Last week, I have released the mega recap from my recent trip to the Shanghai Auto Show' 19. Give it a read if you haven't yet.
Today we are proud to present this awesome animation studio for you guys, we're talking about the marvelous "Rubber House". We had the great opportunity to talk with Ivan Dixon, one the thwo founder of tis factory of dreamlike animations. Rubber House is ascending studio on the animation industry, having already worked with big clients such as Cartoon Network, Nicklodeon and Bethesda Softworks. Check out our interview below:
You can reach Ivan on the following links:
1) First of all I would like to thank you for doing this interview, it's an honor for us to present more about you to our readers. I would like to start asking you about when your interest for animation began?
I've been drawing since as long as I can remember. I distinctly remember my brother and I drawing little dinosaurs all over the walls of our house. Secret ones that only we knew about. Later I drew comics because I wanted to tell stories. I also made primitive computer games and learned to animate as I needed graphics. I had no idea that there could be a career in animation I just wanted to draw and learn how to get better. I looked to the internet to learn more technical animation terms and skills and I went through that obnoxious phase many young animators go through where they look at the real world and start noticing real animation principles in real life, "Look at that drag on that leaf!" / "Check out the secondary on that coat!"
2) Which movies influenced you the most? Why?
I'd say I was more influenced by television animation. I loved The Simpsons and a lot of the 90s Nickelodeon shows. I like how TV animation is able to explore more understated narratives, weird little side stories or side characters. I saw my first Studio Ghibli film when I was in grade four (Porco Rosso) and it blew me away. Honestly, they make the only animated films that I wholeheartedly adore. Because they don't pander. They let the stories be rich and complex and the characters multifaceted. Plus the animation, on a technical level, is so beautifully crafted. Every shot in one of their films is a master class in animation.
3) You guys at Rubber House are pretty versatile with you projects, but at the same time there's always a recognizable element in your work. How do you guys approach the creative process on your projects?
The Rubber House house style is essentially Greg Sharp and I trying to meet somewhere in the middle of our own personal styles. I'll do a sketch, he'll do a draw over then we arrive at this new place. So a third, new style emerges. The process normally starts with a question, what's the best way to resolve the brief? We fret over the internal logic of a design quite a bit. Lately we've been tasked with adopting different period styles. I like this because it gives us clear boundaries and a framework to critique each other's creative choices. For example: "could they have done this back then?"
4) The animation industry can be really rough, how do you guys approached big guys like Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon?
They approach us. The only advice I can give on this front is that if you work hard, produce work and put it out there online you'll get noticed eventually. Something I say to younger animators is this: no one is going to pay you to do something until you've already proven you can do it. So make work.
5) What would you consider the best moment on your career till now? And what you think was the lowest? What lessons you got from that?
My highlight would have to be visiting The Simpsons table read, writers room and pre-prod studio after Paul Robertson and I made our Simpsons Pixels intro. Another highlight was having the Rubber House music videos we did for Gotye screen at the Sydney Opera House. Low point...there were some questionable jobs that we accepted early on that never made it to our site for good reason. Basically service work where we didn't influence the design or writing in any way. Every day I'm grateful that I get to work for myself. Seeing other more corporate work environments makes me shudder. I like the freedom that comes with running your own creative business.
6) How do you describe your daily routine?
Greg and I actually work in separate offices in separate cities (me in Melbourne, Greg in Sydney). At this point we're like John and Paul near the end of the Beatles --we can't stand to be in the same room (jk).
Each day the first thing I do is check my emails. As we work for mostly US clients these days we often have a wave of correspondence arrive over the evening. Then Greg and I get on Skype and discuss how we're going to distribute the day's work. If we're running a larger crew we'll do our daily approvals (going over shot lists and checking off animation, backgrounds etc). Then we just work all day and check in with each other when required. I try to stick to regular business hours as I think it's important to have a well rounded life outside of work if you want to make work that resonates with a broader audience (not just other nerdy animators).
7) Being a multimedia artist, please tell us what's your favorite media/animation style to work with? Why?
I originally learned to animate in pixel art, so I'll always have a soft spot for the precise, retro charm of plotting an image dot by dot, however I feel that there's probably more potential for greater subtlety and beauty in 2D traditional style animation. Like I mentioned earlier, we've been emulating a lot of older periods lately (1930's rubber hose, 1960's action shows) and it's been a lot of fun embracing the limitations of those styles. It's a lot harder approaching a new contemporary style because there's no rules, other than, "Does it look good?" which can be really subjective.
8) Tell us five websites that you like to visit frequently.
9) Thanks again for your time, please leave a final message for the ones who are starting out on this kind of business
Never stop learning. Be critical. Embrace other opinions but know that it's okay to reject feedback if you can defend your position. Some clients want (or need) to be educated on the animation process. You're the expert and they'll listen if you explain why something is a bad idea, too costly, too time consuming etc. I see a lot of really introverted and shy artists accept unreasonable demands, not complain about it to the people they should be and then burn themselves out.
Thanks for inviting me to be interviewed. Hope my answers were helpful...or at least not boring.