My interview on Venture App
#Interview What is it like to be a woman in the field of Motion Graphics?
I was interviewed by Hannah Kowalczyk-Harper, on Venture App this past Wednesday. An interview chat in front of a live audience was definitely a new experience for me! We discussed everything from work to travel, to being a woman in the motion industry. If you are new to Motion Design, or are perhaps considering it as a field, you might find some of this conversation helpful.
Below is an abridged version of the interview. For the complete conversation visit the original Venture App discussion here: https://va.chat/11kvw
Hannah: Did you always know you would be in motion graphics? When you were a child, what did you think you’d end up being?
El: As a kid, I was all over the place. I wanted to be a lawyer, a doctor, a painter, a psychologist. As long as the profession included a brief case with papers and tools, I wanted it. I had no idea about motion graphics.
Hannah: So how did you end up getting involved in motion graphics?
El: I discovered motion at school. I was studying graphic design and ended up taking classes outside my major. I liked a bit of everything and was having a hard time focusing. When I realized that there was a profession where you can literally use everything from image to video to music, I was sold. Motion Graphics was for me.
Hannah: Would you consider yourself a creative person?
El: I would hope so! I am a designer after all. Then again, creativity has nothing to do with art. It’s more about problem solving, and coming up with alternate solutions regardless strict limitations.
Hannah: Do you think creativity is a requirement for your field?
El: Absolutely. It’s too competitive for someone who is not willing to be creative.
Hannah: In your opinion, can creativity be learned?
El: Yes. Although some of us might be innately more creative than others, creativity is definitely a skill that can be learned and developed. It’s a style of thought, and I think it’s something we never stop learning to do better.
Dallas: How have your travels affected your work El?
El: I think travel is a big part of my work. Traveling energizes me. It gives me a fresh perspective on life every time I return to my computer. It keeps my mood and health up, which contributes to productivity and high quality work.
Hannah: When you moved to LA, was that for work?
El: I first moved here for school. I was accepted to Art Center College of Design, from which I graduated in 2011.
Hannah: Do you think living in certain locations gives you an advantage when working in the field of motion graphics?
El: Yes. For sure. LA would be a good example. LA is the Mecca of motion graphics. Some of the greatest studios in the world are here. If you are looking to network and want to put your hands on some high end projects, this is the city to be in. However, with the increase of globalization, remote work opportunities and rapid technology improvement, it is becoming easier to work from all over the world.
Hannah: Only a small percentage of the motion graphics field is female. Why do you think your field is so male-dominated?
El: I think the male animator is a stereotype because of which many women aren’t interested in participating in fields like motion graphics. It sort of sounds like a dude’s club … which can have negative connotations in a women’s mind. Will they try to cut my pay? Are they going to give me the less interesting projects? Will I be taken seriously?
Luckily I think that today things are changing. The animation world has expanded and fields like motion graphics are slowly becoming more enticing for everyone. Women are encouraged to join a wider range of professional fields and are becoming more interested in participating in Motion graphics. As participation numbers grow, so will the respect for one another. We are learning to put our guards down and work together.
Hannah: What is it like working as a woman in this field?
El: It’s fun! Sometimes a little frustrating, at times a little disappointing. Overall however, I think it’s becoming better every day. Our society is slowly but surely moving towards a more inclusive atmosphere. We are starting to see inequality slowly shrink even in male dominated fields such as motion graphics. We still have ways to go, but the more women participate, the the faster we will be closing the gender gap we are still facing today.
Hannah: Have you encountered any particular struggles you think you wouldn’t have in your work life if you were male?
El: Definitely. Most of the struggles I experienced didn’t arise form malice, but from ignorance. Some people are not used to seeing women in my position.
The surprise of the unknown often causes uneasiness. I feel like I always need to work twice as hard to prove my value and I need to speak with twice the confidence to be listened to.
Hannah: What steps did you have to take to become a motion designer?
El: There are a million steps to any profession. In my case, once I discovered my interest in motion, I ended up interning at production company in Culver City called The Famous Group. I really enjoyed working there, and was a surrounded by an environment that was eager to teach me to do better. That internship gave me confidence to venture out into the entertainment industry as a freelance Motion Graphics artist.
Hannah: What is one of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on?
El: I have quite a few projects that I think about a lot. One project that was particularly fun was an animation for an Amazon sponsored Reddit AMA.
I had less than a week to design and animate a fun quirky animation about flight attendants. I was pulling two jobs at once which made things extra hard. There’s something fun about rush projects. You need to figure out how to make something good even if you don’t have the time to do so. It’s like solving a puzzle. I am a huge fan of Reddit, so this was one of those projects that I was passionate about. When you admire the client you’re working with, your work inevitably comes out better.
Hannah: Who are some interesting people you’ve worked with in the entertainment industry?
El: I work with fascinating people every day. Clients, producers, actors, fellow designers. Every person that contributes to the creative world has something to give. You can learn from your boss just like you can learn from your intern. I think the entertainment industry brings together people that are thirsty for challenge and eager to brighten the world with their energy. It’s an incredible group of people. I’m glad I found it.
Hannah: What advice would you give somebody interested in joining the field of motion graphics?
El: Don’t get stuck in the computer. You are the one inputing information into the computer, not vice versa. Your work will flourish if you give yourself a chance to absorb the world around you. Go out, sit at a park, go hiking, watch a concert, pet a dog, and most importantly talk to other people. You are designing for the world around you, so get to know it.
Hannah: I read in one of your blog posts that your New Year’s resolution is to concentrate on your work/life balance and “being more conscientious of my time, and learning to be more productive by adapting a more fulfilling lifestyle.” Could you tell us a bit more about that?
El: I went on a 2 week trip to Scotland. When I got back, everyone seemed so stressed and angry. Friends and colleagues all seemed to be on edge. It made me realize what state of mind I must have been in before taking that break. When I was back at work I was full of positive energy and I was working twice as fast effortlessly
I had the same situation happen when I went on another trip a few months later. Only this time, those who went on the trip with me experienced the same surprise when they got back to LA. This made me realize that It wasn’t just me. It’s how humans are. Being happy and relaxed results in higher quality work. The more you work on yourself, the more you can give back to the world around you.
Hannah: Do you think your field is one particularly easy to get overworked in?
El: Yes. The entertainment industry is brutal. Unless you push back, it swallows you whole. Companies have no problem “saving money” by throwing staggering work amounts on a single person. Until you choose to live your own life, you will be asked to pull long nights, skip lunches and accept lower wages. It’s harsh and it took me a few years to understand how to respect my time and health
Hannah: What’s coming up for you in the future? Any interesting new projects or travels on the horizon?
El: Travels are always on the horizon! Although I haven’t quite figured out what my next destination will be just yet.
I’ve been taking notes on my professional experiences throughout the years. I think I’ll start writing a little more about what I learned in my career so far. I’ve been lucky to have met really wonderful people in the entertainment industry. I received support and priceless lessons along the way. I’d like to give back through teaching and telling stories about my own professional experiences.
Hannah: Ok, last question for today… How do we keep track of you? Website? Twitter?
El: I have a website at el-ogorodova.com and i TRY to use twitter when I remember to @e1ena29
Hannah: Thanks so much for chatting with me today, El!
El: Thank YOU for having me Hannah!