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Animate! Why Exaggeration Goes a Long Way with David Schagerström


Splash Studios animator on the limitless and versatile nature of animation

Animate! Why Exaggeration Goes a Long Way with David Schagerström

David Schagerström is a Swedish motion designer and director based in Amsterdam. He co-runs a motion collective studio, called Meanwhile, that houses freelance animators and designers.

He has worked for the likes of Nike, Weiden+Kennedy, Amazon Music, Google, 72andSunny, adidas, Samsung, Viceland, Facebook and many more. 




LBB> How did you fall in love with animation?

David> I have loved animation ever since I was a kid watching Ducktales as part of SVT’s (Swedish State Broadcaster) hour of Disney programming on Friday nights. I believe that animation might be the ultimate medium for people who dream about becoming indie filmmakers. Animation is limitless and versatile. You can always cmd+z if something doesn't work out. You can make a short film about anything and it can take place anywhere. 

LBB> Tell us about the animation project that kick started your career?

David> As an intern I worked on a project for Luaka Bop called 'The Existential Adventures of Tim Maia: Nobody Can Live Forever'. I think a lot of people ended up seeing it and it won some awards.

LBB> How would you describe your art style and what are your biggest inspirations that developed it?

David> I’m a bit of a jack of all trades and I wouldn't say that I have a specific style. But I know what I like. 


LBB> From your perspective, what’s the key to animation that really lives?

David> I think a good understanding of pacing. 

LBB> Show us your favourite or most impactful project that you’ve worked on - tell us, what is it that makes it special and what were the memorable moments or challenges?

David> I worked on a project for Adobe about David Bowie. He’s a hero of mine so it was amazing to get to work on that. I was also given a lot of creative freedom for the project which is always very much welcome. 

LBB> Tell us more about observation and movement - what is the process you go through to study movement of characters?

David> Exaggeration goes a long way. I usually practise a movement with my own body, then I try to break that down into keyframes.  

LBB> We all know of some ever-green adult animations, but lately they have definitely been on the rise, from Rick and Morty to Arcane. What sort of opportunities does this open for animators, both within and outside the advertising industry?

David> I’m not sure! I work in the advertising industry and I don’t have a lot of people approaching me with references to TV shows. But it's a very interesting time for animation! There’s a lot of good work being done out there! Have you seen Primal? One of the best animated shows ever made and it came out last year!


LBB> How does one figure out what kind of animation style or styles fits a particular story or project?

David> I think you just have to do what you are good at. If it's a good story the style doesn't matter. 

LBB> What is your favourite piece of technology or software that you use and how does it help your creative process?

David> After effects and Cinema 4D. I don’t think they help much with the creative process but I know the software well and I can work fast. 


LBB> What sort of briefs or projects do you find more personally satisfying to work on?

David> I think when you are working with people who are really into what you are doing - it’s always fun. Passion projects are always the best. 


LBB> What recent projects have really stood out for you and why?

David> Of my projects? I worked on a project for Nike where we animated some characters on what I think might have been 40-50 screens in Time Square Qatar? It was weird because you had to think of how every single screen would work and you wanted something to happen on every screen so it didn't get boring.


LBB> Who is your animation hero and what is it about their work that inspires you? What example of their work particularly stands out?

David> I used to be a big David Lewandowski fan. But he doesn't do much these days I think. I have sort of lost track of my idols a bit. Everybody is so good nowadays! Instagram really changed a lot! 


LBB> Outside of the field of animation, what really inspires you?

David> Music, graphic design and books. 


LBB> What do you think are the misconceptions about animation throughout the industry?

David> How much time it takes to make something really good. 


LBB> What are the biggest changes to animation and challenges facing animators at the moment and what are your thoughts on them?

David> I guess when AI becomes really good at animation we might be in trouble. But people also thought that the motion capture suit would end animation and it hasn't. So we will see!


LBB> Any advice you would like to give to aspiring artists?

David> Have fun! Do what makes you happy. Make a lot of really crappy things. Don’t become a perfectionist too early! 

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Splash Studios, Fri, 10 Feb 2023 11:10:00 GMT