this one.
Dani: I would say maybe learning on the computer, because it's quicker, the animation process is quicker, maybe it gives you more room for experimentation within whatever time that you have, but on paper it forces you to think more about the marks that you're making on the page [inaudible], so you're not rubbing everything out a million times.
Iria: Yeah, you can't scale things or rotate things and it forces you to think ahead about timings also because you can't like the [inaudible] so easily, or [inaudible] so easily. I think it forces you to think ahead before ... Yeah.
Joey: I love that. Yeah, I can totally see that. It's like you have to make a decision sooner. I was just listening to a podcast about music. They were talking about the digital revolution there where all of the sudden, you can record a sound into Pro Tools, and then you can wait until the last minute to decide how it's actually going to sound in the mix, whereas 50 years ago, you couldn't do that. You record a guitar; it sounds like it sounds in the room. There's something nice about having to develop discipline about making choices and sticking to them, so I really like that.
Dani: Having said that, we haven't done any paper innovations since. That was what, seven years ago?
Iria: Yeah, it was a revolution to be a lot faster once we learned how to do it on the computer.
Dani: Yeah.
Iria: We never looked back.
Dani: I've done a teeny, teeny bit of traditional animation, but I vaguely understand the process of it. Maybe it'd be helpful to our listeners to talk about that a little bit. Why don't we just assume that everyone listening, if they're going to be doing this, they're doing it on a computer now. If you're doing it on a computer, do you still have to do things like a rough pass, and then a tie down or a clean up pass, and then an inking pass? Does it still that way? Can you kind of maybe just talk through what that process looks like?
Iria: Yeah. It's quite the same, really. The first thing is we first thumb nail the action to make sure we know what we want to animate quite quickly, like the action of it. We act it out, and we take notes of the acting of the character, if we are taking about character animation. Then we do the kiss. Then we do the rough, and the [inaudible]?
Dani: Yeah, so do another pass to bring it on model, and then ...
Iria: The clean up.
Dani: Clean up, very less than ...
Iria: Then the covering, and then shading if there is shading.
Dani: If you want to get fancy.
Iria: Yeah.
Joey: Oh wow. See, I always animated in After Effects, and the few times I would try to do some frame-by-frame stuff, I would do little maybe 10 frame loops or things like that, because it just takes so much patience to do. I have incredible respect for anyone that does it, and does it well.
I want to talk a little bit about the actual work that you're both doing, and you're studio's doing. One of the things that really drew me to your studio's work was the designs. The animation's great, but the design, it has this uniqueness to it. It's got this flavor to it. Specifically the color palettes. We already mentioned that maybe some of that comes subconsciously from the places that you've lived, but the color in your work is really, really stunning. There's creative, unique uses of color that I myself would never come up with. I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit about how the two of you approach choosing color palettes. Do you have tools you use? Do you hop on the image, and grab an image, and color pick? Do you just wing it? How do you do that?
Dani: We do a lot of reference image collection, and I think that really helps inform what we end up doing for. You know how we were discussing before about having restrictions and how that helps, we like to apply that same way of thinking for our color palettes. We like to stick to very limited color palettes. Maybe we'll start with some primary colors, take a couple of them out at a couple of different ...
Iria: Tones.
Dani: Tones of the same one, and maybe throw a different color that's not primary, to make it a little bit different.
Iria: Yeah, but this one we were with three or four main colors, and then we do some different shades of the same ones, for highlights, or shadings. Yeah, for as the main source of inspiration on what colors to pick for that project usually comes from the scripts and from the mood, what we do. For example, in the School of Life, because the story was about a mine, we went for a bit of a darker type of palette, but for our TED Ed, because their script was having more fun, and a bit more highlighted, we went for a pastel and bright type of color palette.
Dani: Yeah, same for me.
Iria: It was a more playful type of a story.
Dani: Also, I think because we also stick to the three or four main colors, that forces us to use those colors in creative ways. The sky isn't always going to necessarily be blue, because maybe we don't have in the three or four colors that we picked, or we end up picking weird colors for trees.
Joey: Ooh, I love that. I love that. Yeah, you sort of make a set of rules for yourself that you can't break, and then that forces you to use colors creatively. That's a really good tip. When I have to pick colors for things, I do the same thing. I find reference, and I steal from the things I like, but then I also often have to think about color rules. If I need a contrasting color, I might go look at a color wheel and grab the complimentary color, or do a triad, or something like that. Do the two of you ever fall back on those design 101 color rules? Are those helpful for you in the real world?
Iria: We actually don't usually do that, although it's probably helpful.
Dani: Yeah, we're like, "Oh, let's write it down."
Iria: Just based on we're color picking the main, primary colors, and then we do variations of that. Instead of yellow, maybe we have a darker yellow that is more pinky, or instead of a red, we have a more two-shade type of color, or instead of blue, we have ... I don't know. We base our color palette in the main, primary palette, and we do variation. We just change it, and play with it, and see how it was, and if we can create interesting contrast. Yeah, we do tests, and then when it works for us, we just keep it.
Dani: Yeah, we do a lot of color tests. We'll do a rough line work of the layout, and then we might do a couple different version with different color combinations to see how it feels.
Joey: Excellent. You mention that you pull a lot of reference before you get to that step. I'm curious, what places, what sources do you look for or look to, to get reference?
Iria: Our collection of images is quite random, and quite wide. There is lots of other artist's work, but there is also just photographies, and anything really, objects, sculptures ...
Joey: Yeah, film, like from film.
Iria: Yeah, films.
Joey: We like to do our mood boards on Pinterest. We set up a private Pinterest, and the two of us will just collect a bunch of different images. That can ... When you click on one, then you see a bunch of different suggestions that ... Sometimes it's not good, but sometimes it'll trigger something else, and we're like ooh, look at this one, look at this one, look at this one. Then we'll go through all of them and talk about what it is that we like about each image, and how that ties into the script.
Iria: Yeah, ones we like are this, the ones we don't like, why we like them. We take our decision based on that discussion.
Joey: Yeah, that's one of my favorite parts of the process. It's just so much fund, and Pinterest is actually what we teach our students to use in our design class, because it still ... It's not the best tool for necessarily presenting mood boards, but in terms of collecting, and finding and discovering things, it's still, I think, probably one of the best things out there.
I want to talk about ... Sometimes I find that a good way of learning what works and what to do is to ask people what not to do. I'm wondering if there's any things you can think of, and let's keep it specific. Let's give ourselves some parameters. I'm learning from you two. Let's talk about design. If you work with another designer or another illustrator, are there things that you see junior designers do, or people very new to the industry, that are no-nos? Like using two many type faces together, or bad color combinations, or something like that. Is there something that stands out to you as I know someone's inexperienced if they do this?
Iria: I think the things that bother the most, they are more a taste type of thing, rather than based on the experience of the designer. We usually like simple things. The simpler is the better for everything, for the characters, for the backgrounds, or for the writing.
Dani: We'll tend to ... If we were working with an illustrator, but even when we're designing ourselves, one of the things we do is we end up stripping things back. If something, an image, is too busy for example, we like things that are simpler, more cleaner. Yeah, like you just said, it's not an experience things necessarily; its just our preference more than anything else.
Joey: Interesting, yeah. I like the way you put it. It's taste. Are there things ... I think taste is personal, and everyone has different taste, but it's also something that you need to develop if you're going to be a professional artist. If someone came to you and they were maybe still in school, and they asked, "How can I develop better taste so that I have a better repertoire to pull from," what would you tell them?
Iria: Travel.
Joey: Hey, there we go.
Dani: Let's steal your advice.
Joey: Yeah.
Iria: It's a difficult question, because I think ... I don't know. With taste, what is with taste? It's just taste. I don't know if ...
Dani: It's so subjective.
Iria: Instead of looking at ... It's probably about analyzing things, and thinking about why you like them, and just look at many things. That's why, here, traveling is a good place, because the more you travel, the more things you will probably see.
Dani: Yeah. It forces you to not ... You get exposed to different things, so maybe that's what it is about travel, that it exposes you to things outside of your bubble, so you can expand in taste. You suddenly have new influences that you wouldn't have comes across within your ... Your environment that you're used to.
Joey: Yeah, I think that's really true, and I think also, when you travel, every place you go, the taste is different there. What's beautiful in one place would be considered not beautiful in another place. My family recently just traveled in Europe, and we went to Prague, which I'd never been to. Everything's just shaped differently there. Roofs are shaped differently. I come back, and I live in Florida where everything looks the same, in South Florida.
Dani: So much beige.
Joey: Exactly, yeah. There's a lot of Spanish tile, and there's ... I just noticed that when I ... The way that I come up with idea shifted quite a bit when I came back from that trip, because I had been immersed in culture, and in countries where I don't speak the language, and things like that. It was really ... I always thought it was kind of cliché to say just travel, and get experience, and that's how you'll do better work, but I actually saw a practical benefit from doing it. I thought it was funny that you said the same thing.
Iria: Yeah. Also, when you travel, you are new to lots of things that people from the area probably don't see because you are so used to it. It's the same way that you are in your own city, or in your own country. You are blind to certain things You feel a lot more inspired by these things when you are in a different place, because they are new to you. They really force ... It's not that they force you, but you really get inspired, and you really learn from these experiences.
Joey: I want to talk about ... You brought this up a minute ago. You said one of the things that you two like is simpler designs, not too busy; however, when I look at your work. I actually think a lot of it is pretty visually dense. There's a lot of texture, and there's a lot of things going on, especially some of your illustration work. With all of that visual density, you can still tell what you're supposed to look at. There's still a hierarchy to the image, and there's composition. That's very tricky, directing the viewer's eye to the right spot. I'm curious how you two approach that? Are there any tricks, or techniques, or things that help you do that, or you just kind of mess around until it looks right, and you know it when you see it?
Dani: The second one.
Iria: The second one, for sure.
Dani: We do super rough ... We always start doing really rough drawings, because we end up changing the composition quite a bit, and moving things around a lot.
Iria: With commissioned illustrations, sometimes they are a lot busier than we could do for ourselves, mainly because very often, clients want to say a lot in one single image. It comes with a brief, and we just need to try to fit all of that in one image. We try to make it look simpler than the brief is telling us, but that still often is quite hard to make it simpler. They want to say so much in so little.
Dani: Yeah. With animation, you can tell the story over several scenes, and then with illustration, you get given the whole story, but you have one image to tell it in. Yeah, it's a different way of thinking about the composition and those things.
Joey: It sounds like it's mostly intuitive to you, then. Are there things that you learned, that having lines that sort of point to where you want the viewer to look, or having the main area of focus have more contrast, or something like that, do you think consciously about that, or do you just end up doing them?
Iria: Yeah. We do color first, and then when we look at it we realize okay, well for this project, the main thing is the coffee, because it's for a coffee brand, or whatever, for example. We realize actually the coffee's not that obvious once the image has been colored. We try to rearrange the colors to make the coffee more obvious in the image, and everything around a little less. This is just an example.
Dani: Also, what you said about having lines pointing to where you want to draw the audience's eye, that's something that we do a lot, too. We'll sometimes do a bit of a grid, like working with diagonals to try to move and place objects along a certain line, leading to the main area of focus.
Joey: Yeah. I think the beginner mistake that I see the most often with design is having something that looks pretty, but you don't know where to look. All of these little tricks, I ... It's funny. I think the way I always approached design was a lot more ... I think I've always tried to find the rules and to find the tricks that make it work, because it's never been intuitive for me. I'm always curious when I meet people like the two of you, if that's conscious or not, or if it just comes out that way, and you sort of move it around, and yeah, it looks good now.
Iria: Yeah. We play around with it, and when it looks good, we approve. It's more like that.
Dani: It could just be also like learning a language. Like with English, it's my second language, but I've spoken it for so long that I've already forgotten what the rules were. I just know instinctively whether something sounds right or wrong. Maybe that's why I'm struggling to ...
Joey: I love that metaphor. That actually makes a ton of sense. No, that's brilliant. I love that, okay. Let's talk a little bit about the animation pipeline at your studio. What is the current ... Let's say that you're doing a typical job, and there's some traditional animation in it, maybe some after affects. What does it look like? Where does the animation begin and end, and how do you get through that process?
Dani: You mean the pipeline from when we start production, or right from when we get the briefing?
Joey: I would say when you start production. What tools are you using now? Are there any plugins, or hardware? Are you using Cyntiq? Stuff like that.
Dani: Yeah, well, definitely Cyntiqs. Now we use Cyntiqs for everything. I can't remember the last time we drew on paper, that ingrained into everything we do. Yeah, once we have ... Once the whole pre-production side of things is done, and that story's signed off, and we're going to get animators ... We start with the design, first of all, and we tend to do the design Photoshop everything. Even if the finals don't end up being in Photoshop, like if, for example, the TED project that we have, that one's all in After Effects, but we did all the rough design in Photoshop, just to roughly get all the proportions out, all the compositions out, and everything, and then we would clean it up directly in After Effects.
Joey: Yeah, also in Photoshop, we feel it's faster playing around with colors, and with shapes.
Dani: Yeah.
Joey: It's like a more intricate way of working, and when we are happy with how it looks, then we do it in After Effects, or in Illustrate.
Dani: Yeah. That one, once we had the roughs and we put them into After Effects, we do all the pieces, all the shapes, all the rigging directly on there, so the file is set up and ready to animate, and then pass it on to an animator if somebody else is on that shot, or we take it ourselves, compositing at the end. We tend to composite as we go, as well, because you're sending several whips to the client as you go.
Joey: Right. Yeah, and I would imagine, too, that actually brings up an interesting point. If you're doing traditional animation, there's a process to it, and there's stages to it, and you need to get the client to sign off on something probably well before you've finished out a shot, because otherwise, you might be doing a lot of extra work. Have you found it difficult ever to show the client, say, a rough pass of something that you animated by hand, and you have to explain to them, "Well, we're going to do this tie down pass, and then we're going to do inking, and compositing, but you have to imagine. It's going to look great, I promise." Has that ever been hard?
Dani: We honestly don't tend to show the client a rough, blocked out animation.
Iria: We do drop our line test in the animatic. Basically the first thing that clients sees is a timeframe, so they have a feel of how the final thing is going to look like. Then they see the animatic. Obviously, we showed them before some animation references, often from our own work. They have to trust that the line works, that the line test that we drop into the animatic is going to end up looking like those references. Aside from that, we show them before.
Dani: They've seen the design, and they've approved the design, then they're like, "Okay, that is how it's going to fully look like when it's finished." We tend to get most of the back and forth with the client on the design stage and the story stage.
Iria: The animatic, yeah. Animatics are very often difficult for the client to read, and there's a lot of back and forth on that stage. Once animatic is locked and approved, it's quite straight forward, usually.
Joey: Right. When you're working on that animatic stage, because I would agree, especially for traditional animation where it's very labor intensive, the animatic is just crucial. How far do you take an animatic? How done does it look?? Do you ever have to go even further than you would want to, just so the client can get it?
Dani: Yes.
Iria: Yes. Well, it also depends on the schedule. Sometimes there is no time to do it really finished, and they just have believe that we can do it based on our previous work.
Dani: Yeah. We've had quite a range of levels of finished for animatics, depending on the client, and how much they understand it, or how comfortable they're feeling with it.
Iria: Also on the project, on the schedule.
Dani: Yeah. We've done some animatics that are very, very rough, just rough thumbnails, and they're feeling it, and they feel confident, and they've seen some design works, and that's enough. We've had some other animatics where we've actually had to fully design every single frame, with the finished design as part of the animatic. Yeah, it's really on a project-project base.
Joey: Yeah, that makes sense. Let's get back to the tools for one second. What tools are you using for traditional animation? Are you using Animate, or are you going right into Photoshop?
Dani: Animate.
Iria: Yeah, we usually do the animation in Animate, and then very often, we do the cleanup in Photoshop.
Dani: Yeah. We're a fan of the Kyles brushes.
Joey: Of course. I'm wondering if you could just talk a little bit more about why you use those two tools for those parts of the process. Why not just do everything in Photoshop, and be able to skip that step of bringing it over? Is there something better about Animate for that rough pass?
Iria: For us, the timeline in Animate works so much better. It plays real time at the right moment. We find that the timeline in Photoshop is still not great. It often plays it slower. It makes it harder for us to see the timing is working.
Joey: Right.
Dani: Yeah, and in animate also, you have the frames. It's much easier to create frames than in Photoshop, in the Photoshop timeline.
Iria: Yeah. In Photoshop, usually you need to create an action to make the frames, which is fine, but in Photoshop, you already have a timeline with the frames. We can move things around a lot easier.
Dani: Yeah.
Joey: Yeah, I agree, yeah.
Dani: Animate is just easier for timing, so for doing particularly the timing side of things when you're doing the first rough pass, and blocking the animation Animate's definitely quicker. For us, it's a quicker tool.
Joey: Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. Are you using any plugins or anything for Photoshop to make it a little bit easier to do things like add frames, and turn on onion skinning, things like that?
Dani: Shortcuts.
Iria: Shortcuts and Actions.
Dani: Yeah. That's the main thing. Have you used a plugin port?
Joey: Yeah. There's AnimDessin. I think there's the Animator's Toolbar, or something like that. There's a few of them out there, and we'll link to them in the show notes, too, for anyone who's curious. There's actually toolbars that animators have made. It's basically just a user interface for the shortcuts that you two have made, and are using on your own. I'm always curious about how people do it. I got to watch Rachel Reid over at Gunner do some animation. I think she was using AnimDessin, which gives you just a button. You click it, onion skin is on. You click another button, it adds a two, or you can add a one. It's really cool. That's one of those things I really would love to have the time to dive into and get good at, but I don't. I'll just watch the two of you do it.
You mentioned before it's just the two of you. You're the two creatives at the studio, and you're doing a lot of the work, and also working with a lot of freelancers. The caliber of your work is very high. It might be different because the two of you are in London, but I've heard that it can be different to find freelancers who are A, at a high enough level to be able to do that high-end work, but also are available when you need them. I'm curious, especially with traditional animation, is it a challenge for you to find artists who can do what you need, or has that not been a problem?
Dani: No, not at all. If anything, that's the joy of it, to be able to work with ... I don't know. There's so many super talented people. We've never struggled to ... We always actually have a long list of people that we want to work with, and we wish we could hire more of.
Iria: Yeah, we love hiring people that I find are more talented than us, and they make us look really good, than what we do.
Joey: Of course
Dani: But maybe the thing is availability, like sometimes there's a lot of very talented people in London, but there's also a lot of really good studios. There's some very big ones, so sometimes like ... there was one particular studio that was doing a huge project and they swallowed up a bunch of the best After Effects animators for an entire summer. That one was hard to find After Effects animators during that time, everybody was always busy.
Iria: We ended up having to go to our Instagram account and contact people we love their work, remotely, like in the States or wherever. We ended up having a really good team of people working everywhere around the world.
Dani: That's actually how it worked with Oliver. It's because ...
Iria: Yeah. Where was he based? It wasn't in London. It was in England, but outside London. And also Alan ...
Dani: Allen Laseter and Andrew [Embry], so we ended up going for their field, and that was really cool.
Iria: And Russ. Mass [inaudible]
Dani: Yup. Even when we can't find people that are London based, we've worked with a lot of freelancers remotely and that's quite cool.
Joey: Oh, I think that's great. We recently had an episode where Ryan Summers and I talked for three and a half hours about what's going on in the industry and he thinks that 2019 is the year remote becomes just sort of universally acceptable. I'm curious since you two are working with Allen Laseter., who I think is in Nashville and you're in London, is it ... we've got amazing technology now, is it pretty easy to do that or are there still challenges?
Dani: There's pros and cons. We have to do more prep, maybe. We have to write down our briefs, but in fact the time difference was kind of useful, because we'd have a chat and the beginning of his day would be towards the end of our day, I guess .. and you know ...
Iria: Then in our morning we will have a WIP to look at while he's resting, so it was like a faster way of going through the work.
Dani: Yeah, it's like magic. You wake up and you have a present waiting. It's nice.
Joey: Especially if you hire Alan, you're definitely ...
Dani: Absolutely.
Joey: You know it's going to be good. You just have to let hi do his thing.
Iria: He was really amazing, having the opportunity to work with him.
Joey: Yeah, I'm a big fan.
Dani: It's obviously, it's nice being able to have people in, because just a little bit extra interaction and also hanging out with them, it's nice to be able to do, but the flexibility of doing remote work and being able to work with all these people that live in quite far away, it's really cool.
Joey: Yeah, so speaking of hanging out. The studio's based in London and London is one of the major markets for motion design and for animation, so I'm curious; I've spent some time recently in Los Angeles and there's kind of a scene, there's like events and motion designers hang out with each other, and there's meetups, and things like that. I'm curious if London has the same thing. Is there kind of a community that you can plug into as an animator there?
Dani: Yeah, definitely. In fact there's too many events. I always feel like, "Oh god, I don't have time to go all of them." Yeah there's lots of really cool stuff. Lots of screenings. There's "See No Evil Talks," which are ... they host talks in Shortage Bar ...
Iria: The Louvre. There is lots of hang outs and we love going and just see our friends, because before we set up our studio we were also freelancers ourselves and we used to hang out with everybody in the famous studios. We got to meet them, and talk to them, and we like to still go to these things and see them all.
Dani: Yeah, because one of the actual downsides may be that now we don't freelance for other people in that way, so we're not going out after work with all of those people that we would have.
Iria: Yeah, as a freelancer you move from a studio to a studio, so you are exposed to a lot more social interaction within the industry, but now we are in our own studio and we only get to really properly hang out with those who come here with us, so it's probably less.
Dani: Yeah.
Joey: Yeah, that makes sense.
Dani: It's ... I don't know, it's quite ... everybody seems to know everybody in London here in the animation industry. It's quite cool. It's really friendly type of vibe, I think.
Joey: Yeah, I was going to ask, 'cause there's a lot of amazing amazing studios in London. Cub and Animade, two of my favorites. I was just curious like, our industry seems basically like one big group of friends. Is there any sort of competitiveness between you and them, or different studios, or is it all kind of everybody's just happy to be here?
Iria: Everybody's happy to be here. It's quite friendly. We get a lot work sent our way from other studios quite often. Yeah, we think the community is quite friendly and nice.
Dani: Everybody's also willing to share advice, which is really nice. People don't tend to be secretive about things. Everybody's quite helpful with each other.
Joey: That's the way it should be. That's the way it should be.
Dani: Yeah. I think also like you said, because we were freelancers before, we got to meet a lot of the people that work or own some of the other studios as well, so that's been quite useful; to be able to get advice from them as well.
Joey: Let's talk about ... it's interesting that ... I love to hear that, that other studios, they're busy, they can't take a job, they'll refer to you Wednesday or to another studio. I want to talk about how you actually market your studio and how you get work. When I went to your site I saw that you have a Vimeo account, a Facebook, Twitter, Dribble, LinkedIn, and Instagram. You have one of each, as many social media accounts as you could have, and I'm just curious, are those platforms useful in terms of getting your studio work? How do you use them? How is social media part of your marketing strategy?
Iria: Well, these platforms are really helpful mainly for visibility. It really help us to get our work out there and people can see what we do. We can see what other people do. I think the main platforms that we use more often are Instagram and Vimeo. For Facebook and Twitter, we use them more to be in tune with the news and what's happening out there. Dribble we have a bit abandoned. I think we should get ...
Dani: We should really get back on that. It's just ... they're all different formats and you have to export everything differently. Like playing on top the social media is actually quite a time consuming job. One that [Iria's] better at than I am.
Joey: It's a never ending whirlpool. You can just constantly spend time promoting yourself on social media. I'm always curious, you know freelancers are doing pretty well, a lot of them getting work from social media. I was just curious do studios also get work from social media? Obviously it helps create some brand awareness for you, but have you gotten work because someone saw an Instagram post?
Dani: I think a couple of jobs, they've maybe discovered us by looking for animators or animation studios on Instagram. I think it's more about what you were saying, brand visibility in general.
Iria: Yeah and also, we hire animators ourselves just looking on Instagram. It's difficult for us to know if a job came particularly from Instagram, but definitely lots of people found us because of Instagram, I think. That probably means that potentially we get work from it.
Joey: There's kind of two schools of thoughts. On the one hand, I've heard for example Joe [Pilger], who was just on our podcast, he's a big fan of sort of old school sales. You do outbound sales and you get- you probably don't get on the phone anymore, but you email, and you followup, and you take people to lunch. Then there's the other side, which for freelancers works really well of, you put your work out there and you get as visible as possible. Then the clients kind of find you. I'm just curious and I think we're going to get into this in a few minutes, but do you try to balance the two of those or are you mostly relying on the inbound stuff that comes from people finding you?
Dani: We used to be mainly reliant on the inbound stuff, but since we hired Jen, our head of business development, she's really improved that side of us for us, and getting us out to meeting clients face to face, and showing our work directly. It does have more benefits to it in that sense, because you can actually talk through your work, show how them how you made things. That client interaction is definitely very beneficial. I think it's both ... both are just as important.
Joey: That's great. How did you find your biz dev person?
Iria: We had a recommendation really.
Dani: Yeah, it was actually the master's course that we did, it's a film school. My producer in my graduation film recommended her to me, so it's a really good place for connections. Our sound designer's from the same school as well.
Joey: Yeah. That's great. Now you have a full time biz dev person, which is excellent, but you also are repped. From what I can tell, you have two reps? Strange Beast and Passion Paris. That's a world I don't really know much about. I know that most of our audience doesn't ... they're not repped, they don't have a lot of experience with that. I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit about, how do you get repped? Then why is it a good thing to be repped? Why is that advantageous for you?
Iria: Well, I guess the advantages is that you are exposed to more work. It's always good having as many options for you to get more work.
Dani: It also gives a small studio like us the option to scale up for a big project easily if we wanted to partner up with someone bigger we could. I think that the main reason that people choose to get repped is just for exposure to ...
Iria: And big clients, yeah.
Joey: I mean, that's kind of the obvious reason that a small studio might want to work with a rep. Now, you were saying it also allows you to scale up. Does that mean other studios repped by your rep can now ... your sort of have access to their resources too, you can kind of partner up if the job is big enough?
Dani: No, no. We meant that you can ...
Iria: They can provide us with more space and we can hire even a lot of freelancers. We can have producing support and we can have a bigger team by having a bigger studio representing us.
Joey: Oh. Interesting. Okay, so your reps are themselves studios, like they have space that you could utilize?
Iria: Yeah.
Joey: Oh, that's really interesting. One of the things that I learned about, I think probably only a month ago, was that sometimes bigger studios, when they're book they will sort of offload work to smaller studios. I think Ryan Summers told me about it and I think the term he used was "white labeling." It's like the bigger studio can't do it, but they trust let's say Wednesday to do it, but the client just thinks that you know, "Oh, they're just hiring some contractors to help out." Does that ever happen with the two of you? Do you ever get bigger studios that they like your style, so they want you to direct the piece for them?
Dani: Not through white labeling. We've worked with ... no, they're more agencies. The short answer to that is no, we haven't.
Joey: Gotcha, okay.
Iria: No, usually when a bigger studio send a job our way, it's not always because they cannot do it. Sometimes it's because they feel our style is more suitable for that job or for whatever the reason, but every time we do the job it's always under our name. We've never done it as a white label.
Joey: That's awesome. I'm imagining the rep is out there taking meetings, and calling people, and sending your reel around, and trying to get your work, so that's great especially before you had a biz dev person, then you basically have a marketing arm without having to pay a salary, but when you get work through the rep, how does that work financially? I'm assuming the rep takes a cut, but does that affect the bottom line at all? Do those jobs make less money or how does that part work?
Dani: Well, it's the same I guess. It just means that ... well, they're giving you resources, because ... every rep works different, but the rep for example could take a percentage and just let you produce it and animate it. Some reps will actually take a percentage, but also produce it, help with production side of things. I don't know. There's so many different ... it's done differently in a lot of different studios, so it really depends on the project. I'm not sure whether it would be less financially.
Iria: No, because at the end of the day we with the cut we get we work out how to do the job in order to get the money we need. If they take a cut it means there is less time that we are going to invest on the project, because we don't have that part of the budget. We ended up doing the schedule of the project based on the cut we get. At the end of the day we don't lose any money. It's just what you lose is probably time on the job.
Joey: It sounds like the set up that you have with your rep is totally win-win. I'm curious, how did they find you and approach you?
Iria: I think we actually approached them in this case.
Dani: We did, yeah. I think we like, "We really like your work," and then people working together. We've been repped by other studios in the past when they've approached us, but yeah this one we just knocked on their door.
Joey: That's really cool. It seems like a great option, especially for a small studio to kind of kickstart growth a little bit, because you're right, a rep can get you in front of much bigger clients much faster than you can, 'cause you have build those relationships. They already have those relationships. This is another topic that I'm definitely going to have to get a rep on the podcast, because I'm really fascinated with how that system works. It's really cool. Let's talk about sort of the future of Wednesday. Right now, there's three of you, so that's awesome. You have increased the number employees by 33%. Now it's still small. Do you have any sort of vision of how big you might like to get or any kind of goals for the future?
Dani: For time being, we're quite happy being a small studio. At the moment, we don't have a desire to get too big.
Iria: Really, all we want is having more and more projects, so we can hire talented people to work with and keep doing work that we love. Yeah, really the next step would be to have a full-time producer, so we can stop doing lots of things that we don't really like to do, like emailing, and scheduling, and budgeting.
Dani: I think the great thing about being as small as we are is that it gives us a lot of flexibility. We're able to manage our time in certain ways and we're also able to take on small projects, because we don't have a payroll of people that are depending on that, so we can take some smaller passion products that we really love, for example, or in our downtime we can do things, maybe charity products or things like that more easily. On the flip side, when we are really busy, we do end up having to wear all the hats, I guess. We're producing at the same time as we're directing, and designing, and animating. That would be, like Iria said, that would be wonderful to have a producer. That would be the next step.
Joey: Is that the biggest ... being a small studio there's a lot of amazing advantages to it and you just listed a lot of them. There's also a lot of pain points. You've said, you don't have a producer right now, which believe me I know that's a quality of life issue right there. Aside from just it'd be nice to have more help, are there other challenges that you're facing as a small studio? Is it ever, for example difficult to get a job, because a client might look at your studio and say, "Well, they're kind of small. We think we need a bigger one." Are there other things that you're running into?
Iria: We always sell ourselves as we have the option to our rep's space and help if the job is bigger. We feel are protected in that respect.
Dani: Yeah, that gives us kind of like that scalability that can be problem for some small studios, like you said, maybe some clients might be put off with it. I don't know. Right now, we're in a happy place.
Iria: Maybe it's a beating, probably because beatings take quite a long time, usually they come all of a sudden and you have not a lot of time to do it, and because we are a small studio it's just like we have to stop what we are doing, hire other people to take it on, and spend the time to do the beats in a smaller scale. If we were a bigger studio, we would have more people working on the beats so I think that can be a ...
Dani: Yeah, because we would lose more money on that, essentially.
Joey: Right. Let me ask you this too, because one of the things that Joe Pilger told me, is that at a small scale studios have an easier time sort of focusing on work and primarily just doing work that's kind of cool, and fun to do, and ends up on your reel. As you grow, you inevitably have to start taking on more and more jobs that aren't as fun, aren't as creative, and just sort of pay the bills. I'm curious how you've managed so far to balance those two things. How much of the work that you do is actually the stuff that ends up on your website? How much of it is like, "Well, you know it looks good, but it's not really what we want to do, but it pays the bills."
Iria: We do quite a few of those, but usually we love doing those knowing that then we can do another that one we really like. We try to do like as 50/50 as possible. Often it's a little less than 50. Often we do more work that we don't put in our reel, but it's not necessarily that we don't like. We have clients that they just don't like us to put the work online. We do like these jobs. We often can put maybe still frames from the job or gifs from the job, but we actually like to do these types of work, because it's constant work coming from these clients. We like to keep them happy. Then by doing this type of work, we can then afford to then take another one that ...
Dani: Something like TED Ed for example, that we are investing more of our ...
Iria: More of our own time, despite the budget is not so big.
Dani: Yeah, exactly. We do take some purely bread and butter jobs like you said to fund those sorts of projects.
Joey: That's the best way to look at it I think. My old business partners used to say, "One for the meal. One for the reel." I really like that, so 50/50. That's a really good way to look at it. You two have been incredibly generous with your time. The last thing I want to ask you about is how you're approaching, I guess like, personal development. You would like to have a producer one day. Everyone listening probably ... it's understandable why that would be huge. Then, you mentioned that pitches come in sometimes and you have to kind of drop what you're doing and deal with that. It would also probably be nice to maybe have a junior designer or someone that could help with design. Then, you have a biz dev person and that person's going to be eventually bringing in a lot of work for you, so you're probably also going to want maybe a staff animator.
I can see the team sort of growing and in a couple years maybe there's not three of you, maybe there's like eight or 10 of you. Your roles, to circle back to what we talked about at the beginning of this, right now you're kind of splitting everything down the middle. You're both doing the creative. You're both dealing with the business side and things like that. You'll end up having to sort of wear more business hats and develop business skills, not the fun stuff. I'm curious just sort of thinking ahead how the two of you are preparing for that, or if you are at all. How are you sort of getting yourselves ready for the growth that, I think unless you actively stop it is going to happen, because your work is so good.
Dani: Thank you.
Iria: Thank you.
Dani: I like your vision for the future. It sounds really nice. I know what you mean, because I know other studios that they start off as a group of directors. They're all creatives and as the more successful they get, obviously you do have to do all of this business side of things and some of them end up just focusing on producing, for example, or just the business side of stuff and they end up not doing the creative stuff. I don't know, to be honest exactly how we're going to tackle that once we get to it, but it's a good problem to have, once we do. I think we'd ... ultimately the reason why we do this is because we really love the creative side of it, so I can't picture a point where either of us would be like, "Okay, now we're just business people. We're just producing."
Iria: Or just running the business or just directing other people to do the stuff for us. We quite like to be hands on in our own projects.
Dani: Yeah, I think that's really important to us. How we work that out? We'll see. I mean, if once we get to that point and it's ... that will be a ... that will be great, because that just means that we're super busy. It'd be a good problem to have to solve.
Joey: Check out Iria and Dani's work at wearewednesday.com. And of course everything and every person that was mentioned in this episode can be found in the show notes at schoolofmotion.com and while you're there you might want to register for a free student account, so you can check out our free intro class, our weekly Motion Mondays newsletter, and all the other exclusive stuff we offer for folks who have signed up. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to this episode. I really hope you enjoyed it and got a ton of value out of it. I want to say thanks again to Iria and Dani and I'll smell you later.