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How Hobbies Impact Your Craft with Angie Feret
How can motorcycles affect Motion Design? Angie Feret shares the importance of work/life balance.
As a Motion Designer you probably live and breath Motion Graphics. You probably check out all of the latest tutorials and drool over the latest After Effects plugins. But one thing that Motion Designers are notorious for is poor work/life balance. Seriously, when’s the last time you went to the gym?...
In today’s episode, we talk with Angie Feret, a pioneering MoGraph artist, who uses her hobbies to rejuvenate her 3D work. Angie’ background in modeling (the real-life kind) and motorcycles led her to become a unique 3D artist and even a presenter for Maxon. Angie's first-hand experience with female discrimination is also a helpful reminder that our industry has a lot of room for improvement. We promise you’ve never met a 3D artist like Angie. This is a really fun episode.
Angie Feret Transcript
Joey: I'm always interested in finding out what makes certain people successful in their field. In motion design, you might think that having a single-minded obsession with design and animation is the ticket to MoGraph greatness.But the truth is that having a diverse set of interests and spending time doing other things can actually come back around and help your motion design career in ways you'd never expect, at least that's my theory. As evidence of this theory, I present today's guest the talented and super interesting Angie Feret.
Angie and I connected because we were looking for female Cinema 4D artists to feature in our Cinema 4D base camp course. And to be honest, it wasn't that easy to find them. Anecdotally, there seem to be way more male self-promoting C4D artists than female. And I've been told by several people in the industry that it seems to be harder to find female artists to present their work at events like NAB. But Angie it was actually one of the few female presenters at the Maxon booth during the 2017 NAB conference. She got up in front of her MoGraph heroes, her peers and thousands of livestream watchers worldwide and conquered impostor syndrome live on stage.
She's a very interesting person who not only designs and animates in 2D and 3D, but who also works on and rides motorcycles, who models, who is really into the tattoo scene. And after talking with Angie, I think that her uniqueness, her variety of talents and interests have helped her stand out in an industry that is conservatively 70 to 80% male. In this interview, we talk about the strange ways that your interests can combine to give you superpowers in your career. We talk about the under representation of female presenters in our industry and what might be done about it, and we go on and on about how great Maxon is because, well, they just are. You'll love this interview, you'll love Angie and you might just want to start riding motorcycles after this. Let's get to it.
Angie Feret, I'm really excited to talk to you, thank you so much for coming on.
Angie: Thank you so much, such an honor to be on your podcast, thank you.
Joey: Oh, stop it. Well, thank you for saying that. Angie, we were talking right before we started recording and I mentioned everybody that comes on this podcast, I do a fair amount of Google stalking, research is maybe a better word. But it's Google stalking, and I try to find out about them so I have interesting things to talk about and bring up and just try to get to know them. And most of the people that come on this podcast, it's very easy to find lots and lots about them online how it relates to their motion design career and they talk about design and animation and after effects and all the things you'd expect.
But in researching you, I found a whole bunch of other things that you're interested in that are fascinating and didn't really fit into the stereotype of motion designer. I'm wondering if we could just start off by you talking a little bit about your background and how you got into this industry?
Angie: Yeah, for sure. Actually, I used to do a lot of video editing in high school. I was pretty fortunate to go to a kind of like a semi-private high school that was brand new so they had a lot of great new gear. I did a lot of communication technology and a lot of geography and editing back when it was tape to tape editing. And then when they finally brought in Adobe Premiere for the first time, my teacher had no idea how to use it. I used to skip my other classes to go and figure out how do you had to use Premiere. But after high school, then I went to film school for a year and it was a lot of theory and it was just kind of boring to me so I stopped going there and went to a Technical College and did broadcast production.
And once I finished that, I took a one-year post-production course. We did some shake, we did some Maya, we learned basic compositing and animation, just really, really basic. And a component of that was a one-month internship, I got an internship in a studio in Toronto and I was super fortunate because while some of my classmates were sweeping out closets and doing coffee runs, I was actually making stuff for TV. I got to work on some map animations and some stuff for discovery and some stuff for some sports channels. Before I was even getting paid, I'd walk into a bar in Toronto and see some of my stuff on TV so I just felt like such a rock star.
Yeah. Most of the stuff I've learned was through the guys that I worked with at the first studio that I interned at and then eventually got a job at. And they were really great, they basically taught me everything. I didn't have a design background, I never went to school for design. I kind of learned design while I was learning to animate. But yeah, they were just great and let me watch them work and ask them as many questions as I needed to just during my first job.
Joey: It's really funny, everything you just said happened to me too. We have almost the exact same history of getting into this. And one of the things that I definitely connected with was I started in a film program and I thought it was boring too. And I'm curious if you could talk about that a little bit, what was it about the film program, was it that program or was it the process of making films in general? What was it that turned you off?
Angie: I think it's still useful to know [inaudible 00:06:19] and framing and the history behind filmmaking. And that was all really interesting to me, but I wanted to get my hands on a camera and I wanted to technically get in there and make something. I didn't want to direct and I didn't want to produce, but I wanted to make stuff. I didn't want to sit in a classroom and analyze every little thing about a film.
Joey: It's exactly the same reason. I left the film program for that exact reason because there was so much theory. And I knew at the time like, "Yes, I get that this is important. I just want to make stuff." And it's funny, I bet we're pretty close in age too. When I went to college, they still had Steenbecks that you would edit, 16 millimeter on. And then in the video department, they had Avids. And I was like, "Well, why the hell am I going to use scissors and tape to edit when there's a computer right there to do it?" So, I switched. What was sort of like the gateway drug that got you into motion design?
Angie: Really, it was just kind of having to do it because that was the job that I got out of college. And I was like, "Okay. Well, I have to do this now, I have to learn it."
Joey: Just sink or swim.
Angie: Yeah. And I loved it of course, but it was never ... I don't even know if I knew what motion design was when I was going to film school, it just kind of happened.
Joey: Yeah. I've never heard the term motion design frankly until probably three or four years ago, everybody called it MoGraph. And then before that you were just an after effects artists, you just did after effects. On your portfolio site, which we'll link to in the show notes, you have a lot of different types of work on they're not just motion design, there's print work and there's logo design, this really cool t-shirt design you did. Which came first because you said you don't have a design background, but you've clearly developed some sort of sense of design? Basically, how do you balance all those things and where do they all come from, these different projects you get to work on?
Angie: Well, the projects really, a lot of them are referrals. In Toronto, I had a pretty big network of people, just from people that I met going to meetups or people that I worked with that were friends of friends that are looking for somebody that needed something. Yeah, even though I never really studied design, which is kind of funny because I now teach design. But yeah, I've always been kind of artistic. As a kid, I used to win every coloring contest that I entered and stuff. And any time that I had to do a project in high school, I'd always do a video or something like a painting if that allowed it. I don't really know where that came from to be honest, but-
Joey: Well, first of all, what is a coloring contest? Never heard of a coloring contents.
Angie: Oh, really. When you were a kid and it's Easter so there's a picture of a rabbit and you just color it with your Crayola Crayons.
Joey: Oh, my gosh, I have to find this. My daughters would absolutely die for that, they color all day long, that's amazing.
Angie: Oh, yeah. I don't know if they have them anymore [crosstalk 00:09:25].
Joey: I love it. That is interesting that you teach design now. It doesn't surprise me anymore when I hear people say things like, "I teach this, I never actually went to school for it," because obviously I don't think you have to go to a school to learn stuff. But I'm curious where did you develop your sense of design and the skills that you now use?
Angie: Yeah. I think it was just kind of through people that I worked with. That first job that I had in Toronto, the guys that were there just were really great. If it had any questions about color or anything, they would give me honest feedback. I think it just really helped me grow as an artist, just those guys. I owe a lot of my careers to those guys and to watching tutorials and doing a bunch of research. Yeah, a lot of the stuff that's on my website like web banners and any print stuff, basically, it was like, "A friend needs an ad done or a friend needs a t-shirt design, can you do it?" And I'm like, "Yeah, I have no idea how, but let me go do some googling and figure out how to do that."
I had to do some screen printing, it was for a beer company and I had no idea how to do that. Just spent a bunch of time making a bunch of mistakes and then correcting them and eventually came out pretty good. But yeah, I had no idea how to do that beforehand.
Joey: Well, I'm going to come back to that in a little bit because that seems to be a trait that you possess, you're not afraid to say, "Yeah, I'll do that," even though deep down you're like, "I don't know if I'm equipped to do that, if I'm qualified." I want to talk about your 3D skills now. The way that I first heard your name was because you were a presenter at the Maxon booth. I think it was in 2017, so it was the last year. You were one of the few female presenters, which was really cool to see. Let's talk about how did you learn 3D? When did you start learning it? And what was the learning curve like?
Angie: Well, I had a bit of Maya experience from school and obviously Maya, this was probably about 9 or 10 years ago at the time was very vast. And Cinema was more for broadcast and motion design. And one of guys at the studio that I worked at was really good. His name is Shadi, he's one of my mentors, I owe a lot of my career to him. But he was really good, any of his spare time he'd just spend playing around in Cinema and anytime a new Greyscalegorilla video would come out, we'd sit in the studio together and watch it and kind of go through the steps together. We kind of learned together. And as far as a learning curve, I found it pretty easy to get in and make something and it looked pretty good right off the bat compared to working in Maya before, which kind of took me longer just because there was so many more things to actually get in and make something that looks good.
Joey: Yeah. You strike me as someone who's not afraid to take on these big technical ordeals, you kind of have to be like that to get really into 3D. And it's funny because I had the same experience with Maya. I'm a geek and I'm happy to dive into some super-dense program, but Maya there was sort of some level where it became too much, and Maya breached that and Cinema didn't, and that's why I gravitated towards Cinema. And I'm curious, was there anything else besides the complexity of it? For me, Cinema it just made sense the way it works, it's kind of elegant. But I'm always curious to hear why people like Cinema so much because it's the default thing you use now if you're motion designer, no one uses Maya in motion design.
Angie: Well, it's funny because I actually had an interview with a guy from Maya because he knows that I'm a Cinema user and was trying to get people back on to Maya because he noticed everyone was on the Cinema. I gave him a bunch of ideas. And I think the biggest thing for me anyway is just how vast and supportive the community is and how much information there is out there and how willing everybody is to help you develop your skills and nobody is holding any of their information close to them and clutching onto it. They just want to share. If people know you're using Cinema and they know something about Cinema, they want to help you, they want to share their knowledge with you so that you get better. It's just the community, there's just so much information out there to learn and everyone wants to help you. I think that's really one of the biggest reasons why.
Joey: You're definitely right. I think back to when I started learning it. And at first, there weren't too many resources, I think there was C4D Café, which was pretty good. And then Nick launched Greyscale and sort of changed the whole thing. I think a lot of people probably credit him with making Cinema so accessible. I think he probably can take a lot of the credit for how widespread. Yeah, it's funny because I was always told by senior artists that Cinema 4D was a toy and Maya was this tool. And I believed that for a long time because when you look at Maya, it's like Houdini. You can sort of crack it open and do anything you want, with Cinema you can sort of do that not quite as deep. I feel like that's been proven wrong at this point.
Angie: There's so many tools out there for everything, it's what are you using it for?
Joey: Right. If you're in some pipeline, you're doing a character animation movie or something, Cinema is probably not the right tool. And it comes down to that. But I think for a motion design, it's just clear at this point. And you mentioned the community too, Maxon it's very interesting. Anyone listening who has not been to NAB in the past, I don't know probably 8, 10 years, it's really pretty crazy to go to the Maxon booth, it's not very big. When you go to NAB, there are booths that, I can't even fathom how much they cost, probably millions of dollars, 2,000 square-foot booths. And then you get the Maxon booth, which is relatively small and there's always 100 or 200 kind of clustered around it. It's like a black hole that sucks in all the motion designers, the beating heart of it.
Angie: Totally. You can stream it online too. And I think there's hundreds of thousands of people watching as well, which is crazy.
Joey: Yeah. Exactly. All right. I want to ask you about one more thing before we get into the Maxon stuff because I'm really curious about the experience of doing that and how that happened, but 3D and motion design in general is ... We did a survey last year and we found to the surprise of nobody that there are far more dudes in motion design than females. We didn't get specific enough are there more male 3D artists than female artists, but I would assume that it's probably even more skewed there. And when we talk about presenting, females are even more underrepresented. There are less females in the industry, but there's way less females presenting and being up on stage and talking about their experiences.
I'm curious has that ever affected your experience being, having to get into this technical or really kind of geeky field where it's mostly dudes. I've heard stories from other guests on this podcast, other females. I'm just curious if you've seen any of that.
Angie: For the first, I want to say six or so years of my career, I didn't really notice it, However, I never met another female motion graphics artist, I was the only one that I knew of. And everyone treated me fairly well. All the guys that I worked with at the first studio, there were times that they asked my opinion on certain things to see what they might be from a female perspective, which was nice that they were considering what other females would want to see or if it was too sexy or something. But it wasn't until recently that I've actually had a couple of incidents that were surprising to me and kind of stifling in a way as well.
There was a couple of studios that I worked at that were kind of old-school marketing and run by old white guys where I was paid less money for doing a job where I was five years more technically advanced than some of the male colleagues who were getting paid more than me and technically less skilled, which I don't know. It just left me feeling kind of bitter and also just confused. Yeah, there's been times where I've been touched inappropriately or has said things inappropriate. I'm sure every woman has a story like this and it's not okay, but I just think those things are similar in most industries. But in tech, there's not a whole lot of women. And I think it is changing, I think that men are used to seeing more women now in the tech industry than they were about 10 years ago when I started.
Most places that I walk into nobody's surprised where I think at first people were surprised to see a female in the industry. I think that maybe some of those things with the Me Too movement that are going on. And also, you sent out a newsletter about a month or two ago, Erica MacKinnon wrote a great letter. I related to a lot of those things and I think a lot of females do. It might be the fact that it's still heavily populated I guess that maybe intimidates girls a bit, or maybe it's that they're afraid of being ridiculed. I've also read some studies that say that men tend to oversell their skills. Kind of like me in a way, I'll say yes to something that I'm not sure that I can do, where women tend to only say yes if they know that they can do it. I don't know if that's completely accurate, it's just things that I've read and also kind of experienced as well.
Joey: Yeah. You said some interesting things. It's really sometimes tough to talk about this stuff because it's hard to know what's real and what isn't. Anecdotally, in my experience, if there's someone who is more brash and willing to put themselves out and say, "Yeah. I can do that," even though they really can't, it's more often than not it's male. But then you meet someone like you and you kind of buck that trend. I wanted to bring up this quote, we haven't really talked about it yet. I mentioned that in doing my research about you, I found all these unique things that you do. And one of them is you ride motorcycles and you're obviously very into it.
And you were, I have to look the blog post up, but you were female motorcycle rider of the month or something like that on [crosstalk 00:21:13] blog. And they interviewed you, and you had this answer to a question that I thought was really interesting. I'll read it, you said, "I really try to challenge gender roles, I tend to gravitate more towards 'masculine interests'. This gets pointed out a lot in most areas of my life, it is however a bit conflicting for me. Sometimes I find it frustrating that I get the whole good for you when people find out that I ride. Not that they're meaning to be condescending in any way, I guess I'm just surprised that it even has to be noted when a female rides a motorcycle."
I'm curious, do you feel that way about your role as a female motion designer, sometimes 3D artists getting into the weeds technically in this industry. Do you ever feel like people are sort of like, "Oh, well, that's pretty good for a girl, Angie"?
Angie: Yeah. For sure, when I was studying television production, people used to ask me seriously every time I told them what I did if I was going to be the weather girl. And initially I was like, "Why do I have to be the weather girl? Can't I do technical stuff as well?" But then also kind of flattered at the same time, conflicting. I also had a boss point out to me that I was the first female that he's ever hired in the graphics department and that he also almost didn't hire me because of my tattoos. And that was just a whole bunch of weirdness.
Joey: What would the tattoos have to do with anything?
Angie: He was just judging me I guess based on some prejudice that he had of people with tattoos.
Joey: That's almost a generational thing like, "Oh, tattoos mean you can't be taken seriously," or something.
Angie: Yeah. Totally. With my modeling and with tattoos and stuff, I used to actually have a completely separate alias. I had another name that I used to model under, not 3D model I mean actually modeling.
Joey: Yeah. I'm glad you clarified that.
Angie: Being a model because I was afraid. I wanted to keep both of those identities separately. And I had friends who said, "Oh. In your real, you should walk out and do something sexy." I'm like, "No. I want people to know me for my work, I don't want people to see me and judge me and hire me because they think I'm hot or not hire me because they think I'm hot or whatever prejudice they have." At first, I really, really kept those two things separately. But then over time as people got to know me, relationships is big for me so clients that I have I tend to know them and be friends with them. They knew that I model and stuff anyway, then eventually it's just like, "Whatever, this is who I am. And people can accept me or laugh at me." Sorry, I kind of got off-track there from your question.
Joey: When you were telling this story I was trying to think, "Well, what if ... this may surprise you, but I've never been asked to model Angie. Maybe that will be my next thing. But I was trying to think if there was a male model who also modeled and did motion design, would that person feel the need to have an alias so that when clients google them they don't come up with a bunch of professional modeling shots. And I don't really know, do you think that the modeling thing because there's a bunch of different ways I guess that can be interpreted, what was your fear that they would see your modeling pictures and think, "Oh. She's a model, she can't be intelligent also"? Something like that?
Angie: Yeah. I wanted to be taken seriously for my technical skills and be not hired for a job because someone thinks I'm just a flakey girl or hire me and try to hit on me, that was also a fear of mine.
Joey: Right. It's sort of in the zeitgeist right now, everyone's kind of thinking about these things. I think our industry probably more than others is doing a lot to try and get rid of that and make that not happen. And one of the things, I've told a couple of people this on the show, one of my theories about maybe the reason that there historically has been less female 3D artists for example or maybe even more importantly less visible 3D artists like presenting at places like the Maxon booth and stuff is that there just haven't been that many people to model themselves after. And I don't mean modeling like 3D modeling or photography. There's three kinds of modeling in the subject. But you know what I'm saying, a role model.
And so, it's really cool to see artists like you, Michelle Ouellet is another one, Erica Gorochow, Lilian Darmono, really just brilliant, talented, successful artists that are not afraid to get out there and be vocal. My hope is that that sort of proves to the up-and-coming artists, the next generation under us that it's totally okay to promote yourself and to get out there. Let's talk about this interesting opportunity that popped up for you last year where you actually got to be at the epicenter of the world of motion design, NAB, which is the Maxon booth. How did you get the opportunity to present at that booth?
Angie: Well, it's kind of interesting. I was living in Toronto at the time, well, not at that time, but about a year and a half before that. And I got an email about the Cinema 4D roadshow that was going to be in Vancouver, which is now where I live. And it wasn't coming to Toronto, so I was like, "Oh, I'm going to take a trip to Vancouver and go check out the roadshow." I did and I saw Robin, she was presenting there. And that was the first female I actually ever saw working with Cinema 4D so I was blown away by that. And afterwards, I started talking to Mathias, and just kind of talking to some other artists that were there.
And he had mentioned that he is always looking for female artists to present and asked me if I'd ever want to present, and I said yes. And then some time went by probably about a year and he finally contacted me and asked me if I wanted to present. And of course I said yes and I was terrified, and had to get a presentation together and everything. But yeah, it was basically just kind of a fluke again just networking and talking to people and making relationships with people. Again, he's always looking for females and it's really hard to find females. I was just really fortunate.
Joey: How did it feel? You mentioned earlier that every new Greyscalegorilla tutorial, you and your coworkers would sit around and watch it. I'm sure the same way I did the first time I met Nick Campbell at NAB, it was like, "Oh, it's Nick. Oh, my god." How did it feel to be sort of on the same stage as people like that that sort of helped you get into Cinema 4D?
Angie: It was terrifying at first for sure. When I first got to Vegas and NAB and all of the artists sat down for dinner the first night I was like, "I cannot believe I'm sitting here, this just doesn't feel right." But they're all so, so nice and so welcoming. And nobody there is judging you because you're not super technically inclined or you don't know every button. They're super stoked that you're there with them. And you're also an artist, and you have the same interest and they want to help you. I actually introduced all of the artists as well as presenting and kind of like helped out with the booth and stuff as well. But the first couple of days of presenting, I was so nervous I forgot a couple of the guys' names when I was introducing them, it was super embarrassing.
Joey: I've done that before, I've been the MC before. Yeah, it is terrifying.
Angie: Especially I'm like, "Oh, my gosh, I have to introduce Nick Campbell now. Are you kidding me?"
Joey: Oh, my gosh, I know, it's Nick Campbell, oh. I actually watched your presentation, I did my homework and I watched it. And I got to tell you, you did not seem nervous. Sometimes you can tell when people are nervous, I'm sure you were nervous but you covered it up. I'm curious where does that come from, the ability to be really nervous but hide it.
Angie: Well, yeah, I was so nervous, I'm glad that it didn't come across. I actually haven't been able to watch my own presentation back because I know I messed a couple of things up and I don't want to see them. Yeah, I think I just really, really prepared. I practice my presentation like 50 times. Yeah, I kind of have a bit of a performer in me. That's I think one of the reasons why I model and a reason why I teach as well. But yeah, I think modeling has helped me. I started modeling when I was about 20 to actually get over some crippling shyness that I had. That was kind of my tool to get out of my shell. That helps me a lot.
Joey: How much modeling versus motion design do you do? Are you doing a lot of both or is one sort of more common?
Angie: Motion design has always been first and foremost, modeling was kind of just in my spare time at first and then it kind of picked up a lot, but it was still only maybe one or two days a week. And now, actually I haven't done a whole lot since moving to Vancouver. It's just a different industry here, Toronto has a big alternative industry and indie fashion design industry and Vancouver doesn't have a lot. I've only done like a handful of shoots since I've been out here. I also, I don't know if it's evident have a bit of a problem focusing on one thing, I like to be doing a whole lot of things. And this year actually, I have decided that I'm going to focus on teaching and try to focus on doing motion. If modeling things come up, I'll do them, but I'm not seeking them out as much right now.
Joey: I love it. I really think that doing modeling, I've never done modeling so I don't really know what it's like. But I've played in bands, I've gotten onstage and been afraid and done it anyway and I've gotten up and given speeches. Well, actually first of all, correct me if I'm wrong, I'm assuming that the first few times you do a modeling gig and I don't know how many people are around, if there's a dozen people but they're all staring at you and waiting for you to look the right way. That must be pretty nerve-wracking. Is it performing, what do you do when you're modeling?
Angie: Oh, yeah it's totally performing. People are constantly touching your face and touching your hair and putting clothes on you. Yeah, everyone's looking at you. Though everyone's super nice, a common thread with all of my interests is always the community and always the relationships that I make from the things that I do. But yeah, people are there to help you and support you. If you don't feel like being a comedian in between shots or whatever, you don't have to, you can just stand there, no one's going to judge you. Yeah, I would take an interest in everything and ask people about, ask the photographer's about their careers and ask the makeup artists about their careers and just genuinely take an interest in them.
Joey: When you started modeling, did you have imposter syndrome because in your Maxon presentation, I think one of the first things you said was that you sort of felt like an impostor being up there with the Greyscalegorilla team and all the other artists. And I'm just curious did you have to deal with impostor syndrome in modeling too?
Angie: Oh, absolutely, yeah. Yeah. I don't think anyone, maybe some people do think that they're the most beautiful person. And again, one of the reasons why I got into modeling was to overcome a lot of things. Yeah, I felt kind of like a fraud at first and I didn't know how to move my body and I didn't know what angles were right. A lot of times things that you do with your body that feel weird actually look really good in a photo. It was just kind of learning that and everyone that I worked with was super nice. They give you a lot of pointers, they're like, "Oh, do this, do that," but don't ever make you do anything that you're not comfortable with, which is great.
Yeah, after just doing it a couple times and knowing that people are people and that people are going to support you regardless of if you mess something up or if something looks stupid, they're not going to print it obviously. Knowing that kind of really put my mind at ease.
Joey: Let's go back to the Maxon thing, getting up in front of a bunch of motion designers, 3D geeks and Nick Campbell's over on the side watching and then there's thousands of people watching. And you have this impostor syndrome like, "Oh, my gosh, what am I doing here?" How do you overcome that? Because it sounds like you've had to overcome that not just in motion design but in modeling and I'm sure in other areas too. And you seem to be able to do it and good at it. I'm curious how you talk yourself into doing these things, how do you get over that fear?
Angie: Yeah. For me, actually I never even heard the word imposter syndrome before listening to your podcast. But I think just knowing that other people feel the same way and reminding myself that everyone's just human and everyone has the same or similar feelings, really puts my mind at ease as well. And knowing that the community is super supportive and that they want you to succeed really helps. I also do a lot of mindfulness stuff as well, that helps me, meditating and just kind of watching your thoughts and knowing that your thoughts aren't actually you. But yeah, I think the biggest part for me is knowing that the community is supportive and if you make a mistake that nobody's going to ridicule you for it they just know that you're human.
Joey: Let's dig into that a little bit, when you do mindfulness or meditation, what are you doing? Are you using Headspace, you're doing something else?
Angie: Yeah, I've used Headspace. I use a couple apps, there's one called Aware. Right now, I'm doing a weekly mindfulness course. I go once a week and we do a meditation together and then kind of analyze it. But it's more about looking at your thoughts and changing your thought patterns. People say, "Oh, I should have done this," or, "I shouldn't have done that a lot." And shoulds are very dangerous. Rather than saying should, I should do this, I say, "Oh, I want to do this." That helps me a lot just knowing I have power over the things that I'm doing and power over my own thoughts.
Joey: Yeah. I've on and off meditated and done Headspace. If left to my own devices, this podcast would be a lot weirder than it normally is. But I want to bring it up because when it comes to performance anxiety, which that's essentially what impostor syndrome or stage-fright. I think that that's actually a really powerful tool to kind of conquer that because what you said that you are not your thoughts, your thoughts are things that happen, and then you are the way you react to those thoughts. That's kind of a strange concept, I've only ever encountered it in this sort of mindfulness community. Has that been helpful for you doing meditation and mindfulness?
Angie: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. There's been points in my career as well where I felt like I should be further than I am. Sometimes I still have those thoughts obviously, but I'm able to be compassionate with myself and know that I'm still learning and see where I am in my own journey of motion graphics and life in general.
Joey: There's another piece to the whole meditation thing, which comes up the deeper you get into it, which is mindfulness is a big part but then also gratitude. And that's something that personally I have to work on a lot is just remembering, "Yeah, this is a problem. Yeah, this is stressing me out. Oh, my gosh, this didn't get done." But if I just stop and I say, look around, what could I be grateful for right now? Well, a million things. And even in those moments of deep stress, you're standing up there, your presentation is about to start, the camera turns red and it's broadcasting to the world. But you've gotten this cool opportunity, you're among your heroes and your peers. I don't know, maybe we'll do a whole episode on meditation one of these days. I'm a big fan.
I want to talk about something that I've heard from multiple people in the industry. We kind of mentioned it briefly, but it's that it's not just that there is an under-representation of female presenters, not everywhere. A lot of conferences now are doing a great job of sort of trying to level it out. But when it comes to things like finding female artists to come present at a booth at NAB or to do video lessons or things like that, it actually seems to be difficult, more difficult to get a yes from a female artist than a male artist, anecdotally and I've heard this from a lot of people.
You mentioned that maybe it's the idea that males are more likely to say yes to things they're not qualified for or to just take chances. But I'm curious if you have any thoughts or insights into why that might be true, that it's harder to get female presenters.
Angie: Yeah. I think that is really a big one is just that maybe they don't feel super confident in their skills or it might even be the sense of the old boys club that it still is and that can be a bit intimidating as well. I know for me, I was super scared. And there were times where I was like, "Oh, maybe I shouldn't do this. My skills are nowhere near these other guys that are on the bill, what am I doing?" But for me it was just if an opportunity that's this big presents itself, I know that I would regret saying no to it. I feel like I have to take advantage of everything that comes my way. I don't think I did the greatest job I could have at NAB, but I'm still happy that I did it and hopefully I get the opportunity to do it again.
I'm not sure, I might actually ask a lot of my female friends that work with Cinema and see if they would actually do it. And if not, dive into why they would say no. But yeah, I don't know.
Joey: Yeah. I'd love to hear as many answers to that question as possible. I suspect there's a million reasons. I get the impression Angie that you are probably a little more, I don't know what the word is. I don't know if ambitious is the right word, but you're just more willing to take a risk maybe than the average person to say yes to things that are really scary and to get up in front of a crowd where you could fall flat on your face. In Cinema 4D, you could crash and you could forget Nick Campbell's name or something like that. But you've got a quality about you for one reason or another that lets you push through that. I'm wondering what advice would you give a female artists who is at the NAB, at the Maxon booth this year and starts chatting with Paul Babb or Mathias and they say, "Hey, would you be interested in presenting?" What advice would you give them to get over that initial, "Oh, no way I should be doing that"?
Angie: I think just to remember that everyone is on their own journey and that those guys are going to embrace you no matter what stage you're at. If you're a beginner, if you're advanced, they're going to love you and they're going to help you grow. And even if you screw something up or you make a mistake, it's just going to really be a tool for learning for you rather than something you're going to look back on and say, "Oh, I really screwed that up." It's just going to make you grow in so many ways, relationship wise and internally and as an artist. You just got to power through and get through those nerves and get into a Headspace where you're just in your work and sharing your knowledge with other people.
Joey: Yeah. Meditate, maybe some kava. Get over it. And I'll say too, I've spent a little bit of time with Mathias and I've talked to Paul Babb a couple times. Maxon is a pretty special company, it's probably mostly dudes, but it's not a boys club at all, it really is not.
Angie: No. I didn't get that sense at all from none of those guys. They don't even see gender or race or anything, they just see 3D artists.
Joey: Yeah. Exactly. And that's the way it should be. All right. I want to dig into this idea that I've kind of latched on to in the last couple years that I think you're a good example of. I stole this idea from Scott Adams who's the creator of Dilbert, and I don't know why he should be the guy that came up with this. But there's this idea of a talent stack where you can be successful in a field by being really, really good at one thing. But it's actually easier and more likely if you are pretty good at five things. I always use the example I'm not a good designer, I'm an okay designer. I'm a pretty good animator, I also am a musician. I've played drums, I'm a good musician I think. And I also used to do voiceovers. And there's all these weird things about me that somehow adds up to like, "Hey, I'm good at making tutorials. Who would have thought?"
None of that was on purpose. But by pursuing all these different interests, it sort of turns into this skill. And you've got this really interesting sort of list of things. You're a designer, you're an animator, you're into 3D, you ride motorcycles. And in the interview you even said that you would like to build your own motorcycle one day. And you model and you're into tattoos. I'm curious have you seen any weird ways where your outside interests that have nothing to do with motion design on the surface have ended up being really useful?
Angie: Yeah, for sure. It is funny because I never, like you said, all of my interests I never really thought about them equating to something bigger. I always just saw them as individual interest. But yeah, I think that a lot of those interests and hobbies that I have I've made a lot of great relationships from. Even just from working with people with tattoos or knowing people with tattoos in the tattoo community or riding motorcycles, I've gotten actual jobs from people that have similar interests as well. But also motorcycling is meditative for me. When I'm sitting in front of a computer for 8 or 10 hours going out for a ride, I can come back and see something completely differently than I did before.
I used teach fitness as well, which I think also kind of helps me with teaching now and maybe even my public speaking. And teaching really helps me be a better designer. I feel like since I've been teaching, I've learned so much more and so many ways of doing things and seeing things than I had ever before.
Joey: That's interesting that you brought up the motorcycle being kind of your meditative time, that's something I never would have thought of and that's really important. If you are a motion designer, chances are you sit in front of a computer for six to eight hours a day and that's not very good for you. And it's funny because when I used to run a studio and I was stuck on a project or I was stuck creatively or I couldn't figure something on after effects, I would usually come up with the answer by running. I'm a pretty serious runner, but I never thought of running as an asset to my motion design career. But I guess in a weird way that kind of was.
It sounds like motorcycling, I was sort of assuming do you fix motorcycles, do you sort of get in there with a wrench and take the thing apart and do all that too?
Angie: Yeah, for sure. Yeah, definitely.
Joey: I thought that maybe that would translate somehow into to do that, you have to be very detail focused and keep the hole in your head while the parts are scattered in front of you, which frankly it's kind of similar if you're doing a really deep Cinema 4D project sometimes it feels like that.
Angie: Right, right. Yeah. You're very right, I never actually connected that, but I totally agree with you. Yeah, I love that, I love taking my motorcycle apart or fixing things. And I always feel a sense of such accomplishment when I figure something out, figure something that's wrong with it and it actually works after. I'm actually building a computer right now, which I've never done before. It's kind of similar, I have to go and watch some tutorials and figure out how to do it and see if it'll actually work at the end.
Joey: Yeah. This is just my theory. What I try to do sometimes when I see someone like you that's had success in these different fields, I try to sort of reverse engineer. With these episodes when I interview people, I always in the back of my mind, I'm trying to figure out how there can be a takeaway that's useful for someone who takes an hour of their time or hopefully they know that they can speed up the podcast, there's a little button, you can play at double speed. But they're listening to us talk for an hour and I'm like, "I hope they get something really useful out of this." And hearing your story and seeing what you've been able to do, to me it seems like these different things that are not obviously connected actually kind of combine to give you some superpowers.
And there's kind of this idea of, it's kind of a platitude like if you want to be a good designer, lead an interesting life. And it's kind of easy to say that. And I think when people hear that, they think, "Oh, that means I should go travel so I see unique things that I can reference when I design stuff." But I think it actually works better to be like, "No, go learn to ride a horse or something, you have no idea that will somehow make you a better motion designer." I don't know, I'm just rambling. Does this sound accurate or is this-
Angie: Oh, yeah. No, no. I totally agree. Even with modeling, I feel like that helped me be a better photo editor and how to color correct things better and to know framing better and see angles and shapes differently as well. But yeah, I totally agree. Everything definitely adds up to what I am.
Joey: That's awesome. I mentioned it earlier in terms of guests on this podcast doing my research slash Google stalking on you was by far the most interesting because you've just got a lot of unique things. And I'm just curious have you ever felt pressure like, "Oh, I look at these motion designers and they all kind of are similar and I'm way different. I have these totally different interests." Did that ever enter into your mind or have you always just sort of been like, "Nah, I'm just going to do my thing and hope it works out"?
Angie: Yeah, no. I definitely have compared myself to people and do compare myself to people. I know the way that I conduct myself on social media, I also actually used to teach social media and I'm doing the completely wrong things. Most people have a motion graphics page and they only post their MoGraph work. But I try doing that and it just doesn't work for me. I need to be who I am and I need to show all of who I am. Also, looking at other people's work, I feel like those people are very hyper focused and it might just be the way that they're conducting themselves. But at times I felt like, "Damn, maybe I should only focus on motion graphics and I should be less social and I should focus less on modeling. And maybe I shouldn't spend so much time doing motorcycles. If I sat down in front of the computer for longer, then I could be that much more advanced in my career."
But I don't think that works for me, I'm just progressing at the pace that I need to progress. And even though I'm focusing a bit more this year, I need to have time for those interests otherwise I just think I'm going to be a crappy designer or I'm not going to enjoy it and that's going to show in my work.
Joey: I think you're probably right. I had a question I wrote down, initially, it was intended to be kind of snarky. I went to your website and I looked at your demo reel and it's four years old come. Everyone's going to be like, "Come on, Angie, why is it four years old?" I'll just leave it there, let me ask you why has your demo reel not been updated in four years?
Angie: Well, I think that maybe I have an old one linked on my website. But I do have one that I cut before I went to NAB and I only updated it because I was like, "I can't go to NAB with a three year old reel." There's a lot of old work of there, which I am still proud of. But the last, I want to say the last two or three years I've spent a lot of time working on some corporate stuff. It's not the most interesting stuff that I would want to put on a reel, that's one reason why it's kind of the older stuff that I find would be more interesting as opposed to boring bank stuff.
Joey: When you have time where you could be working on your demo reel ... See, I've run into this too in the past where I have time that I could be spending on my demo reel, which I should be doing because that's what you do when you're a motion designer, you're always working on your reel and you're always doing spec projects and personal projects. But I'd actually rather go run 10 miles or go play drums for an hour, whatever. And I always try to tell people that focusing too much on motion design can actually be kind of bad for your health. It seems from the outside, I don't know, maybe secretly you really spend all day thinking about motions designs.
It seems like you have a pretty balanced outlook. And I'm just curious where does motion design fit for you in your life? Is it the most important thing and that's all you think about or is it like, no, it's kind of in the middle? You've modeling, which is cool. You got motorcycles, which are awesome. Maybe you've got family, stuff like that.
Angie: Well, there was a time before I left Toronto actually where I was not balanced. I was doing everything to the extreme and I was working 18 hours a day doing motion graphics. And then I would book a shoot on the weekends and I worked at a motorcycle shop on Saturdays and I was really into fitness at the time. I was burning out. Now, I do motion graphics for a normal amount of time during the day, like 8 hours or sometimes 10 hours. Sometimes less, sometimes two or three. And then I really make it a priority to work on myself as well, to meditate. Fitness is very important to me and to see friends because I was finding when I was focusing too much on my hobbies and on MoGraph that I wasn't nurturing my relationships.
Sometimes obviously I have to work more than others, but I try to keep it balanced. Otherwise, I just burn out and I'm not happy. If you're not happy, what's the point of doing anything?
Joey: That's really good advice. For everyone listening, if you follow, I don't know. If you're active on social media and you follow, there's a lot of people in motion design that talk kind of like, "Wake up, MoGraph, sleep, repeat." And it may seem like that's what it takes from the outside to be really successful. But I can tell you that, Angie's a great example, Sander van Dijk is another one who has crazy interest completely outside the realm of motion design that augments his genius ability to use after effects the way he does. And so, I think we have our takeaway here, Angie, which is be interesting and follow your interests because even though it may not be obvious, the modeling gig that you get offered ... Hopefully, I'll get offered once. I'm kind of curious now, I kind of want-
Angie: I'll refer you.
Joey: I kind of want people touching my face. But yeah, you never know because that's going to help you get over your shyness, which is then one day going to lead to you saying yes to a gig presenting for Maxon and it'd be great. Awesome, awesome. Well, Angie, thank you so much for having this conversation. You're super interesting, and I really hope to see you presenting more at Maxon and in the future. I think you actually are probably a role model at this point, you're someone who doesn't fit the mental model of what a 3D artist typically looks like and acts like. And I think that's awesome, so thank you.
Angie: Well, thank you. I'm really glad to hear. I'm kind of surprised, but thank you.
Joey: I want to thank Angie for coming on and sharing her experience with everyone. Make sure you check out her work at angieferet.com. We tend not to make a lot of noise about this at school of motion, but we really do want to see an industry where it just doesn't matter if you're male or female, white, black, blue, purple. And personally, I think that having more female role models out there like Angie is kind of a no-brainer way to help the next generation of motion designers see that this is not a one-size-fits-all industry and that having your own unique story is really a good thing. If you dug this episode, would you mind taking two seconds and giving a review, maybe five stars on iTunes. It really helps us spread the word about the podcast and we'll owe you a beer or a kava if that's your thing.
That's it for now. Thank you so much for listening and I'll see you next time.