5 MINUTES WITH … Friedl Jooste
1. Tell us about yourself – who are you and what do you do?
I am a 3D animator with a passion for anything to do with story or animation.
Since completing my studies at UCAA (now known as The Animation School) I have worked in the 3D animation industry for going on eight years. I have worked in pretty much every aspect of 3D animation, but it became clear to me early on that I enjoyed character animation the most and I also recently started looking more into directing for animation. I worked on various commercials and a few pilot episodes for TV series and then moved on to work as an animator on The Lion of Judah feature film.
After that I got promoted to head of animation at Character Matters animation studios where I stayed for about four years. In that time I worked on a lot of projects from commercials to TV series. I also wrote and directed a pilot episode for a TV series called Gijima, and a short story called Hooked. I then received the opportunity to go and work at Modus FX in Canada where I am now.
I am someone with a lot of big dreams but I’m also realistic enough to know that none of your dreams come true without a lot of hard work, late nights, a supportive wife and strong, strong coffee. I love what I do. If I am not animating, I am writing short stories. I have recently begun pursuing a passion for photography and I am constantly trying to learn more about everything animation or film.
2. What are you currently up to? Are there any exciting projects ongoing?
I am currently working on a documentary at Modus FX, but there are also some pretty exciting VFX movies coming up soon to work on, but for now that is all I can say.
3. Who or what inspires you?
I love watching the old Disney films and Warner Bros cartoons for inspiration. It’s also not entirely abnormal for me to sit and skip through some of my favorite Pixar animated shots frame by frame to see how it was done.
As far as style goes in any art form, I love stylized, simplistic, realistic, cartoony, etc. If it is done well, I love it. My favorite piece of animation ever is probably the first time Gepetto makes Pinocchio walk. I think it was an absolutely brilliant piece of work by Frank Thomas.
4. What’s your best project/work to date?
That’s a tough one, I’m always thinking back at my work and thinking that I could do better, but I can say that my most enjoyable experience on projects were:
The Lion of Judah movie gave me my first opportunity to learn animation tricks from some guys who have worked at Dreamworks and Disney. And the team became like another family to me.
Hooked was a short film I wrote and directed for Character Matters. I enjoyed every moment of it and it sparked my passion for directing. It has since been playing at film festivals around the world. It was featured in the June 2011 issue of the 3D World magazine, and it will also feature at the Toronto International film festival.
Sarila the movie was the first time I was surrounded by international animators and had loads more opportunity to learn something new every day.
5. Anthing new going on? Or in the pipeline?
I am at the moment just working as hard as I can, and trying to get as much experience as I can. There are a whole bunch of awesome projects in the pipeline, but nothing I’m allowed to talk about yet. I’m also busy writing a new short story which I very much hope to complete soon.
6. When you’re not working, what do you like to do?
I like to spend as much time with my wife as possible. We are in a country which we have barely begun to explore, so there is still lots to see, and a lot of pictures to take. I like a good book, and a good movie always rounds a day off nicely.
7. Finally, what tips or advice could you give to other creatives, just starting out or to the more experienced creatives needing a bit of encouragement?
Never stop learning. In animation there is always more to learn, and I am pretty sure that this is the case with all art forms.
Take advice from everyone, and learn quickly how to take it well. You will get good advice, and bad advice, learn how to discern between the two, but always show appreciation for both.
Make sure you put your pride aside. If you work in a creative industry, and you are surrounded by other creative people, opinions will differ, and we as creative people tend to have a lot of them!
Work hard. Be constantly on the lookout at what other people in your industry are doing and what are the bench marks that are being set. Don’t get left behind. Even if you think you are good and you don’t need to practice any more, there is someone out there working very hard and will overtake you. Hmm, I guess I really did learn something from The Tortoise and the hare.
This interview was originally posted on AnimationSA.org