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Last night, we hosted a talk and Q&A. Here were some common questions and helpful answers that you might find useful.

How do you deal with burnout?

If you are not in a job, you can take a few days off. If you are working and need to get things done, you can talk to your leads and supervisors to lighten your workload and help you out.

How do you search for reference to make specific acting choices?

I would never search for a film clip to suit the shot I am doing; that would be hard. However, I always keep an eye out for unique movements I can save from Instagram, and I can refer back to them when it comes to animating my own work.

I want to do queer work, what advice would you give me?

For any sort of work, I would recommend drawing from your life experiences and keeping it as raw and authentic as possible.

Are your leads and supervisors supportive if you are having a bad day or have artist block?

They are extremely supportive. In my experience, the leads and supervisors have been amazing and always there for you when you are struggling to help you out.

Have you ever disagreed with a note that, in the end, was better for the context of the film?

Every note I have ever received has always been great and a great choice for the film. I only get annoyed if I have to discard nice animation. It would be great if I could save it and use it somehow, but it's off to the graveyard.

How do you deal with conflicting notes from your leads, supervisors, or directors?

It is the director's film, and they get the final say, and there is a hierarchy of whose input to prioritize. Just listen, and if you have to change something, at least they are aware of why and can extend the deadline or something if need be.

How do you get reference for a whale? (In regards to Nimona whale)

You won't always be able to get reference shots. This is why understanding the principles of animation and the mechanics of movement comes into play so you can animate something without relying on footage.

What advice would you give to people starting out?

It is a very broad question as everyone may be at different levels. However, I would say if you are fresh, go to an online school like AM or Animschool, don't do a uni because you have to learn the whole production process and do essays, etc., making it more expensive. If you have done this and graduated and still not getting hired, do mentorships.

How did you stick so well to the style of Nimona?

It is a team effort. You have your leads, supervisors, anim director, and the director always keeping your shot in line with the film.

How did you get the right timing for your shot when the rocks fall?

It's done really well and was funny. The storyboard and layout were responsible for this. When I got the shot, I already had the layout and audio with all the fun timing built in. I just had to match my animation to it.

What is your approach to adding squash and stretch to facial animation?

I listen for accents and observe where the face opens and closes with the mouth shapes.

How did you guys come up with the expressiveness of Nimona & Ballister expressions?

This was all done before I joined the film. We have a library of poses that are normally made by the supervising or lead animators.

The characters were all so consistent in their physicality and acting choices. How was that level of consistency and authenticity established and maintained across the film?

I would say Ted Ty, the animation director, was responsible for this. He did a great job at guiding us and giving us feedback, even getting up at 5 am for London dailies with us. Shout out to Ted!

How do you plan and work on shots with multiple characters, and how do you avoid creating distractions from the main focus of the shot with so many characters (more than 4)?

I use cubes to get staging and timing, and then switch to rigs once it's working. I animate one character at a time. To keep the focus on one character, the others should not be stealing attention by moving more than the main character. The audience will look at whatever is moving the most in a scene.

Do you have creative freedom or have to stick to the storyboards?

Depending on the director, you may need to reference the storyboards and the layout more closely. In general, it is a mix. Some shots require you to come up with everything, as the boards and layout are not too useful, while in others, they have great poses that you can reference.

How did everyone give so much personality to Nimona?

I would say the voice actor did an incredible job of bringing Nimona's personality to us. We had great audio to work off of and made our job super easy!

What was your most difficult shot, and why?

The shot with Ballister pushing through the nights. There were a lot of characters, so the scene was slow, and there were many moving parts to get right.

What was it like working on a film that's so important for the LGBTQIA+ community?

It was really cool; the film is definitely special. I could see how much it meant to the team members who were part of the LGBTQIA+. They frequently said how they wished they had this film growing up, so I hope it helps anyone who may need to see it.

You can check out the full talk and Q&A here!

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