Soma Studios

Interview

October 5, 2022

LEAVE A COMMENT

We recently caught up with Charlotte Parsons and Oz Smith.

The talented young duo behind the new Melbourne design and animation team of Soma Studios, for an insight into their process, how they came together, what drives them and advice for those new to the industry.

Charlotte Parsons and Oz Smith

So who are you... both individually and collectively?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - I moved to Melbourne from London 10 years ago after working in broadcast branding as a freelancer. I like making music, hanging out with my family, getting outdoors, eating nice food and drinking booze.

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - I am a producer living in St Kilda and sometimes in Jan Juc. I’m mega organized. I’m a people person and a dog person but not a cat person (allergies). I enjoy eating good food and have a fun party. Love the outdoors and staying active.

(Both) - A very happy little company, no egos. Passionate about creating cool projects for nice people. We understand the importance of work life balance and enjoying the journey, not just the destination.

So tell us about your background?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - I finished school in Melbourne, went to Europe way too young and drank way too much. Then I fell into a uni course (media and comms) had NO idea what I wanted to do, after a long stint in hospitality (very fun) I ended up working in a post house (that mostly edited Deal or no Deal). The people were lovely but the job was tedious and soul destroying (part of my job was to make lunch…) 

Following that I got a job in a production studio that predominantly made live action TVC’s. It was very hard work but I learnt so much and became a keen producer. After that I got a job producing animation and I LOVED it. It was more creative and as a producer I could help craft the story from the beginning while still ensuring the client is happy and the brief is met. After this I went into branding and design and managed a team, it was short lived and also predominantly through covid. Shit times! 

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - I was a bit of a waster in school and ended up enrolling on a performance art degree, doing weird art projects and thinking - where is this going? That made me get my act together pretty quickly. I was always attracted to the boundaries of graphic design, having a brief and problem solving, so I managed to get on to a graphic design degree which led to my first job in broadcast branding. 

The company had amazing people there and I had some great mentors, seeing out the last days where there was a lot of money in TV. It was still in the 80s mindset and was a bit Mad Men so great fun for a junior working in Soho. I was one of the first ‘let’s get someone on a Mac and stick them in the corner of the room’ people, instead of filming and going through Flame with big budgets. The company folded after a couple of years failing to adapt, meaning I suddenly had great contacts all over London. After that I went freelance for about 10 years before moving to Melbourne, mainly doing channel branding all over Europe. 

Can you share some life and career highlights?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - Making it to 35! Going travelling to lots of different countries, meeting lots of new and friendly people. Creating Soma and realising that Oz and I had something special and that we could have a successful company that was enjoyable. Realising  that work doesn't have to be scary and stressful, you can still have a life and go for a swim in the sun in the afternoon. 

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - Single handedly doing the graphics for Eurovision 2 years running. The first time in 2011 I pitched to bring the branding to life with another freelancer who could do 3D and we beat places like the Mill to the job. My 3D friend was booked up so he gave me a crash course in Cinema 4D and I went to work frantically doing tutorials and learning on the job to do that title sequence. Since then I’ve used 3D in most things I’ve worked on but don’t consider myself a ‘3D guy’, more of a creative person who uses 3D if the job needs it. 

Ford design center opening - Event Graphics

How did you come together to start a motion design studio?

We worked together for around 5 years and we had a great dynamic. Realising we had a similar outlook of creating the best work possible within time and budget while keeping the client top of mind with clear processes to (try to) make each project fun and fulfilling while pleasing our clients. 

What is your design philosophy for your studio, and why is this important to you?

We aim to give our clients a good experience as well as what we produce to be creatively fulfilling for us and our collaborators. Being natural people pleasers we like to be clear with clients about what we can do for them and what to expect, then once the boundaries are set we try to be as creative as we can within the time and budget so everyone working on it feels part of something interesting and something they’ll feel proud of and want to share with the world. Trying to find that balance is key so we don’t end up on a hamster wheel of turning projects out just to move on to the next one. 

Soma Studios - logo

Your branding is fucking sensational! Can you tell us the story of its creation and the meaning of your studio name?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - Thank you! We had about 5 million conversations about our branding and website and how to go about it (these are both the challenges and fun opportunities of doing your own thing) Ozzy has a design background and he would have been fully capable of coming up with something great, but we realised for the good of the company that we needed to outsource it as Ozzy would have tinkered with it forever (a good and bad thing). Therefore we bought on the extremely talented and extra lovely Christopher Doyle to do it for us. He was awesome, he understood the brand, us and what we were trying to convey (even though we were not amazing at articulating it back then) and came up with the look and feel and logo for the Soma. 

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - Yeh I tinkered endlessly and was too precious about it so we contacted Chris, who is amazing and he liked the idea of doing a (much) smaller project for us. It was interesting to be the client for once.

What is your absolute favourite meal… one you couldn’t live without?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - Chippies (of course) all shapes and sizes. But mostly ones with a bit of crunch. 

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - I like 80s party food. Prawn cocktails with buttered bread, curried eggs, scotch eggs.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - I think I have an intuitive sense of what the client needs even if they don’t. Often I will have an idea of a creative execution by the time Oz and I chat it through just from understanding people and their needs. 

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - Lots of places, it’s hard not to just draw inspiration from Instagram and Pinterest so I’ve always got my eye out for things and try to get out as much as possible to try to get a new angle or idea. But sometimes it’s good to switch off totally so your eyes have a fresh palette the next time you sit down to make something. Then sometimes you can just see the same thing a little differently.

MADC Creative Showcase - Awards Event Graphics

Projects

The project is approved, the client is ready to begin. What's next?

We’re generally quite pre-production and process driven, and like to tell our clients exactly what we’re going to do, what to expect and when, it's also important to iron out boring things like budget and amends up front so there are no surprises along the way. So a fair bit of planning goes into hopefully creating an environment where we can be as creative as possible within the time and budget, and hopefully please the client while enjoying working on the project. 

How do you deal with creative block, scope creep, changes and feedback?

We try to flag things as soon as possible and have frank conversations with our clients. We have a good rapport with our clients, so we can usually work through any issues together. Trying to keep it collaborative is important so the client doesn’t feel the project is getting away from them. 

What works are you most proud of and why?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - I’ve enjoyed working on a range of stuff, but if I do the same kind of thing for too long I get bored so the mix of 3D, 2D, branding animation, motion graphics has been cool. Also working with a few great illustrators from around the world. 

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - Looking back over the last 18 months that we have been working together at Soma I am proud of every project big or small. Even the super low budget ones we did at the beginning represent the work we put in and the excitement about signing off our first few projects with new clients. The feeling we got when it all started to come together was really exciting so I think I am most proud of our early work.

What is the worst job/project/client you’ve had and why?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - We couldn’t say! But having our own studio means at the end of the job we got to say ‘sorry, bye bye’ to any more work with them. 

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - Ditto! The joy of having our own company! Even though it hasn’t been a problem yet and most of our clients so far have been amazing, knowing we can say no if we want is great! 

What is your dream project?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - A number of things would need to align….

Obviously a creative and fulfilling brief which is going to end up having lots of eyes on it (so maybe a big time TVC). Something which we collaborate on from the beginning, so we all craft the story together. Something which excites the team and keeps them motivated all the way through.  Something with a decent budget, which means we can relax and explore. A project which ensures an ongoing relationship with the client, I am looking for projects that build relationships/friendships.

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - I love all projects where the client trusts you and you get to try something a bit different or mix some unusual styles to create something new. 

Zepto - Brand Film

Industry

What do you look for in future hires or collaborators?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - 100% a team player and someone that cares. Someone that is keen to use it on their own portfolio so we know they are going to be passionate about it. You can be the world's most amazing animator but if you’re hard to work with, no thanks! 

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - Yeh agree with that, I also look for a wider interest in the world and other types of creative stuff. I definitely judge showreels by the music track they’ve chosen! Maybe that’s unfair but I can’t help it.

“I think being a good designer or motion designer means you have to have good taste and be into a broader range of things than just motion graphics.” 

What advice would you give newbies?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - Just try to follow what floats your boat about this industry. There are different roles to fill and these change all the time. Some people have more of an overview mindset about projects and others are more suited to being super specialised, some like the structure of an agency, others like to hustle as freelancers. Just see which area you’re attracted to and get as good as you can at that. 

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp]

“Get in touch and say hi! People like friendly people so don’t be scared to reach out.”

What do you think is the future of motion design and animation?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - I was lucky that in getting into TV branding before the internet was a thing I got to see the industry broaden exponentially. Now there’s all kinds of screens and experiences to create motion design for. So I think it will be technologically driven in terms of how we experience it, but I think the same fundamentals will apply. People will always respond well to good design and a well eased keyframe regardless of how they’re experiencing it. 

What would you like to see more of in the motion design industry?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - When I started, female designers were pretty rare, but over the years it’s been great to see that number grow. More diversity, ages, cultures and backgrounds will definitely be a good thing in the industry. 

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - I love what you’re doing Jimmy! And what the Aunties are doing as well. More collaborative events and opportunities to find mentors really drives progress and gets everyone motivated! 

What excites you about the future?

Seeing Soma grow and welcoming more creatives into the fold.

Kids... thanks for your time. Any final parting words, comments, advice?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.


[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - Take a risk while you can! It might just pay off! 

Catch more of Soma Studios via these magical hyperlnks.

somastudios.co

somastudios instagram

somastudios facebook

Heading

LEAVE A COMMENT

October 5, 2022

We recently caught up with Charlotte Parsons and Oz Smith.

The talented young duo behind the new Melbourne design and animation team of Soma Studios, for an insight into their process, how they came together, what drives them and advice for those new to the industry.

Charlotte Parsons and Oz Smith

So who are you... both individually and collectively?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - I moved to Melbourne from London 10 years ago after working in broadcast branding as a freelancer. I like making music, hanging out with my family, getting outdoors, eating nice food and drinking booze.

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - I am a producer living in St Kilda and sometimes in Jan Juc. I’m mega organized. I’m a people person and a dog person but not a cat person (allergies). I enjoy eating good food and have a fun party. Love the outdoors and staying active.

(Both) - A very happy little company, no egos. Passionate about creating cool projects for nice people. We understand the importance of work life balance and enjoying the journey, not just the destination.

So tell us about your background?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - I finished school in Melbourne, went to Europe way too young and drank way too much. Then I fell into a uni course (media and comms) had NO idea what I wanted to do, after a long stint in hospitality (very fun) I ended up working in a post house (that mostly edited Deal or no Deal). The people were lovely but the job was tedious and soul destroying (part of my job was to make lunch…) 

Following that I got a job in a production studio that predominantly made live action TVC’s. It was very hard work but I learnt so much and became a keen producer. After that I got a job producing animation and I LOVED it. It was more creative and as a producer I could help craft the story from the beginning while still ensuring the client is happy and the brief is met. After this I went into branding and design and managed a team, it was short lived and also predominantly through covid. Shit times! 

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - I was a bit of a waster in school and ended up enrolling on a performance art degree, doing weird art projects and thinking - where is this going? That made me get my act together pretty quickly. I was always attracted to the boundaries of graphic design, having a brief and problem solving, so I managed to get on to a graphic design degree which led to my first job in broadcast branding. 

The company had amazing people there and I had some great mentors, seeing out the last days where there was a lot of money in TV. It was still in the 80s mindset and was a bit Mad Men so great fun for a junior working in Soho. I was one of the first ‘let’s get someone on a Mac and stick them in the corner of the room’ people, instead of filming and going through Flame with big budgets. The company folded after a couple of years failing to adapt, meaning I suddenly had great contacts all over London. After that I went freelance for about 10 years before moving to Melbourne, mainly doing channel branding all over Europe. 

Can you share some life and career highlights?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - Making it to 35! Going travelling to lots of different countries, meeting lots of new and friendly people. Creating Soma and realising that Oz and I had something special and that we could have a successful company that was enjoyable. Realising  that work doesn't have to be scary and stressful, you can still have a life and go for a swim in the sun in the afternoon. 

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - Single handedly doing the graphics for Eurovision 2 years running. The first time in 2011 I pitched to bring the branding to life with another freelancer who could do 3D and we beat places like the Mill to the job. My 3D friend was booked up so he gave me a crash course in Cinema 4D and I went to work frantically doing tutorials and learning on the job to do that title sequence. Since then I’ve used 3D in most things I’ve worked on but don’t consider myself a ‘3D guy’, more of a creative person who uses 3D if the job needs it. 

Ford design center opening - Event Graphics

How did you come together to start a motion design studio?

We worked together for around 5 years and we had a great dynamic. Realising we had a similar outlook of creating the best work possible within time and budget while keeping the client top of mind with clear processes to (try to) make each project fun and fulfilling while pleasing our clients. 

What is your design philosophy for your studio, and why is this important to you?

We aim to give our clients a good experience as well as what we produce to be creatively fulfilling for us and our collaborators. Being natural people pleasers we like to be clear with clients about what we can do for them and what to expect, then once the boundaries are set we try to be as creative as we can within the time and budget so everyone working on it feels part of something interesting and something they’ll feel proud of and want to share with the world. Trying to find that balance is key so we don’t end up on a hamster wheel of turning projects out just to move on to the next one. 

Soma Studios - logo

Your branding is fucking sensational! Can you tell us the story of its creation and the meaning of your studio name?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - Thank you! We had about 5 million conversations about our branding and website and how to go about it (these are both the challenges and fun opportunities of doing your own thing) Ozzy has a design background and he would have been fully capable of coming up with something great, but we realised for the good of the company that we needed to outsource it as Ozzy would have tinkered with it forever (a good and bad thing). Therefore we bought on the extremely talented and extra lovely Christopher Doyle to do it for us. He was awesome, he understood the brand, us and what we were trying to convey (even though we were not amazing at articulating it back then) and came up with the look and feel and logo for the Soma. 

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - Yeh I tinkered endlessly and was too precious about it so we contacted Chris, who is amazing and he liked the idea of doing a (much) smaller project for us. It was interesting to be the client for once.

What is your absolute favourite meal… one you couldn’t live without?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - Chippies (of course) all shapes and sizes. But mostly ones with a bit of crunch. 

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - I like 80s party food. Prawn cocktails with buttered bread, curried eggs, scotch eggs.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - I think I have an intuitive sense of what the client needs even if they don’t. Often I will have an idea of a creative execution by the time Oz and I chat it through just from understanding people and their needs. 

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - Lots of places, it’s hard not to just draw inspiration from Instagram and Pinterest so I’ve always got my eye out for things and try to get out as much as possible to try to get a new angle or idea. But sometimes it’s good to switch off totally so your eyes have a fresh palette the next time you sit down to make something. Then sometimes you can just see the same thing a little differently.

MADC Creative Showcase - Awards Event Graphics

Projects

The project is approved, the client is ready to begin. What's next?

We’re generally quite pre-production and process driven, and like to tell our clients exactly what we’re going to do, what to expect and when, it's also important to iron out boring things like budget and amends up front so there are no surprises along the way. So a fair bit of planning goes into hopefully creating an environment where we can be as creative as possible within the time and budget, and hopefully please the client while enjoying working on the project. 

How do you deal with creative block, scope creep, changes and feedback?

We try to flag things as soon as possible and have frank conversations with our clients. We have a good rapport with our clients, so we can usually work through any issues together. Trying to keep it collaborative is important so the client doesn’t feel the project is getting away from them. 

What works are you most proud of and why?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - I’ve enjoyed working on a range of stuff, but if I do the same kind of thing for too long I get bored so the mix of 3D, 2D, branding animation, motion graphics has been cool. Also working with a few great illustrators from around the world. 

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - Looking back over the last 18 months that we have been working together at Soma I am proud of every project big or small. Even the super low budget ones we did at the beginning represent the work we put in and the excitement about signing off our first few projects with new clients. The feeling we got when it all started to come together was really exciting so I think I am most proud of our early work.

What is the worst job/project/client you’ve had and why?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - We couldn’t say! But having our own studio means at the end of the job we got to say ‘sorry, bye bye’ to any more work with them. 

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - Ditto! The joy of having our own company! Even though it hasn’t been a problem yet and most of our clients so far have been amazing, knowing we can say no if we want is great! 

What is your dream project?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - A number of things would need to align….

Obviously a creative and fulfilling brief which is going to end up having lots of eyes on it (so maybe a big time TVC). Something which we collaborate on from the beginning, so we all craft the story together. Something which excites the team and keeps them motivated all the way through.  Something with a decent budget, which means we can relax and explore. A project which ensures an ongoing relationship with the client, I am looking for projects that build relationships/friendships.

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - I love all projects where the client trusts you and you get to try something a bit different or mix some unusual styles to create something new. 

Zepto - Brand Film

Industry

What do you look for in future hires or collaborators?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - 100% a team player and someone that cares. Someone that is keen to use it on their own portfolio so we know they are going to be passionate about it. You can be the world's most amazing animator but if you’re hard to work with, no thanks! 

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - Yeh agree with that, I also look for a wider interest in the world and other types of creative stuff. I definitely judge showreels by the music track they’ve chosen! Maybe that’s unfair but I can’t help it.

“I think being a good designer or motion designer means you have to have good taste and be into a broader range of things than just motion graphics.” 

What advice would you give newbies?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - Just try to follow what floats your boat about this industry. There are different roles to fill and these change all the time. Some people have more of an overview mindset about projects and others are more suited to being super specialised, some like the structure of an agency, others like to hustle as freelancers. Just see which area you’re attracted to and get as good as you can at that. 

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp]

“Get in touch and say hi! People like friendly people so don’t be scared to reach out.”

What do you think is the future of motion design and animation?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - I was lucky that in getting into TV branding before the internet was a thing I got to see the industry broaden exponentially. Now there’s all kinds of screens and experiences to create motion design for. So I think it will be technologically driven in terms of how we experience it, but I think the same fundamentals will apply. People will always respond well to good design and a well eased keyframe regardless of how they’re experiencing it. 

What would you like to see more of in the motion design industry?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - When I started, female designers were pretty rare, but over the years it’s been great to see that number grow. More diversity, ages, cultures and backgrounds will definitely be a good thing in the industry. 

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - I love what you’re doing Jimmy! And what the Aunties are doing as well. More collaborative events and opportunities to find mentors really drives progress and gets everyone motivated! 

What excites you about the future?

Seeing Soma grow and welcoming more creatives into the fold.

Kids... thanks for your time. Any final parting words, comments, advice?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.


[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - Take a risk while you can! It might just pay off! 

Catch more of Soma Studios via these magical hyperlnks.

somastudios.co

somastudios instagram

somastudios facebook

Interview

October 5, 2022

LEAVE A COMMENT

We recently caught up with Charlotte Parsons and Oz Smith.

The talented young duo behind the new Melbourne design and animation team of Soma Studios, for an insight into their process, how they came together, what drives them and advice for those new to the industry.

Charlotte Parsons and Oz Smith

So who are you... both individually and collectively?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - I moved to Melbourne from London 10 years ago after working in broadcast branding as a freelancer. I like making music, hanging out with my family, getting outdoors, eating nice food and drinking booze.

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - I am a producer living in St Kilda and sometimes in Jan Juc. I’m mega organized. I’m a people person and a dog person but not a cat person (allergies). I enjoy eating good food and have a fun party. Love the outdoors and staying active.

(Both) - A very happy little company, no egos. Passionate about creating cool projects for nice people. We understand the importance of work life balance and enjoying the journey, not just the destination.

So tell us about your background?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - I finished school in Melbourne, went to Europe way too young and drank way too much. Then I fell into a uni course (media and comms) had NO idea what I wanted to do, after a long stint in hospitality (very fun) I ended up working in a post house (that mostly edited Deal or no Deal). The people were lovely but the job was tedious and soul destroying (part of my job was to make lunch…) 

Following that I got a job in a production studio that predominantly made live action TVC’s. It was very hard work but I learnt so much and became a keen producer. After that I got a job producing animation and I LOVED it. It was more creative and as a producer I could help craft the story from the beginning while still ensuring the client is happy and the brief is met. After this I went into branding and design and managed a team, it was short lived and also predominantly through covid. Shit times! 

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - I was a bit of a waster in school and ended up enrolling on a performance art degree, doing weird art projects and thinking - where is this going? That made me get my act together pretty quickly. I was always attracted to the boundaries of graphic design, having a brief and problem solving, so I managed to get on to a graphic design degree which led to my first job in broadcast branding. 

The company had amazing people there and I had some great mentors, seeing out the last days where there was a lot of money in TV. It was still in the 80s mindset and was a bit Mad Men so great fun for a junior working in Soho. I was one of the first ‘let’s get someone on a Mac and stick them in the corner of the room’ people, instead of filming and going through Flame with big budgets. The company folded after a couple of years failing to adapt, meaning I suddenly had great contacts all over London. After that I went freelance for about 10 years before moving to Melbourne, mainly doing channel branding all over Europe. 

Can you share some life and career highlights?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - Making it to 35! Going travelling to lots of different countries, meeting lots of new and friendly people. Creating Soma and realising that Oz and I had something special and that we could have a successful company that was enjoyable. Realising  that work doesn't have to be scary and stressful, you can still have a life and go for a swim in the sun in the afternoon. 

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - Single handedly doing the graphics for Eurovision 2 years running. The first time in 2011 I pitched to bring the branding to life with another freelancer who could do 3D and we beat places like the Mill to the job. My 3D friend was booked up so he gave me a crash course in Cinema 4D and I went to work frantically doing tutorials and learning on the job to do that title sequence. Since then I’ve used 3D in most things I’ve worked on but don’t consider myself a ‘3D guy’, more of a creative person who uses 3D if the job needs it. 

Ford design center opening - Event Graphics

How did you come together to start a motion design studio?

We worked together for around 5 years and we had a great dynamic. Realising we had a similar outlook of creating the best work possible within time and budget while keeping the client top of mind with clear processes to (try to) make each project fun and fulfilling while pleasing our clients. 

What is your design philosophy for your studio, and why is this important to you?

We aim to give our clients a good experience as well as what we produce to be creatively fulfilling for us and our collaborators. Being natural people pleasers we like to be clear with clients about what we can do for them and what to expect, then once the boundaries are set we try to be as creative as we can within the time and budget so everyone working on it feels part of something interesting and something they’ll feel proud of and want to share with the world. Trying to find that balance is key so we don’t end up on a hamster wheel of turning projects out just to move on to the next one. 

Soma Studios - logo

Your branding is fucking sensational! Can you tell us the story of its creation and the meaning of your studio name?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - Thank you! We had about 5 million conversations about our branding and website and how to go about it (these are both the challenges and fun opportunities of doing your own thing) Ozzy has a design background and he would have been fully capable of coming up with something great, but we realised for the good of the company that we needed to outsource it as Ozzy would have tinkered with it forever (a good and bad thing). Therefore we bought on the extremely talented and extra lovely Christopher Doyle to do it for us. He was awesome, he understood the brand, us and what we were trying to convey (even though we were not amazing at articulating it back then) and came up with the look and feel and logo for the Soma. 

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - Yeh I tinkered endlessly and was too precious about it so we contacted Chris, who is amazing and he liked the idea of doing a (much) smaller project for us. It was interesting to be the client for once.

What is your absolute favourite meal… one you couldn’t live without?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - Chippies (of course) all shapes and sizes. But mostly ones with a bit of crunch. 

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - I like 80s party food. Prawn cocktails with buttered bread, curried eggs, scotch eggs.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - I think I have an intuitive sense of what the client needs even if they don’t. Often I will have an idea of a creative execution by the time Oz and I chat it through just from understanding people and their needs. 

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - Lots of places, it’s hard not to just draw inspiration from Instagram and Pinterest so I’ve always got my eye out for things and try to get out as much as possible to try to get a new angle or idea. But sometimes it’s good to switch off totally so your eyes have a fresh palette the next time you sit down to make something. Then sometimes you can just see the same thing a little differently.

MADC Creative Showcase - Awards Event Graphics

Projects

The project is approved, the client is ready to begin. What's next?

We’re generally quite pre-production and process driven, and like to tell our clients exactly what we’re going to do, what to expect and when, it's also important to iron out boring things like budget and amends up front so there are no surprises along the way. So a fair bit of planning goes into hopefully creating an environment where we can be as creative as possible within the time and budget, and hopefully please the client while enjoying working on the project. 

How do you deal with creative block, scope creep, changes and feedback?

We try to flag things as soon as possible and have frank conversations with our clients. We have a good rapport with our clients, so we can usually work through any issues together. Trying to keep it collaborative is important so the client doesn’t feel the project is getting away from them. 

What works are you most proud of and why?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - I’ve enjoyed working on a range of stuff, but if I do the same kind of thing for too long I get bored so the mix of 3D, 2D, branding animation, motion graphics has been cool. Also working with a few great illustrators from around the world. 

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - Looking back over the last 18 months that we have been working together at Soma I am proud of every project big or small. Even the super low budget ones we did at the beginning represent the work we put in and the excitement about signing off our first few projects with new clients. The feeling we got when it all started to come together was really exciting so I think I am most proud of our early work.

What is the worst job/project/client you’ve had and why?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - We couldn’t say! But having our own studio means at the end of the job we got to say ‘sorry, bye bye’ to any more work with them. 

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - Ditto! The joy of having our own company! Even though it hasn’t been a problem yet and most of our clients so far have been amazing, knowing we can say no if we want is great! 

What is your dream project?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - A number of things would need to align….

Obviously a creative and fulfilling brief which is going to end up having lots of eyes on it (so maybe a big time TVC). Something which we collaborate on from the beginning, so we all craft the story together. Something which excites the team and keeps them motivated all the way through.  Something with a decent budget, which means we can relax and explore. A project which ensures an ongoing relationship with the client, I am looking for projects that build relationships/friendships.

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - I love all projects where the client trusts you and you get to try something a bit different or mix some unusual styles to create something new. 

Zepto - Brand Film

Industry

What do you look for in future hires or collaborators?

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - 100% a team player and someone that cares. Someone that is keen to use it on their own portfolio so we know they are going to be passionate about it. You can be the world's most amazing animator but if you’re hard to work with, no thanks! 

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - Yeh agree with that, I also look for a wider interest in the world and other types of creative stuff. I definitely judge showreels by the music track they’ve chosen! Maybe that’s unfair but I can’t help it.

“I think being a good designer or motion designer means you have to have good taste and be into a broader range of things than just motion graphics.” 

What advice would you give newbies?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - Just try to follow what floats your boat about this industry. There are different roles to fill and these change all the time. Some people have more of an overview mindset about projects and others are more suited to being super specialised, some like the structure of an agency, others like to hustle as freelancers. Just see which area you’re attracted to and get as good as you can at that. 

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp]

“Get in touch and say hi! People like friendly people so don’t be scared to reach out.”

What do you think is the future of motion design and animation?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - I was lucky that in getting into TV branding before the internet was a thing I got to see the industry broaden exponentially. Now there’s all kinds of screens and experiences to create motion design for. So I think it will be technologically driven in terms of how we experience it, but I think the same fundamentals will apply. People will always respond well to good design and a well eased keyframe regardless of how they’re experiencing it. 

What would you like to see more of in the motion design industry?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - When I started, female designers were pretty rare, but over the years it’s been great to see that number grow. More diversity, ages, cultures and backgrounds will definitely be a good thing in the industry. 

[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - I love what you’re doing Jimmy! And what the Aunties are doing as well. More collaborative events and opportunities to find mentors really drives progress and gets everyone motivated! 

What excites you about the future?

Seeing Soma grow and welcoming more creatives into the fold.

Kids... thanks for your time. Any final parting words, comments, advice?

[.c-icon-os][.c-icon-os] - Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.


[.c-icon-cp][.c-icon-cp] - Take a risk while you can! It might just pay off! 

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