Enjoy this Q&A with Chelsea as she sat down with us to talk about her creative process and experience. Read the full interview to learn about her work and life at VC and in New York, and then check out some of her best work below!
Tell us a little about yourself and when you started making content.
Hi! My name is Chelsea and I’m a director here at Visual Country. I was also the very first employee here. I have a BFA in Theatre Performance Dance and I’ve been doing video and film since I was about 13 and stop motion for about 7 years.
What draws you to animation? Were there any early influences in your work?
What first drew me to animation and stop motion was The Nightmare Before Christmas. This was a movie I watched as a kid all the time. I absolutely loved it. I had no idea it was stop motion. I didn’t even know what stop motion was at the time, but then when I finally started animating, I just fell in love with these characters that you could create with ordinary objects that had no life before and now they’re quirky and funny and cute.
You’ve always been great with pixelation, do you think your experience with dance is an asset in animating people? Why?
Being a dancer is absolutely super helpful in this job. Pixelation, working with humans and animating them, can be pretty difficult, so knowing how to articulate someone’s body in a very specific way and being able to tell them how to do it is so incredibly awesome.
Can you talk about your creative process and how you approach a new project?
For me the creative process always starts with this grandiose idea. I have a feature film that basically plays out in my head and then it’s taking that idea and getting rid of all of the excess and putting it into a really awesome short form video.
As someone who tends to see projects through to the end, is there a portion you prefer?
As someone who works on projects from beginning to end I see pretty much every aspect of what we do and my favorite thing is definitely crafting. I don’t get to do it that much, but when I do it’s so satisfying and so soothing.
Is there a project that you’re most proud of at VC?
One of my favorite projects so far was for Bank of America. It was about a year and a half ago and it was a full team project – very challenging. We had dolly movements, lighting changes, actors, crazy animation, the whole nine. And I was also 7 ½ months pregnant.
You recently had an adorable baby girl and you worked up until you had the baby. What was it like animating pregnant?
Animating pregnant is definitely a challenge. It is a new experience for me. Doing any sort of table top can get a little hard, especially as your belly gets bigger. Sometimes you hit things you don’t mean to, so you just have to be really careful around your sets.
Are there any challenges with being a mother in the industry?
Being a parent in New York City working a full time job can definitely be a lot more challenging than it used to be, especially in production where the hours can be super long and unpredictable, but it’s all about planning and knowing what you’re doing 5 steps ahead.
Is there something that happens in animation/live action that really makes your life easier as an editor?
As someone who also edits, I can vouch that testing out ideas in pre-production is going to help you along the way so much more to help you get to that final product that you’re just going to love in the end.
Are there any challenges working in the commercial industry as a director?
One main challenge as a commercial director is combining the vision that my studio and I have with a brand’s vision for the final video.
You’ve been here since the beginning and you work your ass off. What’s one piece of advice you could provide to someone starting out?
My best advice to anyone starting out is to just go out there and get your hands on any project that you can. Make mistakes, obviously don’t repeat them, but the more you do, the more you learn and the better you get. So just go out there and get your hands dirty.
Chelsea’s Work Highlights:
Bank of America