When you set out to show the world your skills, sometimes the world takes notice
If you're a motion designer in these modern times, you've likely thrown one or two videos up on social media. Maybe you've taken part in an Instagram meme, or perhaps you're a TikTok influencer in the making. It can often feel like those side projects are just wastes of time, but that's not true. You're learning new skills, inspiring other artists, and—every so often—putting your work in front of the exact right audience to land a life-changing job.
Peter Quinn once sarcastically described himself as a "MoGraph superstar". As it turns out, that daily affirmation became reality. Peter spent the early parts of his career in advertising, cranking out gorgeous work for larger and larger clients. Along the way, he discovered a common thread in which campaigns hit well on the Internet.
Everyone wants to "go viral" with a video. It is one of the single easiest ways to put your product (be that a new razor blade, delicious sandwich, or just you the artist) in front of an enormous audience. However, finding that special sauce that attracts all the likes and retweets can seem impossible. Peter called upon all his experience in advertising to suss out a repeatable formula.
Peter has had several videos explode over the past few years. He started a meme that spread throughout the Motion Design community, earned a write-up in major newspapers, and even landed incredible gigs just by showing off his artistry. If you've ever wondered how you can use social media to leapfrog your career, this is the conversation you need to hear.
Grab a fresh mug of coffee and a comfortable chair, because it's time to settle in with Peter Quinn.
Being the Smarterest Artist - Peter Quinn
Kyle Hamrick: I'm really excited today to introduce you to Peter Quinn, an extremely talented and super clever guy, who knows a thing or two about what the Internet likes to see. On his website, he labeled himself as art director and Mograph superstar, which was originally intended to be a bit of self-deprecating humor, but has kind of turned out to be true. Peter spent many years working in advertising, doing motion design, visual effects, directing, photography, editing, and all the other Jack of All Trades kind of stuff that tend to come with that territory. He went viral in the motion design community a handful of years ago with a self-aware mock demo reel called Shit Showreels Say, and has released multiple tools and products for motion designers with promos that are far wittier than an after-effects toolkit probably deserves. Most recently, he's blown up on Instagram and TikTok with a series of viral visual effects videos that have led to millions of views, remixes and remakes from people all over the world, multiple BBC interviews, and even led to him making a Snoop Dogg music video basically by himself.
Kyle Hamrick: In this episode, we'll talk about how he makes and thinks up these videos and how his past work and personal projects all fit together to lay the foundation for his current success. Before that, let's check out this quick message from one of our awesome School of Motion alumni.
Julie Grant: I am fairly new to After Effects and had taken a number of After Effects classes elsewhere and was still completely lost. Then, I took a course at School of Motion and all the light bulbs started going on. I will tell no lie. The School of Motion core structure is challenging, but really well structured and I tell everyone how great the School of Motion classes are. My name is Julie Grant and I am a School of Motion alumni.
Kyle Hamrick: Hey Peter, thanks so much for hopping in here with us today. I'd love for people to just get a little bit of an idea of who you are, where you come from. We're obviously going to be talking about your work and what you do, but just kind of give us a little background here. What's your story?
Peter Quinn: What is my story? Well, I guess I'm sitting here in California after sort of a whirlwind 10 years where I guess I started doing some agency stuff back in Ireland. It sort of ended like 10 years ago when I decided that I was done with Ireland and took a little art director job at a video production place in Vancouver. So, I kind of did that for five years and I was video guy, motion-animation guy for sort of stressful video production agency until that all got too much for me and I decided that California is pretty cool. So, next thing I know I've said yes to a job at Dollar Shave Club and did that for five years and just sort of found myself over the last little while sort of focusing in on more marketing side of motion design, video production.
Peter Quinn: So, I'm making Facebook and Instagram content for the company that I work for, which is kind of fun. I sort of get to stretch my legs motion design wise and video production wise and try to figure out what works and what people want to look at and ultimately what makes people click the button to buy the thing, whatever that may be. So, I don't know, that's my world right now. That's the genre of employment I've sort of meandered into and that's where I'm sitting right now.
Kyle Hamrick: You seem like you've done all right for yourself. Obviously, you've worked at some noteworthy brands and done a lot of stuff. I mean your website says you're an art director and Mograph superstar.
Peter Quinn: Yeah, I think I wrote that maybe 10 years ago and it's probably the meta-tags thing that I don't know how to update, but I mean, what was I saying with that? I'm sort of trying to say that I'm some kind of special... that I'm more interesting than just your average motion designer. I guess in one way or another I've tried to be.
Kyle Hamrick: Yeah, you've had a lot of sort of interesting places that your career has gone, mostly for the fun things that you've kind of done outside your job, but we'll kind of get to some of this, but I think it's pretty easy to see a lot of connections and your history working in advertising and the way that those skills get put to work in your fun stuff that you want to do too and probably vice versa.
Peter Quinn: Yeah. I think that it's funny you say that because you're trying to find the thread and how do you weave all of this together into like who this random Irish guy is? But I mean, it's really just, I think the thread, the common in work and play, is that you really just trying to make stuff that people want to look at or don't immediately dismiss as an ad. No matter what I'm making, I'm kind of trying to pay the person in some way for their attention, like, "Hey, internet guy or girl, stop here for a second and look at my thing." And that's the same if I'm making an ad for whatever brand I'm working for, but it's also the same for my bullshit on Instagram.
Peter Quinn: I'm just basically saying, "Stop here for a second. Look at my thing. I'm trying to entertain you in some sort of newfangled way." And for the ad side of the word, if I'm making an ad for a brand, I'm sort of saying, "Yeah, I want to give you this message that this thing is $5 and you should sign," but I'm also like to do that, I'm going to sit for a day and make an interesting stop motion animation, or I think I'm going to weave in some interesting text animation, or just like some interest in some flare where other people might not maybe, so I kind of, I feel that when I'm at my computer and when I'm key framing and I've got my nose in it, I'm like, "What can I do with any one particular moment to add a little bit of... Make it memorable?"
Peter Quinn: "What can you do with one word or whatever, or one picture of something, one picture of a product or whatever?" I'm always trying to think of like, it doesn't have to be like original every time, it doesn't have, you don't have to reinvent the wheel constantly because that would be exhausting. I mean, you're always trying to think about the context of the person on their phone or whatever it is, the person who is present, who just wants to watch their whatever it is on YouTube, but like, you're interrupting their viewing pleasure with an ad. "Sorry," but maybe you can just sort of do something nice for them for just two seconds or five seconds, whatever it is. So I'm always thinking about that person. And if you could just like sprinkle in some surprise and delight as they say.
Kyle Hamrick: I like it. Well, and as someone who's been kind of watching what you have put out on social for five or six years now, I feel like you have a really good sense for some of that stuff. I want to dig into some of that a little bit later. I don't know. It just seems like it maybe comes very natural to you. You just sort of have a good, clever sense of humor about things. I don't know, and the skills to pull it off too, which helps.
Peter Quinn: I'm always kicking out whatever projects, I've always got something cooking, it's kind of for fun because yes, my job is motion graphics, but also my hobby is motion graphics or motion graphics adjacent stuff.
Kyle Hamrick: Same.
Peter Quinn: Yeah. Yeah, and probably a lot of people listen to this.
Kyle Hamrick: We just can't quit, can we?
Peter Quinn: Yeah, I mean, because we ended up in this sort of fun job. Sometimes I'm like, "What? I have to just play with After Effects all day, 24/7?" But it's a fun... It really is like a strange old world. I guess it's probably the same for most people and in creative industries where it literally is fun and you probably are lucky to be sitting where you are, but also you're probably pretty talented or have started to develop those talents.
Peter Quinn: It's super cool to just land yourself a job and where you can pay your mortgage or pay your rent or whatever it is by just doing whatever it is you thought was fun 20 years ago. Like, you're probably the same. I've got this back catalog of videos, I will never look at and never share, of just random, stupid, experiments, probably filmed on ancient phones that still have a dot 3G extension or it's primitive MP4 extension, you know what I mean? Like really old experimentation from just when you're starting out in After Effects and cutting things in Premiere and whatever. I don't know, if I was to be told at that age that I'm like 40 something, I'm 41 now, but I mean I was probably kicking this stuff around, but in my teens or like early twenties, and I can remember Googling flash jobs, or how do you get jobs in like flash animation?
Peter Quinn: It just never worked out back in Belfast, which is, I guess, why I ended up having to didn't leave, but, I was always interested in finding a career in it, but I guess it just did work out that I constantly pursued it. I guess it was, I mean, it sounds like I was really driven or whatever, but I wasn't, I was kind of just lucky, but I guess I always had some sort of little tiny incremental, all your little shitty projects, all your random, stupid experimentation with the green screen you did 20 years ago. You probably still have some sort of fundamental learning from that you're using today, or any sort of like crude messing around with like... I always think of just basic design fundamentals, like messing around with just fitting type on a page, or just graphic design, or choosing colors or whatever.
Peter Quinn: Those sort of like things that you thought you were wasting time at 20 years ago, actually, they were really sort of fundamental. I feel like roughly what I'm doing now is sort of what I wanted to do. I didn't know it, but I mean, I was always working towards this.
Kyle Hamrick: Because most of this stuff didn't really exist at the time. We are almost identically the same age here, so yeah, motion design wasn't a thing yet, and so it was just sort of figuring out like, "I guess I like to make videos and make stuff look cool," and how does that become a thing?
Peter Quinn: Yeah. I can remember trying to do something equivalent to what would be 2D motion tracking in Premiere, because I probably saw it on something. It was really, really crude, like literally like position, key frames in Premiere, like frame by frame. It kind of worked, it was a lot of manual work, but it kind of worked, but you're asking about the sort of humor in there or the sort of like the tone of it, I guess. Like, I feel like I've always thought this would be super fun to do. The more I sort of progressed into it, I got a few lucky breaks, like good, some decent jobs here and there, and it turns out to be different countries. I mean, it sort of feeds your confidence, and confidence, if you're not confident right now at the age of, in your twenties, don't worry. It comes later.
Peter Quinn: I feel like I'm pretty sort of confident with my voice now. Like I'm not comfortable with this particular actual voice because it's terrible and suffers from a very bizarre, broken Northern Irish accent. But my actual tone, my voice that's sort of, I think, it's sort of threaded through it, like random, like Instagram stuff or marketing things I've made, part of it, sort of a confidence in like, I don't know, I basically learned that one of the things people appreciate everywhere is just a bit of irony, and a bit of don't take yourself too seriously, and stuff like that. Like [irreverentness] is super fun. It's like a tool you can use, but you have to use it right. I feel like when I was a teenager, like in my young twenties, I would just be like just a dick. I would just be sort of an asshole, thinking it's funny because that's kind of what Irish humor is based on. You just sort of a Dick to your friends all the time and that's hilarious.
Peter Quinn: Some aspect of that sort of [irreverentness] is, I feel like people just like it. I mean, you can incorporate irreverence in a lot of ways. You literally could have jokes in there or sort of like, I feel like, a video where I'm lifting myself and biting my own head off has as an irreverent tone. It's sort of like, "I don't really care what else you're supposed to make for Instagram. I'm making this and that's it." I don't know, like even with... I feel like I really struck it well when I made a Grit Kit advert for myself, or a PQ FUI toys advert, like five or six years ago where it's just like, I know what you expect in an ad. Like your expectation in an ad is like, "Tell me what it is, tell me what it does and how much is it and where can I get it?" That's sort of what you want for internet marketing.
Peter Quinn: I feel like I sort of was giggling to myself that, "Oh, actually I can just say whatever I want, it's my advert." Like, "I don't have to run a pass on any sort of boss or creative director or anything," like, "This is my ad." So I was just like, I'm just going to like purposely like use that asshole tone of like, "This is shit, this is shit. You don't need this, don't buy this, it's not that good," like that sort of tone where... I can't remember the copy I used in it, but it was like, I was just sort of giggling to myself about how much of an anti ad this was. Then I made it, I thought it was really funny. I showed it to a couple of people and they're like, "Okay, this is kind of funny. You should include some sort of benefits of your product." And I was like, "Okay, right. Maybe. Maybe if the purpose is, I actually want people to buy this, I might want say that it has certain amount of benefits to your life."
Kyle Hamrick: I think. There's a lot of, I mean, obviously for something like that, you can be very meta about it because you're marketing to people primarily that already know... They're going to be like, "Oh, okay, I see what this is. It's textures for me to use in my projects or whatever," which probably helps a lot.
Peter Quinn: Yeah. I mean, I got better at it. So for grit kit, I was actually like, "Oh, actually this is a decent product, I actually want to use." and it was literally one of [inaudible] "I'm not trying to squeeze in a marketing message here. Definitely not." But, if you think about like, I guess we can get into the sort of efficiency and work flow topic in a second, but, I mean, you can sort of apply this. Anyone could sort of apply this idea to anything. So I personally was using a lot of textures, animated textures, and I was literally Googling textures and rotating them and sort of making animated textures sort of ad hoc.
Peter Quinn: Even before that, like 10 years ago, I feel there's this trend for nonsense iron man sort of graphics, free style graphics, and that's why I ended up making it that FUI Toys thing, because in the agency I was working in at the time, like almost every other brief clients were coming in and trying to ask for like, "You know inside Iron Man's helmet?" And I was like, "oh my God, I've heard that four times this week." So I ended up just making a little toolkit and using the same things over and over again, and eventually that sort of became a product.
Kyle Hamrick: Because ultimately they don't care that... The hero element and then some bullshit to go around it, right?
Peter Quinn: Yeah. It's just nonsense, and that tone, this tone I'm talking with, which is sort of like an eye-roll tone. I love that. I mean, it's like putting like eye rolls in your copy and having that sort of flavor to your writing is just so... It kind of speaks to what people actually think when they're watching an advert. Like if someone is literally getting an ad in between like pictures of their friends, they're kind of like, "Oh, ad." But, what if I come at it, I'm like, I use that same tone. I mean, that might be interesting. I don't know. I'm getting off topic.
Kyle Hamrick: We mentioned you biting your own head off in a video, a minute ago, which is maybe the best segue that we're going to get for talking about what is ostensibly the topic here, which is these VFX loops that you've been doing on Instagram and TikTok and probably some other platforms too. Sounds like I know at least one other place that they have appeared, which we'll talk about later, but just for anyone who hasn't seen those, obviously we're going to link them, just kind of give us an idea of what you've been doing, when you started doing these, what we're talking about here.
Peter Quinn: So I guess, like I was saying before, where I've been doing the sort of marketing sorts of jobs for 10 or 15 years whatever, you get into sort of pattern of what you're expected to make and what you ultimately do with your time. So I ended up sort of the same thing over and over again, and that gets a little old, but I feel like, I, at some point, at the start of this year, or maybe it was a sort of January New Year and new beginning sort of thing, I kind of just sort of remembered that, "Oh, I can do my own projects." I can, if I have an idea, I can just do it. I sort of forgot, and I just thought, I guess my life is I made stuff for a brand, which is fine. I mean, you could do that. That's great.
Peter Quinn: I feel like I literally woke up early one day and I was like, "Oh, I'm going to do something on my Instagram, because I guess I've got..." I don't know at that time, maybe 10,000 followers or something. So like I could do something and like, just that would be fun. I think the first thing I did was I did one of those multiplicity things where multiple versions of myself, I'm just looking at my feed and I-
Kyle Hamrick: Just coming out the door.
Peter Quinn: Coming out the door of my house, and I think my initial idea was that we have a green door. I had recently just painted it green, and it was like I'm pride of my door. I was like, "It's kind of like a green screen." Then I thought I could use my door as a green screen, and then later on, that idea sort of merged into like, "Oh, if I walk out of my door multiple times, I can use the door to sort of cut myself out and have an overlap with multiple versions of myself." Then that sort of became a sort of more interesting idea of like, "Oh, I could loop it," because I mean, I was always really into those. I don't know if you've ever seen old Chemical Brothers music videos, or Michel Gondry stuff, or those sort of slightly bizarre more RD music videos. I thought, "Oh, okay I'm making a sort of like RD loop thing here. This is kind of fun." Yeah, I mean, it just turned out sort of cool.
Peter Quinn: So I did it again and did another little multiplicity thing popping out of a tree or something. As soon as you end up with a couple of videos, you're like, "Okay, right. I've got a little thing going here, and I like that sort of idea as a sort of creative person," like, "Oh, I'm having another little thing here." Another little sort of stream of similar content, which I love.
Peter Quinn: Anyway, I just, I mean, I did, I think five, six, maybe seven of these little sort of loopy experiments and then super weird, like a guy from the BBC got in touch, who is just randomly is married to one of my cousins who I haven't seen in 30 years. Yeah, we just like, he was like, "Hey, do you want to have a call? Well, I'm going to try and do a story on this. I don't know what it's going to be yet, but something about making interesting things in your house during the lockdown." I was like, "All right, I got to see where you're going." And yeah, I just sort of talked to this guy, was kind of nervous at that time, I hadn't done much like, I mean, who has? Talking to the BBC about their Instagram videos.
Peter Quinn: I just did it and just kind of like feet wobbling under the table, trying to sign, not sign like an idiot, but then a couple of days later the story was out and then a different sort of more prestigious aspect of the BBC picked it up, and then literally two days after that, [inaudible] live BBC breakfast thing said, "You want to come on at this show?" So then for me it's like nighttime, it's like 11:00 PM at night, but for all of the UK, live TV and the Big Breakfast TV thing there is, I don't know what anymore. I don't know what it is really, but I know it's kind of a big deal.
Peter Quinn: Yeah, so I'm really, really nervous and I'm talking to the UK as they wake up and have their cornflakes. I just got such a big pickup from it. Even while, I guess while it was on, it was like followers ding, ding, like loads of people following, loads of random likes and stuff, and it was just this thing that I could never really have imagined, taken off so much. But then all of a sudden like, "Oh, this is a thing. I have to keep doing this." Like I can't not-
Kyle Hamrick: Shut it down right after that.
Kyle Hamrick: Yeah. I basically told the UK that I do this, it's not that I have done these couple of videos. Like I am this guy who does this all the time. So then I sort of felt a little bit of pressure to keep it going. So basically tried to scrape my mind for more ideas and more content, which is kind of tricky I have to say. I don't know what I... Right now I was sitting there. Like, I know I probably have to make a video in the next couple of weeks, but I do not have an idea. So I don't know.
Kyle Hamrick: Do you know which of these has been your most successful one in terms of just pure views or whatever?
Peter Quinn: I think the way it works is it's about pickup, right? So if you have a thing that's sort of really easily digestible by just anyone, like just a simple idea, and this is true of anything. Hot tip. This is true of absolutely anything. If it's super simple, there's a video there, I have my thing open here and there's a video of me jumping in a puddle, that doesn't need any explanation, it's just a guy jumps in a puddle and he disappears. There's nothing else to it, but like, you can laugh at that if you're literally three years old or if you're 93 years old. Right. That is what mass appeal is. I didn't, I signed like I'm... I came at this from an educated way, but I'm just saying these are my learnings from these random things and from my marketing background.
Peter Quinn: But if it's that simple, I feel like it'll just sort of work and people will like the thing or repost the thing. But there's like a whole bunch of like meme accounts. I didn't know about all these, I obviously knew about random meme accounts, but like, there are so many of them, and this one of me jumping in a puddle was just picked up and up and up and up, was just randomly shared by just stuff I didn't know. This was like, "Okay. Right. It's kind of slapstick as well. So it's a little bit like I'm literally getting wet, but I literally jumped in a puddle. So the joke's on me, right? I'm getting wet and I'm disappearing. And I feel like that's a good aspect to it as well. It's sort of self-deprecating but also just a bit weird.
Kyle Hamrick: I feel like a lot of these have that element where you're hitting yourself or smashing yourself or something like that. I think that's part of the charm too. You're kind of always the butt of the joke.
Peter Quinn: Totally. Yeah. Yeah. So the next one I did, which I feel like was sort of... I had this sort of like rough idea that I would sort of like punch myself or flick myself into the distance at some point for a VFX shot. In fact, I tried to pitch it once for a client video. It wasn't a Flickr video per se, but something technically in that ballpark, but this client was trying to sell, I don't know, phone contracts or something up in Canada. I can't remember what it was. But anyway, like I was saying, I remembered I can do this stuff myself. I can do anything I want. It's my Instagram. So I did that, I did the Flickr video and then shortly after that did a how to, and how you could do the Flickr video too.
Peter Quinn: And both of them did really well in different ways. One is just kind of easily shareable and also it's a loop as well. So it has that aspect and interconnectedness to it, right? So I feel like it had that same... Yeah, and also I sort of had these DM conversations with these [inaudible] kinds because they're like, "Hey, can we borrow your MP4? And do you mind if we repost that?" So I had a lot of those conversations. So I feel like anything else I had done after that first jumping in the puddle video, just was... I already had some sort of channels open and the subsequent videos sort of just got a bit more attention quicker, I guess.
Peter Quinn: I didn't have to do so much work in sharing and say, "Hey, do you want to feature this?" But yeah, I think the Flickr video leading to other people, joining in to the videos led me later to make another little compilation of all those and that one compilation, which sort of celebrates into Instagram fund or, sorry, internet fund. Like, "Sure, this is funny, but you can do it too. It's super easy to just go film this, this and this and make it. Super easy to make if you've got some core after effects students." But yeah, those couple of videos, definitely, they just sort of took off.
Kyle Hamrick: One of the cool things that you're doing with some of these is providing a breakdown of how you approached it. And I know you were kind of using that same philosophy for these breakdowns too, to keep those short and sweet... Sure, you could make a 45 minute tutorial because it's easy... You and I have been doing this stuff for 15 years and we know how to do green screens and tracking and ro-do and all this stuff. But if you're kind of aiming at anyone and making it clear anyone can participate, it's clear that you are being intentionally simplified with your little tutorial breakdown version of this thing too. You've definitely got this mind for accessibility of the concept on all of these, which seems like it's a big part of why they're popular.
Peter Quinn: Yeah. Well, I mean like the whole thing about... I guess like everything. I mean, like I said, but I'm doing all these marketing videos. The thing you hear over and over again is like first three seconds. First three seconds has to be like bang, bang, bang. The perfect pop song. You just got to get the hook right away. So no matter what it is. I feel like when we were learning these things, even like an [Andrew Kramer] tutorial from like 10 or 15 years ago, I don't know, basically opens with like, "Here's what we're going to learn. Here's the cool thing." Then it gets into it. And it's literally like, "Okay, set up a new composition. I'm going to set it to 19 20 by 10 80."
Peter Quinn: Who has time for that? No one is going to sit and watch you set up the thing, go make a new solid, whatever. I mean, I get that that's kind of how standard tutorials work, but my platform, I guess, is Instagram and knowing what I know now, where people just want the thing. "Give me the thing. What do I do?" It just started three seconds ago and I'm already bored. Give it to me. And that, I feel like if you watch, if you sort of make yourself, make your content with that in mind, without voice like, "Hey, internet guy, just show me the thing. I want to get out of here. I want to go to the next thing." If you make it for that person, with this sort of boredom eyes, I call it, or just inattention.
Peter Quinn: So it's designed for inattention, right? That's the thing. So if you can like design it for that guy who doesn't give a shit and will never give a shit, maybe more people will get it. So in that first three seconds, you've got the flavor of what it is, then you're already into step one. So in three seconds before that person can get out of there, they're already like, "Oh, I guess I'm learning something." So I don't know, it's the tact. And also I wanted it to fit into an Instagram reel, which is like 30 seconds, because the whole thing now is like Instagram is competing with TikTok and you want to get specifically their reel product and not their iDTV thing. So sure, you can do like a longer form thing, but Instagram is not pushing that. There is a feature on the app, but Instagram wants you to use Instagram and not TikTok and their method for doing that is the reel, so get it to fit into that. I learned this pretty early. So I don't know. I'm stuck with that time limit. Is it 30 seconds? I can't remember.
Kyle Hamrick: Yeah, that was my guess.
Peter Quinn: I think it's 30 seconds for a reel. Maybe it's 60 seconds. I can't remember. But if you want to share it to your story as well, I mean, you're only going to get 15 seconds into the story before it gets truncated, right? So I'm sort of designing for the story too. And if you think about how these things get shared and get popular, like a meme account, or like some sort of... I don't know. Even School of Motion might've shared a couple of my things in the past, but if you guys share it to story, it's only going to be like the first 15 seconds. And then you can obviously click through and watch the rest of it.
Peter Quinn: But if you think about that, that's your limitation, that's your modern day parameters. [Andrew Kramer] wasn't making stuff for this platform. Back then, at least. But yeah, so you're sort of designing for the context of where it's going to get the most eyeballs, right? And then there's also the sharing of skills. I mean, I don't want to sound wishy-washy, but it's kind of good to do that. I used to watch these magic shows, literally in the eighties as like David Copperfield thing. I'm not sure if he showed you how you made the statue of Liberty disappear or whatever. That's the fun part. The fun part is the trick, but then there's also the fun aspect on like, "Whoa, that's what you did? That's crazy." And I guess with this acting stuff, I mean, I'm seeing that too. And I'm like, "Oh right. This guy." What do you call him? Kevin Perry as well?
Kyle Hamrick: Yeah.
Peter Quinn: This guy's doing the same sort of thing where you come up with something that is kind of really interesting. Like, "How did you even get to that idea?" Then you just show them. That's what the internet wants. The internet doesn't have the patience, they're not going to go and guess. Just show us, give us the thing so we can go onto the next thing. So you're making these eyeball fast food, right? It's like, "Just give it to us."
Kyle Hamrick: Me personally, I would say I'm an over explainer typically, especially with tutorial stuff. And I'm kind of challenged when I can't fit in all of the details and context and qualifications and something like after effects. It tends to have a lot of those. But yeah, most people don't want that. And I think maybe it's important to remember. If you can kind of show someone the basic steps... Most people probably aren't going to do the thing anyway, but someone who's relatively internet savvy can probably look up how to do a basic green-screen key and how to use the camera tracker and stuff. If you kind of point them in the right direction, they can kind of fill in those gaps sometimes.
Peter Quinn: Yeah, totally. The target on the surface is my mom could watch this, right? She understands you did X, Y, and Z, computer things. You did computer things on mid this video. But, like you said, if you have a bit of a background, you're like, "Okay, he green screened that." I don't need to go and show you how to set a dropped key light and set dial the maps and everything. But most people will be able to figure that out. So I'm kind of aiming for that person who has just a bit of an understanding if they're going to do it. But the funny thing is the most common comment is like, "What app is this?" Like, "Hey man, what app is this?" And I cannot believe they keep asking. They literally think-
Kyle Hamrick: There's one button that just creates a video of you and does all of this effect stuff, right?
Peter Quinn: That is absolutely the expectation. I feel like half of commenters on Instagram and TikTok they're all like, "What app is this?" You think that's a super simple sentence. Some people, they're not even typing that out. They don't even have to have the patience to type. So it's like, "What app?" Or, "App?" I'm not saying everyone can type perfectly English, because these are from everywhere. It's just really funny to get this full spectrum of... Just from that one comment that happens over and over again, I just learned so much about internet patience and who I'm dealing with. You get sensible comments from people who might listen to this, like proper motion designers, video guys, or girls.
Peter Quinn: But they're like, "Oh right. Hey, did you use this plugin?" And then, "I kind of feel like you might've done this bit backwards." And like, "But how did cut out the [inaudible]? What's going on there?" And I'll be, "Oh yeah, well actually I used a mid alpha map." Or like, "That's just key light." Or like, "Yeah, you're right. This is totally filmed backwards." I have those sorts of conversations and they're really fun to have, but you're dealing with a gamut of everyone, just people who don't care. What they want, everybody wants something, right? That's the other thing about these things, advertising, whatever. It's like, "All right. I will only click the button if I want something." Or like, "If you amuse me, I might hit that hard thing. I might treat you to my light." Or like, "If I learn something. Yeah, sure. I'd like that."
Peter Quinn: But everybody wants something. Most people just want like, "Tell me how to do it because I want to be cool." Like, "I want to get likes on my Instagram or Facebook." Whatever it is. So just give it to them, give the people what they want. But it's really, really cool that... All the people that made the Flickr video, they're just everywhere, random country. Sometimes I'll click on their tag and I'm just like, "Where the hell is this?" Like, "Okay, I guess it's like Indonesia or something." Or there's a sort of middle-aged lady in Tokyo mid one. And the really cool thing is some random kid who's like... I don't know, there's this one guy who tags me in things.
Peter Quinn: And I don't know, he must be like 10 or 11, maybe be 12. I don't know the ages of kids anymore. I don't know. This one kid [inaudible] a couple of these things. I'm like, "You're kind of sloppy because you're a kid, but actually keep at it and you're going to be super cool." It's kind of amazing to think about that. I look at this kid's Instagram and most of his reels are remix of things I've made. That's huge. And that's sort of like all that we all watched [Andrew Kramer].
Kyle Hamrick: Yeah. I was going to say, you might be his [Andrew Kramer].
Peter Quinn: Isn't that amazing? Just to have your stuff remade is one thing, but for some kid to be super excited that you made a video. That's awesome. It's almost as cool as having like thousands and thousands of views. There's just this other aspect to it that, "Oh, actually it's really useful for somebody." So, I mean, that's been something I couldn't have expected as well, but if I was to put dots on a globe, I'd be like, "Whoa, people from literally all over the world are watching these stupid things that I make out of my street or around the corner while I'm walking my dog. It's huge."
Kyle Hamrick: That's pretty awesome. And again, sometimes a pretty simple idea can be very sort of universal. Something kind of me-me, like just jumping in a puddle or smashing yourself. Technically speaking, relatively accessible too, because you're shooting a lot of these just with your phone, right? Obviously, you're using aftereffects to actually do the effects work on them but...
Peter Quinn: Yeah. I mean, that's the thing. Sometimes I won't have necessarily prepared an idea. I'll just have it in my head that, "Oh, I want to make something soon. It's been like two weeks since I uploaded something." So I have this little $12 tripod that I got on Amazon that I bought because I can sort of hook it onto my belt, I don't want to carry this big thing around and if we're going for a walk in the beach or something, or a little hike with our dogs on Saturday morning, I'll just bring it just in case something pops into my head. So for example, last week we went to Topanga here in California just to walk the dogs and I had this big idea of... Not even that day. I was just sort of thinking, "If I see anything, I'll make it." A big rock or something, maybe I can jump off it or something and loop it or something.
Peter Quinn: I don't know. That's kind of the lens I have to look at the world with now. I guess it's weird, but I saw that this particular thing had dips, where the path I was on had an immediate dip, which connected with this idea I sort of vaguely had of a giant coming out of a thing and then I just kind of looked at it for a second and, "Yeah, I guess it could come up there and I could be here and I could..." You sort of put it together there and then, but you're sort of pulling from something you have in your head. And then I was like, "Ooh, there's a lot of bushes there. I don't know how I'm going to cut that out. I'll just go and figure it out later." So you figure it out later the technical aspect, but just get three or four takes that I can draw from.
Peter Quinn: And also it's just me. So I'm sitting with my tripod and I don't know really what I'm getting. Incidentally the giant one, the important part about that is you film the giant low with the wide angle lens, so it's got that big feeling. So you use the 0.5 lens in the iPhone. And then I think I used the middle lens for the normal person, which sort of helps to get that scale. And so that was a core thing that I brought. I already had that idea like, "Oh, I'll use the different lenses." And then I sort of roughly imagined a point in space like, "Okay, my head is probably there." I kind of kicked myself because I wish I had recorded the shadow, because the shadow is a bit shitty on that one, but yeah.
Peter Quinn: Oh, that's the other one. I also have this time limit where... It's low fi so I'm shooting on my iPhone. I want to upload it tonight. I don't want to like work in this for three days. Obviously you want to shoot it, get it to a pretty good place. And I am uploading this tonight no matter what. So there's a bunch of them. I mean, I could look back and think, "Oh, that could have been way better if I had taken an extra day at it or rerecorded it at one little point or whatever, or maybe got a different plugin to do something." Or in the case of that shadow. Yeah, sure. I could have maybe got the green screened or the master version of a hand, flipped it over and used that as a more accurate shadow. I think of these things after.
Peter Quinn: But the point is, throw away. It's just, get the thing done, move on to the next thing. I don't want to be doing this tomorrow. I just want to shoot it, play with it and then just go to sleep. I don't want to wake up and do it tomorrow. I want to wake up and see that the people who I know back in Ireland on a completely different time zone have appreciated it while I've been sleeping. So that's an aspect of it as well. I'll finish it and then my California friends will see it tomorrow when they wake up. But by the time I wake up, all my friends back home have already sort of seen that, whatever.
Kyle Hamrick: I think there's some good stuff in there about... Obviously it depends on the context of what you're doing, but done is better than perfect in almost every instance.
Peter Quinn: 100%.
Kyle Hamrick: And I come up with silly little ideas and I have a kid who sometimes we come up with little things and especially when you do the step professionally, it's very easy to over-complicate it and think of like, "Oh, well, yeah, we can do this little thing, but I need to get this and this and this and do this equipment and then I'll have to plan for all this other stuff." And you can plan yourself right out of ever actually doing the thing. Really easily.
Peter Quinn: Yeah. What is it? Good today is better than perfect tomorrow. Is that right? Something like that.
Kyle Hamrick: Yeah.
Peter Quinn: But it's so true. Yeah. I mean, get on with your life. Just stick the thing on Instagram.
Kyle Hamrick: Would your extra 30 hours of making it perfect translate to that many more views?
Peter Quinn: Yeah. So you could probably spend three times more time on anything and have it 10% better and it's not worth it. I'm telling you it's not worth it. But I guess with my 41 years of experience, at life not at motion [inaudible], with my experience I can sort of make sure that the things I do super quick are better, if that makes sense. I'll do things that sure, if someone was watching me, they might think, "Oh, you're not being very careful here. You're just sort of skipping through this."
Peter Quinn: But actually the point of being sort of efficient and experienced is exactly that. You get to a better level with more ease, right? Like ballparking the position of where my hand would be as it as a giant and where I'm going to be. I'm actually sort of incorporating quite a lot of vague knowledge of how lenses work and seeing the ad and knowing it's going to be a tall ad and where it's going to be in the screen and where I would imagine the thick camera to be with the real camera. I don't know. Some of it is sort of educated guesses. Let's call it that.
Kyle Hamrick: Yeah. Well, you have all these years of doing this stuff, all this experience that you can leverage so that it probably tends to look effortless to someone who doesn't, I don't know, realize how much context there is knowing how to film things and get the right angles and knowing how to making sure to pick up clean plates and all these things that... It's very easy to take for granted. Especially, I feel like people of our generation of motion designers did a lot of this VFX stuff early in their careers because that's what after effects was. And it's so easy to just take it for granted and not even think of all these little details that go into making something so that you don't get killed in post. And we probably all got killed in post a hundred times from people who didn't do it, right?
Peter Quinn: Totally. And that's where the eye roll comes from. When you see that random person like, "What app is this?" You're just like, "You don't even know. You don't even know what you're saying." We've all been there, forgotten something and have to be like two days of ro-do or some sort of fixing your mistakes or fixing somebody else's mistakes.
Kyle Hamrick: Usually that one.
Peter Quinn: But like VFX. We call it VFX at science school, but it's basically like fix my mistakes. Just as I was saying, I was late coming onto this because I was fixing in this skateboarding video, somebody forgot to ask the skateboarders to not have logos. So it's basically ro-doing Adidas stickers or logos on people's clothes. It's just like fixing somebody's mistake where they... I mean, I don't know, were they going to cover it up anyway? I don't know, but like, "Fix it." We're fixing people.
Kyle Hamrick: Yeah. A lot of this leads really well into some of the other stuff I wanted to talk about, which is, we've kind of touched on you have this marketing savvy and stuff, but you really seem like kind of this Jack of all trades. You do photography and videography and visual effects and motion design, and you make products for motion designers, stop motion. I'm sure I'm leaving some things off the list, but you've got a lot of this big focus on efficiency because you do do a lot of things and probably juggle stuff and-
Peter Quinn: Yeah. I wonder how many people have the same sort of background. If you're the same age as me, you probably have some similar stuff where... I mean, I feel like my first sort of 10 years in the business, 12 years, is sort of like, I work for a company that just has no money and there's a boss that just won't pay for anything. There is no such thing as like, "We should hire someone to do this other thing that needs done."
Kyle Hamrick: We should, but we're not going to. You figure it out.
Peter Quinn: If I had suggested that in my first couple of jobs, like, "Oh, we need to hire somebody for this skill to fix this thing or to do something." Not a chance. Never going to happen where a boss of this ilk is going to front some dollars or in this case, British pints. So you're the guy was like, "Hey, you, you specifically, you have to figure out how this is done to a super professional level where the client's going to be all happy." And it's all sorts of random stuff. I mean, just because I learned a bit of video experience, I know how to work a microphone. I know how to set levels or what. Audio, all this really scare me. Still those are a little bit... I hit the interface and those little wireless mic things, terrible. Somebody fix that please.
Peter Quinn: But no, it's like just to be a motion designer, you need to have all that other stuff set because in a certain way... Well, I'm talking to the School of Motion. So you guys are like this. I feel like motion designers are sitting at the top of this sort of skill heap where in order to get to that motion designer thing... I mean, sure, you may have just gone and learn motion design. That's cool, but I guess maybe the older you are, the more you weren't doing motion design earlier in your career. Right? Because it's pretty new. So you probably came through a bit of sound design and some color correction. I feel like I spent a long time just learning codex on weird sort of practical stuff like that. Or just dealing with not painting yourself into a corner where all your hard drives are full and at the end of a project or something... which I actually had like two weeks ago... but for the purposes of this story, I'm saying that I don't. I'm just saying you end up with this wealth of skills that are just sort of everything. But motion design is this sort of layer on top where you finally got to say you're a motion designer.
Peter Quinn: Because for my job or for myself, I'm making whatever random video, I can't just do motion design. I have to do just so many other layers of stuff to get to the motion design. But I feel like even what I'm doing right now is sort of this other layer on top, which is a smarter communication and a smarter, like I've before, but the voice. You're making all these videos and making motion design, but what are you saying to people? And you have to remember that you're talking to people, even if you're not talking, you're communicating to people. In my case for a job, it's for buy the shit, press the button, subscribe to the thing, whatever it is. But if you're making a video, say you're making a short film or something, you're crafting that story.
Peter Quinn: But I feel like once you have the motion design skills under your belt, you have to remember that the internet is more savvy with this now. So if you're putting together a story or an ad or whatever it is, they've probably seen a hundred ads in the last hour so do something more interesting. Bring something else to the table, just being excellent at motion design, won't cut it anymore. You have to be saying something or bringing something to it. And I feel like with internet video in general, people are tired and they're over the bullshit and you have to bring something new and fresh constantly. So how the hell do you do that? I mean, how do you say buy my shit in a more interesting way than the other brand that's saying buy my shit? I feel like there's so many things you have to do. You have to be technically excellent. And then you have to be sort of witty and have authenticity and use brevity and just, there's all these things you just have to do nowadays just to be like average.
Kyle Hamrick: And be organized enough to actually get it all done too.
Peter Quinn: Yeah, and have that just giant mental toolkit, that means that you're not stuck anywhere in there. You know? A lot of people listening to this are probably kind of like me where you're just one guy in the chair and you're just expected to do it all. Which, I mean, I don't mean to have the eye-roll tone in there. I might do it a little bit, but I don't mean that. I mean, I'm lucky to sit in the chair and I'm lucky to be doing this stuff.
Kyle Hamrick: There is an aspect of this stuff that probably always will be the people that a lot of motion designers tend to work for are the what app guy.
Peter Quinn: That's the thing, your employer does not want to hear the practical side of it. Your employer, or a client if you're freelance or whatever, or random internet person, they don't want to hear anything about anything. They just... the audio wasn't recorded really well so I'm having to do a bunch of work. Like, I don't care. I don't even-
Kyle Hamrick: Just make it work.
Peter Quinn: Make a word video guy, I need a video. Same with the audience is just like, just give me the thing. Let me smile at this, let me be amused or entertained about what it is. Just show me the thing and let me move on with my life. So I'm using my eye-roll tone again, I didn't mean to.
Kyle Hamrick: So let's talk a little bit about some of this... I mentioned this earlier, I've been watching your social media for five or six years now, since we met, and it's been kind of cool seeing a lot of these sort of threads that I feel like kind of came together into some of this stuff. You started out doing these lunchtime projects, which I don't know if you want to say something about those quickly or-
Peter Quinn: So for the lunchtime projects, I feel like that was something I did while I was working in Vancouver. And it is born out of, you're kind of tired with your day to day, and then you have this small window of time where you can do whatever you want. So generally I would, a couple of times a week, go and buy my terrible sandwich from terrible sandwich shop and pick through it, while I come up with some little After Effects thing or Cinema 4D thing. And you're learning and you're just messing around. But yeah, you have the cap of the time so what can you do fast? And it makes you come up to the creative process, just in a more interesting way, I guess, where oh, I could do this and this, but oh no, I have a meeting in 42 minutes, but what can I do? So you end up with these quick sketches of an idea, and it might be kind of crappy, but you might go back to that six months later and think, oh, I did that one thing. It's just another way to troll your mind for usable nuggets.
Kyle Hamrick: It's a sketch it's practice. You're doing it for yourself.
Peter Quinn: I feel like you're sort of all you've got, you know. All you've got in this world is your noggin and you have to grab stuff from it. And so I feel like it's an exercise in speed and you're removing the limitations of polish. You say, okay, we're not going to be amazing, but what can you do? And it might just be... at one point I was [inaudible] stupid little octopus. I was like, okay, I could probably rig an octopus, that'd be weird. I mean, my ability to model an octopus was very limited. So it was a ball and pull out some legs. But then it was probably some Greyscalegorilla thing, or somebody had a tutorial about like crude joint making. I actually haven't tried that in years. It's probably easier now. But at the time it was fairly manual to make all these joints in it, like a beast, like an octopus. But, I don't know, you figure it out. And if you don't figure it out before your lunch is over then tough shit. You might've learned something.
Peter Quinn: I always feel like there's, a lot of times you might set out to do one thing, like I'm going to do this particular thing. I learned how to do green screen or whatever, but you fumble around it and maybe you don't get there, but actually you learned all this stuff in the way that you forgot that you don't even realize you learned. And it might even be something as simple as oh, I know where some other plugin is really fast. And I might do something in a second and a half that might've taken me six, 10 seconds. Right, that's super useful. Maybe on the way you clocked where the Colorama plug-in was. And just in the future, you'll just go boom, boom, point. Right, that's useful, but it wasn't the intent.
Kyle Hamrick: You started understanding how Colorama works at least which when you actually need it now you're not exploring it for the first time.
Peter Quinn: Yeah, and oh my God, dot Colorama project plug-in, I grab it all the time. I make Luma Mattes with Colorama a couple of times a week. And it was based off of some random side note and in a video copilot thing. I couldn't tell you what it is, but it was just a little... It might've even been a real early one, like sky replacement, which I think is its first tutorial, but-
Kyle Hamrick: PSA kids learn Colorama.
Peter Quinn: Yes, it's super useful.
Kyle Hamrick: So, I feel like that some of that philosophy leads into... You started releasing a couple of little, you did a conference presentation on getting shit done, being efficient, working quick like that. And I know you put out a preset or two, and I assume some of that kind of led into some of your products that are up on aescripts.
Peter Quinn: Well, yeah. It's like I was saying before, it's the same thing where your boss or your client doesn't give a shit about if they're like, I want those doodads that sort of an iron man helmet. They don't understand that I got to go and make that. I'm like, they should essentially mean something. If he's flying, it should be like an altimeter or like a [inaudible] whatever stuff that happens in planes. But they're like, nah, I don't care Video Guy, just, I want the video end of day please. And you're like, oh shit. So that sort of way that you get requests led me to just like, all right, you want bullshit? I will give you bullshit. So I ended up with this bullshit library of those little things, like I said before, but similar conversation with textures.
Peter Quinn: And that was obviously in its infancy became the grind for PQ Grit Kit. And then along the way, I sort of learned loads more about how to get the best quality out of this camera, just really dialing, even lighting and perfect textures and doing that over and over again. I'm like, so that's kind of what I was talking about. So I ended up learning this photography methodology, but I was really just trying to make an animated texture, right. Or getting into this whole texture world, I'm making a pack of Luma Mattes, which is what PQR parts is which I think is actually my best one, hand painted wipes and doodads. Getting really into thinking about how people will use these and making it easy. I'm delivering it in a way that someone can just drag and drop, but actually to get there is super difficult.
Peter Quinn: So you have to sort of preplan and really think about how person at a computer would want to use these. And weirdly one of the things I got really just good at was playing with frame rates. I don't know, maybe this isn't interesting, but always using hard 24 frames a second for all my stuff, never 23.976 making all my textures either 12 frames a second or six frames a second, cause they're divisible obviously. And just thinking about okay, if this is a super busy texture, maybe this is more of a four frames a second thing. So it's got that sort of like [inaudible] vibe, rather than [inaudible]. My noises represent frame rates incidentally. But I'm just saying you pick all this random stuff up on the way, which means that you're not going to get into problems later on with... Oh, have you ever just like had annoying frame rate problems? You know, or stuff is just, I don't know, your projects for some reason just are ruined or really difficult to overcome these problems just because you didn't set the frame rate right at the start.
Peter Quinn: Anyway, I'm talking about something else. But yeah, so I ended up with a bunch of these plugins that were born of the need to be efficient and just get shit done, like something delivered by the end of the day and figured out somewhere in there that other people find these useful. But at the same time, the way the people hear about these things is you got to make an ad. So coming up with my own unique style of ad, knowing full well that nobody gives a shit about watching your stupid ad. So trying to bring something to it and like I've said before, address it to that person. So they're all sort of insulting myself in a similar way to the Instagram things, I guess.
Kyle Hamrick: Which at least in my experience makes them very shareable, at least within the motion design community, because it's like, Hey, this looks like a cool thing, but also it's well-made and it's clever. And in a way, that's very meta for people who already understand how the thing will work.
Peter Quinn: Another thing is I used to be able, I used to never want to record myself. I think it was maybe a bit conscious of my accent and like my ums and ahs and my terrible phraseology. Now I just don't care, which is another benefit of being 41, you don't care about stuff. But 10 years ago I'd be like, oh, I'm going to sound silly and my voice is weird. So I did it with texts and music and graphics. And I basically did my talking with my motion design, which is very convenient where you can say so you can be kind of funny or witty. But actually I didn't have to use my voice and I can edit myself over and over again, check with other people that, is this funny? Am I being stupid? You know? So it's just another way of avoiding talking on camera.
Kyle Hamrick: I've gathered that you also, for a while there, you avoided showing us the bottom half of your face too on another one of your projects here.
Peter Quinn: Do you know that one that PQ looking thing was like, so I had to move down here. I moved to California, but my wife was stuck up in Vancouver because of the way visa works. It was waiting for my visa, for her to come down. It was a whole thing. But so I started just for her, I would walk around cool parts of California, go to the beach, whatever, and take photos. But then one day I got new glasses. And if you're a glasses wearer, your decision to get glasses is actually kind of a major thing. I picked these glasses to be my face. Like, do you like them? So I ended up like for the first time ever, I got glasses... This'll make sense in a second. But so I took a photo of basically from my glasses up to say, "Hey, look, I got these glasses, but also I'm here, I'm in the apartment." Right, so then a couple of times after that, I just continued that that day. I used to do these little walks and text my wife photos.
Peter Quinn: So anyway, the original idea there was to show my wife my new glasses, and also to come on a little virtual photo walk around the beach or something. But then I just kept doing that. And then next thing you know, it's five years later and I've taken thousands of these stupid photos on my camera roll. And my phone is filled with these photos and I don't know how to go through them all and delete them or... My phone's really full right now, I've got no space on it. But most of the data on my phone is these stupid photos and these other stupid Instagram things. But yeah, I mean, like I said before, I like consistent themes, right? I like the being sematic and so somebody might think, oh, that's interesting, but that's not the point. The one photo isn't the point. The point is, oh no, you have to wait until I put these all together. I meant to do it regularly, but it just took me years.
Kyle Hamrick: Yeah. At what point did you kind of decide that that would be a thing and that you were just going to commit to it?
Peter Quinn: So after I had that conversation, the guys in the BBC, I realized that, oh shit, thousands of people are going to go and look at my Instagram, pretty much right now. And I was like, shit I have nothing. I wish I had a fresh video to upload. Cause all the ones that they're going to see on my Instagram actually were in this montage, the BBC made for the story. But so I was like, oh shit, I need to make something. So I was like, oh right. I'll just pull all those PQ looking things and just upload something. So that way everyone that was going, the day of the BBC article, I just had something and that's, that's actually the only reason why I did it. And I thought, okay, right. I can just put that PQ looking project to bed at night. I have no more room on my phone. And then, okay, I'm doing something different. I'm doing these silly things through little Instagram things. But I just moved on and I'll do it occasionally. But that particular project is taken care of.
Kyle Hamrick: Yeah. I mean you've been doing it for what, five years? You said so-
Peter Quinn: A long time.
Kyle Hamrick: Yeah. I think he can wrap that one.
Peter Quinn: Yeah, I was saying as well that I was hoping that... cause my dad and all my older relatives all have white hair and I started to see the salt and pepper come in and I was hoping that I was going to go white. I was hoping I was going to get white hair and this thing would be an odd way to document that. And I thought it would be really funny to have... your hair goes white, but I could just do like a random boomerang of it. And like brown, white, brown, white, but just didn't work out like that. I just ended up just salt and pepper hair that doesn't look that different. It doesn't look different enough to be interesting. So I was kind of like this isn't happening, the white hair thing, just, I don't know my body-
Kyle Hamrick: Well, you got to just commit to doing this for another 30 years, I guess.
Peter Quinn: My stupid body still is generating like hair pigment. Thanks body. But anyway, that was loosely a part of the project plan.
Kyle Hamrick: I don't think that you've used this term today, but when we were talking pre-show you said sometimes you have stuff on your mind shelf and you've kind of referenced that, but indirectly.
Peter Quinn: So yeah. I mean, it's nice to be inspired and walk around and see something and like, oh, I want to do a thing with... because this building is so interesting in this particular way, I'm going to do something. I mean, that's great to follow that. But sometimes, I mean, I don't know if you're the same, but I feel like I go through periods of my mind wants to work on creative ideas. I might not have any ideas, but I'm sort of exhausting myself by just forcing my mind to the kind of...You're always trying to think of something cool, right? But you don't actually end up with anything to do with it or you might not even have a good idea.
Peter Quinn: So yeah, I don't know what's in there, but I've got a little mind shelf that I put little nuggets on. Like I was saying with a little video of the giant and I knew that I wanted to do something with a giant on two different lenses to help sell the effect, but I didn't know what that was going to be. But paired with the concept of the location, like, okay, I'll go grab that one then maybe this can be something. On your mind shelf, you can keep... I feel like I've got a bunch of little color palettes of random stuff. At some point I want to do something really cool with a super long, condensed font and maybe like a like a script font. I don't know what that is yet, but I'm kind of watching out what that's going to be. Do you know what I mean? You have these sort of, they're not even half-baked ideas. They're just little samples of something that could become something.
Kyle Hamrick: Yeah, for me, it's largely a bunch of post-it notes that sit on my desk for three years and then eventually I'm like, yeah, I'll probably never do that.
Peter Quinn: Even that post-it note thing... so I always loved... I used to work in pizza and I became a super fast pizza chef, because instead of using the cups, I basically learned the size of my grasp. So like that is the amount of pepperoni, that is the amount of cheese and a medium and basically got really fast and making pizzas.
Kyle Hamrick: You finding a way to be efficient, how weird.
Peter Quinn: I was like, so we have this ticketing system. So if it comes in on the left, you move it down when you're working on like, okay, so large pepperoni faced, whatever it is. Yeah. What is this one? [inaudible] Okay, next take it, move it, done. But that, I always think that that's where I learned my dealing with stress, cause it's so stressful. In a busy pizza place on Saturday night, everyone's really angry in the kitchen and you're sweating and it's crazy. It's properly, it's stressful. You've seen Gordon Ramsey things, it was like that. So I'm like, [inaudible] If you make a mistake, literally your server... I can remember a couple of times where he just comes in with this roasting hot pan, throws it across the kitchen and smashes on the wall and you're like, you messed it up again or whatever. You just have to learn not to mess up and be cool and trust your systems and learn the grabbing of the cheese and the pepperoni, whatever that means to you. If you want to translate this to your life.
Kyle Hamrick: I like this metaphor, yeah.
Peter Quinn: I ended up with that exact ticketing system. So it comes in and on the right slide it to the left with post-it notes for my first stressful agency job. And I just kept it. Yeah, I have Asana or Basecamp of whatever it is, but until somebody digitized this, I was like, post-it notes. That's what it is. But it was literally a replica of my Pizza Hut system. But because we got so many tickets, I ended up buying one of those spikes that you get in a restaurant for expired tickets and just for the joy of keeping my tickets. A post-it might just say resize video to four by five and then done it, boom, stick it on the spike.
Peter Quinn: And then eventually you just have this big thick wad of months worth of post-it notes. And as a sort of totem of pride, as it grows up and this thing is, I don't know, 10 inches high and just gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And you're just really proud of it. One day, you just throw it out and you're like, oh, that was that. But there is this just seeing all your hard work represented by skinny little post-its all discoloring and as they get older and different coffee stains on them and everything, but-
Kyle Hamrick: You know, I bet you didn't expect this to be a really great segue, but I feel like it is. So I feel like there's a good metaphor there. Maybe we'll let the listeners kind of work this out for themselves. But we kind of talked earlier about how motion design as a whole is kind of like taking all these years of accumulated skills and throwing them in a blender and sometimes it becomes a thing. And I think for you, obviously you've got all these skills, but you've got this kind of humor and this savviness and this efficiency and this awareness of how social media works and stuff. And sometimes that can lead to some pretty interesting opportunities like this latest video that... I'm on your TikTok page here and I see the most recent video that I know had sort of an interesting story behind it.
Peter Quinn: So now we're getting to Snoop Dogg. So I guess with people looking at your Instagram and your TikTok or whatever it is, I mean here in Los Angeles, I guess it turns out that some people just happen to be a little bit famous, I guess. But yeah, I guess I had a bunch of shares of some of these videos and I feel like one of them was this big TikTok thing World... What is it called?
Kyle Hamrick: WorldStar Hip Hop.
Peter Quinn: Yeah. So they shared it and I guess Snoop Dogg is really an Instagram. He's on Instagram all day and he saw this and sort of followed me or liked me or whatever. But it was such a crazy day that loads of people were following it because this was such a big, it's got like 30 million followers or more. But I didn't even notice that Snoop Dogg followed, but I guess he was just sitting on the sideline, watching my next couple of videos.
Peter Quinn: But then yeah, one day I just got a message from his main helper guy, Kev. And I got a message from him just saying, Snoop likes your videos, wants to chat. I'm like, what, what does that mean? And then I was like, what do you mean? Yeah, he likes to videos. Maybe want to talk about doing some stuff for him. Okay. I don't really believe you. I think I'm getting catfished here. So then I messaged, I DMed Snoop Dogg and said, "Hi, talking to Kev about doing videos. Is that, is this real?" And he didn't reply, but then I went back to Kevin and said, all right, I just DMed Snoop. If you can tell him to reply to that, then I'll know you're for real. And then sure enough, like a minute later it's like [inaudible] He's like, yep, it's okay. Kev works for me. All good. Like, oh shit, this is like a real thing. Cause I've always thought how cool it would be to do like a thing for celebrity. Since kind of [inaudible] I just want to do work for a celebrity, but it's cool. It's Los Angeles and that's cool. I always thought it'd be cool. I always thought it might be like a long form motion video, sort of like somebody's cause, like Jeff Bridges in ocean plastic or something, or Moby in veganism or something like that. I literally have approached both of those guys about those topics.
Kyle Hamrick: Maybe you can again now.
Peter Quinn: Maybe, yeah. You never know. Who knows what's going to be next? Yeah. To fast forward, basically, two weeks later, I'm in Snoop Dogg's Inglewood Compound getting a tour of his casino, and his indoor basketball court, and his 100 vintage super cool cars, and his drive-in movie theater, and games rooms, and he just happens to have this giant green screen studio for whenever he wants to play. I'm like, "Okay. That's cool." I literally thought that he wanted me to make a flick video, or I had this one idea where I was going to have Snoop's hand, similar to my Giant video actually, Snoop's hand at a basketball court because he had a basketball court. I was going to get this hand to grab him, crunch him up in a ball and boing, boing, boing. Throw his ball shaped body into the basketball hoop, then...
Kyle Hamrick: Very Space Jam.
Peter Quinn: Yeah. Something like that. But then, it was going to be his body hits the ground and then becomes his own body again. That was the transition back to the real version of himself and then walk out and then the loop would start again. I thought that's what I was going to make. But on the way out, he was just like, "Hey, would you ever consider directing a music video?" I was like, "What?" I had an awkwardly long pause where I was just like, "Okay." He's like, "Oh, yeah. Sure. [inaudible]."
Peter Quinn: Yeah. A couple of weeks later, I made a pitch deck for this idea I came up with and it was actually the first thing I thought of, like literally hours after I was just walking around and talking to my wife, we're getting coffee. I was like, "I think I'm going to do something with a cut-out head. There's funny stuff on top of them, just like wacky weird stuff." She was like, "Okay. I think that's pretty good. I can see that." "Yeah, I think I can too." I made a couple of GIFs crudely from his head that I got on Google Images. I just put it together. I was like, "Okay. This is going to be pretty cool." Then, I just pitched it to him, sent him the GIFs and he was like, "That'll work".
Peter Quinn: Then, I went in and I shot him on green screen in the studio and had to really plan it out. I was pretty nervous about it like I'm going to direct Snoop Dogg, but within 10 seconds of meeting him, he was super pro. He's the nicest guy. I didn't even have to poke around and push him too much to be Snoop Dogg because he is Snoop Dogg and he did what I wanted. He did what I wanted without me even really wanting to... Without poking and saying, "No. Do more of this." He just did the thing I want right away. It was super easy. Yeah. Just two or three weeks of cramming and getting this music video done in 4k, which is not easy on this laptop I'm working on right now, but it turned out great. I was really happy with that. Snoop Dogg says he loves it, and...
Kyle Hamrick: I saw his comment on your Instagram.
Peter Quinn: I know. Yeah, I pinned it actually like, "Tears, Snoop. What a thing?" I thought that the craziest thing would happen was that I was going to be like this. The fact that it led to talking on live TV on the BBC thing, I did not think literal, Snoop Dogg was going to be sliding into my DMs.
Kyle Hamrick: Then, you made this video by yourself. Right?
Peter Quinn: Yeah. I'm going to make a little BTS thing. I literally just came up with the idea super quick. Sort of did all the planning and the awful storyboards with stick man. Then, I went in there, shot it, got a guy I knew miles that I used to work with in Dollar Shave Club to be DP, so I could just think about this nerve-racking situation. I had like five or six shots that I wanted with a couple of little oddities drawn in there, so I tried to make it really simple because I knew it wasn't going to get in for very long, three hours max, four hours max, maybe. I just got that raw material, super quick and it felt really effortless. Yeah. Then, just took all the footage back home and just try to make sense of it and organize it and do an edit.
Peter Quinn: I feel like just because he's so cool on camera, even before I did any aftereffects stuff, I could cut the whole thing in premiere first as like, "Okay. I'm going to use this one and this one." I'm changing my mind all the time, but ended up with edit that I thought was pretty slick even before when it was just green screen. It just had a really good vibe that I couldn't have predicted, because remember, I was doing all my planning with a still image from Google Images. I knew what it was going to look like, but I couldn't picture what he would bring to it and his Snoop Dogg-ness.
Peter Quinn: It's the coolest project and a stressful thing, because I have to do it so quickly and everybody's talking about it. Everybody's like, "Oh, my God. You're doing Snoop Dogg video. This is crazy." I was like, "Oh, shit. This needs to be good." The opportunity is a story itself like, "Oh, my God. Snoop reads that?" That's a story in itself. Then, I'm like, "Oh, shit. I'm going to do this thing. It has to be good," because I have everyone how Snoop Dogg got in touch. It turned out really good. He had no notes. He was just like, "Love it."
Kyle Hamrick: Perfect client, huh?
Peter Quinn: Yeah. It just worked out really well. I wish all projects could be like that. Maybe something else cool will come out of this too. I don't know what that's going to be. Actually, something else has come out of it. I'm not at liberty to talk about that yet.
Kyle Hamrick: Can't talk about it. Yeah. Of course. Yeah.
Peter Quinn: But something else has popped up that's interesting that might need a couple of months to sit on, but I feel like just doing this stuff and being here in L.A. is a really sweet combo.
Kyle Hamrick: Yeah. The ability for those kinds of collisions, would it have been possible for him to reach out to me to do this? Yeah, but it wouldn't have the same thing. I can't just drop over like you could, so location does still matter sometimes.
Peter Quinn: Yeah. I guess LA has been LA since the '20s, '30s, whatever, and it's a bunch of people in the biz really close together, but I don't know. I never really touched that side of things. Obviously, it's LA. All that stuff's around like shooting. I know lots of people that are working in different projects that are part of film and that industry, but I never really touch it. Through sitting on the sidelines and it's like, "Okay. This isn't film," but it's still a project that would have been tackled historically by a production company and whatever. But no, he just wanted random guy from the internet for this one. I don't know. I guess instead of a production company. Instead of the whole hoo ha that usually happens, it's just a little old me. Definitely weird.
Kyle Hamrick: Yeah. Music videos have gotten to an interesting spot. Maybe it's just from where I'm sitting, but there's a handful of motion designers and filmmakers obviously too that are one person shops or very small thing that seem to be largely who's making music videos for people of all levels of the theme's spectrum.
Peter Quinn: Yeah. I feel like music video's that weird sweet spot in our industry, I guess. It's sort of building things around like a simple visual idea a lot of the times. Sure, you're going to have like a drama or you could have a music video based around characters. Right? I can't even think of an example, but part of the reason I am literally sitting here in this chair is because back in 1985, I was obsessed with Peter Gabriel videos. All those stop frame processing thing with the train going around set.
Kyle Hamrick: Yeah. Another PSA, if you've never seen the video for Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel, pause this, go watch it, and then come back.
Peter Quinn: Go watch it. Literally, that video and I feel like around the same time of... I can't remember where this was. Abandon that sentence. The Peter Gabriel Sledgehammer video and the A-ha: Take On Me video, I was little tiny five-year-old Peter. I was like, "Dad." My dad's an art teacher. I was like, "Dad, dad, dad, dad." "What? What?" He was like, "Oh well, son, what they do is they draw a picture and then they took a frame and then they draw a different picture. Then, they took a frame of that." I'm like... I'm just understanding like, "Oh, right. You draw lots of pictures." We sketch things all day long like we were sons of art teacher. I had a bunch of brothers and just sat and did arty things all day long. My dad would bring home art materials and stuff.
Peter Quinn: Anyway, we see essentially drawings coming to life in the A-ha: Take On Me video. We're lik, "What the hell?" Every time it was on, my dad would call us like, "Peter and Steven." I would run down the stairs and skid on our knees right up the TV and watch this and try to understand what's going on. It's real, but it's a drawing. What is going on? Then, an extension of that being the Peter Gabriel thing where you take a photo, you move the train, you take a photo, you made the train. We have plasticine. We could see all the plasticine effects happening in that video. I love the in cameraness of all that. I love the [inaudible] effects aspect to it. It's just simple and easy to get.
Peter Quinn: Those two videos, half of all the stuff I do comes from that little nugget, that's a seed. It was probably other stuff, but that sort of thing where you can watch it and a little five-year-old boy in Northern Ireland can get it, that means that everyone will get it. That means that it's got heart to it and it's technically the right level. Then, stuff like Jim Hansen and stuff that you can appreciate the proficiency of it all, but you're like, "I understand it." Or when you see like a making of the original Star Wars and they're doing models and all that kind of stuff, I love that tangible, real aspect to what we do.
Peter Quinn: It's still kind of what we do. It's what I was saying before, but my loads of people in this business are doing shiny, beautiful octane things, 3D, astronauts with whatever, with the most beautiful, sophisticated renders. I don't care about it. I like looking at it. It's great, but that's not me. I like the Take On Me video and the Peter Gabriel video. What does the 41-year-old version of me want to make? It's stuff that has a little... It was clever use of in-camera stuff. That's what I like. Sure, I do all the motion design stuff, but that's just the day-to-day. I think there's a charm in limiting yourself to... I do 3D stuff as well. I'm just choosing not to do it. Yeah. There's some sort of charm in just keeping it simple, keeping the idea pure.
Kyle Hamrick: When you're using real textures or real images or video of yourself or whatever, it always helps keep it grounded.
Peter Quinn: Yeah. Yeah. I need to be... Just random stuff to have, I don't know, kind of corny, but like to have a heart to it. I think that the way you technically do that is to use real elements and, stuff like your low frame rates and even putting humanity into things and preferring stop frame over a 3D rotation of a product, I think the people on the other end of the phone or whatever it is are sensitive to that. Now, I'm using this heart word now, but you get it. Right? It has a bit of authentic vibes into it. You might appreciate that, "Oh, this guy cares something about this and cares what you're perceiving from the thing he made." Whereas that's not always the case with ads and whatever. Maybe there's a nugget there.
Kyle Hamrick: Yeah. Stuff can definitely get too slick for its own good and a little bit too much polish takes away from it. Again...
Peter Quinn: All these things coalesce into some sort of neat little thing where you do a bunch of what seemed miscellaneous internet fodder and ends up with this Snoop Dogg shaped point at the end or something.
Kyle Hamrick: Yeah. Years of toiling away on things that you have varying levels of caring about and selling stuff and making cute little videos for yourself or for other people or whatever. Whether something is a client product or a silly little thing that you're doing for yourself, you're always accumulating this knowledge and experience. It might not always be clear where it's headed, but a lot of times, it probably is headed somewhere if you keep an eye out for it and look for those opportunities when they present themselves and actually, do the thing. Don't overthink yourself out of actually acting on these ideas.
Peter Quinn: Yeah. Sometimes I'll just... To that, sometimes I'll just start something. I'm like, "I don't have a plan," but the problem with a lot of things is just to get past the blank canvas. Sometimes I might even go and start shooting and just shoot something, knowing that it's not right. But then, I can look at the footage and be like, "All right. I see what it could be." It's easier to do something and make a mistake and then build your idea of the mistake rather than the blank canvas. If you know what I mean? Sometimes I'll do it. If I don't really get what... For work, I do this all the time. I'll make a video that just has a gap, and it says, like "Cool thing here."
Peter Quinn: Then, there'll be business talk here and then, no go. Right? But now, I know what this is. Now, I know what this is and I have an understanding of the video structure or whatever it is. It's like if someone's doing like a graphic design thing, they'll write a box for the headline and a crude picture of a person or whatever it is. Yeah. I like to ballpark things and go with it. Figure it out later, polish comes later. Yeah. I just like to get past the blank canvas thing.
Kyle Hamrick: Yeah. No. I like that. As we've said, reiterating, done is better than perfect and just do the thing, even if it is just for yourself because you got to start somewhere with those.Especially, I think for a lot of these, you're not going to get a million likes on your first thing you do, but when you made 10 of them, now it becomes a thing. You probably refine them over time too. Do you feel like you have any parting words of wisdom for us? I know that kind of hinted at... I was going to ask you what's next for Peter Quinn, but top secret right now, it sounds like?
Peter Quinn: It's not crazy, basically. I guess I can roughly allude to it. Basically, it actually happened before the Snoop Dogg thing where Netflix reached out about a show they're doing, and this particular producer of this particular show was looking for a way to put in some more internet-yness into it with a bit of craft. He actually started talking to me about a software animation that he had found and he was like, "I want to have this aspect, this layer to [inaudible] cutaways, to chapter marks in between parts in each episode." He was like, "Well, I saw your thing and saw your Instagram things. I feel we could pepper these in and ways to segment in between different things," but let's just say I said yes to that.
Peter Quinn: It's something that is cooking in the background, but honestly, it's a small part of this thing. They're whole big production thing. I don't know how much a big deal of this will be in the show, but even just from stupid Instagram videos to have this, this was one of the first things that happened right after the BBC thing, which I thought was absolutely insane. Having a call with a producer of a Netflix show, that's nuts. I don't think as these things pop up, will use it a lot, like opportunities, I guess. I'll always say yes to them within reason, but it's crazy that it goes to LA again, and coupled with not being able to worry about the technical proficiency. I can do stuff. Even though this is probably going to be like a 4k TV show with crazy color space I don't understand, I can figure it out. I will say yes to this, Mr. Producer, and figure out the technical stuff there.
Peter Quinn: But there's some parting words of wisdom. I think it's part of... It's like, "Yeah. You're always going to be learning your bullshit, whatever it is." You're always going to be getting better at 3D or stop frame animation, whatever the niche within this niche is, but I would say, "Don't worry about it. You can figure it out later." In my case of the Instagram things, it was just a way of starting to make stuff. It's like the old adage of if you're a writer, write. You know what I mean? I'm writing. I'm just making nonsense. Some of it hits and some of it flops. You'll only ever see the thing on Instagram or whatever that I thought was good enough.
Peter Quinn: But I think the encouragement is to just go and make stuff and don't worry too much about... You don't need to get like an Alexa camera or whatever. You got a phone camera and if you don't know the thing and after effects, you've got Google, you've got Andrew Kramer. I might even be able to help you out sometimes if you're stuck, but I think that's the gist. It's really just an encouragement to do stuff because it's always worth it. Even if you don't think the thing you want to achieve is there, you probably want to do all this other stuff that you won't realize you learned it until six months later. There's my parting words of wisdom.
Kyle Hamrick: I like it. I don't know if I ever mentioned this to you and maybe my memory's wrong, but I am pretty sure that at one of the conferences we met at, that you were actually the person that was like, "Hey, you should probably be speaking at some of these too. You should be doing some of these presentations." I was like, "No. No." Of course, I thought about it and eventually said yes. I feel like there was definitely a message of say yes to things, even if it's to yourself, in what you said, but in a roundabout way, us talking today is kind of your fault.
Peter Quinn: I see where you're going with that one. Yeah. Because I think I was probably on that topic because I had just said yes to it as well and was terrified. I knew I was going to be talking to that thing for like a year ahead. I basically spent those 365 nights coming up to it, very poorly sleeping because I was like... You've probably done this too where you practice. In your head, you don't know how you're even going to say hello. Like, "Hello. No. No. That sounds super weird. Hello. Hello." I literally practiced like, "Hey, guys. How's it going? No. No. That's weird." The thing is once it's time to go, it's fine. It's all fine. If it's not fine, it's still fine.
Peter Quinn: If I was watching you mess up in your first talk, I would probably be like, "It's all right. It's all right. Keep going. It's fine." I'm not going to be like, "It's fine." In this case, it's public speaking, but loosely any topic really. Right? If you're more junior in any sort of environment at all, you're obviously going to encourage that person to do the thing, get better at it. Fail. Fail fast, all those bullshit things you see on Instagram quotes, but they [inaudible]. You just got to make some stuff. Then, the next stuff you make might be a bit better hopefully.
Kyle Hamrick: It all fills off each other too.
Peter Quinn: Totally. Totally. Absolutely. There's no waste of time. Actually, that's a lie. There's so much wasted time. There's so much... Like I said, I spent three days rotoscoping a girl's foot to take out the Adidas stripe. There's plenty of wasted time.
Kyle Hamrick: But you know what? The three days rotoscoping, you get thing done and you probably know how to rotoscope a little bit faster now.
Peter Quinn: It's probably true. Yeah. That's probably true.
Kyle Hamrick: Well, I think it's easy to see from this conversation with Peter, how all your accumulated skills and knowledge and experience are probably always building up towards something even if you don't exactly know what that is yet. I've been watching Peter's social media stuff since I met him eight years ago. While I probably wouldn't have predicted where all of this would end up, being able to look back at it now, it feels like I can see a lot of his past work and even just silly personal stuff, like the building blocks for what he's doing now and where he's headed in the future. Remember, there's usually no magic button or magic app, just a lot of hard work and creative ideas. The best time to start on either of those is probably right now.