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Finding Your Voice: Cat Solen, Creator of Adult Swim's "Shivering Truth"

By Adam Korenman

As an artist, how do you find and define your voice? How do you capture your unique style? For Cat Solen, creator of Adult Swim's "Shivering Truth," it's about the journey

At some point, every artist struggles to find their voice—that unique style that makes everything they do specifically theirs. Voice is how you can instantly recognize the work of Stanley Kubrick, Frida Kahlo, or Lilly and Lana Wachowski. We often talk about the structure of animation, or the foundational elements of motion design, but all of that is just the groundwork for your art. To learn more, we sat down creator/director Cat Solen to learn how she found her voice.
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Cat hit the ground running, creating music videos for MTv during her final year at the Art Institute of Chicago. With that momentum, she went on to direct more short-form content, including some truly memorable commercials and music videos with the likes of Sia and Bright Eyes.
Now she's taking all of her experience and channeling it into a new—and awesomely demented—stop-motion-animated series: The Shivering Truth.
With an incredible style, evocative performances, and a one-of-a-kind sense of humor, we were sucked right in. Now grab a can of Pringles and a fizzy drink; we're gonna gab with Cat Solen!

Show Notes

Artists

Pieces

Resources

Transcript

Ryan Summers:
All right, today we're here with Cat working on the shivering truth for Adult Swim and Cat before we get into it. I just want to read the logline for the show because if someone hasn't seen your show, when they hear this, it'll automatically give them some color in their mind. So just this one sentence, each episode is a miniature propulsive omnibus cluster bomb of painfully riotous daymares, all dripping with the orange goo of dream logic. I've never heard of a show like this before. Can you just tell me a little bit about an additional description about what the shivering truth is about?
Cat Solen:
Yeah, I love that description. That's so Vernon to me. Every word you said is Vernon Chatman, and he writes the show. He created the show. And we codirect the show and it's just so... Sorry that sentence is so him to me. Sorry, what was the question again?
Ryan Summers:
Is there anything more that you could describe that show to tell someone like you should watch this.
Cat Solen:
It's an anthology series, in a sense, except like it's like anthology with an anthology within an theology, it's like not just one episode is about one thing. It's one episode is about a very big thing. And then it moves on to another episode about another very big thing where there's other small things within it. That's not clear. It's sort of like a twilight zone-ish type show. Feels like that. But it's like I say sometimes that Twilight Zone is eating its own tail, and it's defecating diamonds. And it's sort of-
Ryan Summers:
That's amazing.
Cat Solen:
And it's very emotional. It's very much about emotional things. Big emotional things and sad thing.
Ryan Summers:
Someone here at the school asked me what the show was about and I said it's kind of like if David Cronenberg made Russian nesting dolls.
Cat Solen:
I love that.
Ryan Summers:
It's just these beautiful little gems wrapped in something that may scare the hell out of you and stick with you for the rest of your life. And then you open it up and then there's just this other little gem but at the same time it's about these really big things. It's unique unto itself.
Cat Solen:
I also would say a credit to Vernon, that it's also still in spite of all of this craziness that we're describing. It's also very funny, just inherently humanly funny.
Ryan Summers:
Yeah, I don't know if I've ever been able to describe something as a comedic body horror television show. You can stop me but it did. That truly is amazing. I also want to tell you this just as a compliment that in these super weird times, these super crazy times, I don't know if there's ever been another show that it's actually soothing to watch at 2AM in the middle of a global pandemic. But this show, somehow I don't know if it's because it's the only thing that I've seen that's more surreal than the day-to-day life right now. But this show is somehow actually, maybe this says something about me as much as about the show, but it's actually really comforting to watch this show.
Cat Solen:
That makes me so happy. One time I was going through a really hard depression, I was around like 22 or 23, a long time ago. And I had lost my grandfather and I was living in Portland and I didn't have a lot of work or money or anything. And the only thing that could get me out of my depression was listening to Pink Moon which is a very depressing set album
Cat Solen:
And I think sometimes when you are really sad, seeing the pain that others are feeling too sometimes helps you understand that you're not alone and that it's okay and that you can get through it. And I think this show does that a little bit.
Ryan Summers:
I would definitely agree. Sometimes the medicine comes in strange forms, but there's just something where it's like, I was watching the first episode in that whole scene and it feels like a Best Buy. And I won't give too many things away, but there's a man with no hands, and his arms look like tentacles, and he's standing in front of a TV that looks like it's out of Poltergeist while someone is getting... He becomes the manager and then 30 seconds later becomes the owner and he's trying to convince him to buy this TV.
Ryan Summers:
And where it goes from there, it's only one small step of like the craziest hopscotch game you've ever played, but I remember after watching I was like, "This is almost like meditating for me."
Cat Solen:
Yeah, I would say I think it's also has to do with the flow of the show and what Vernon has a really awesome power to do when he writes is the stream of consciousness that it propels you along, but it also it carries you because it's still the... I think the greatest surreal things also still make inherent human sense. And it does that and I think that, that's sort of what makes you feel that way, in a way. And that's what where the dream logic comes in.
Ryan Summers:
Yeah there's something wonderful about the show that it's so abstract, but then the animation style is so tactile and real, that those two things combined, it's just another thing that makes this show, like ridiculously unique. Like you've seen stop motion before. You may have seen some surreal things in 2D animation that are very liquidy. But there's something about those two things combined, along with that pace that you talked about that again, like it's just it's not unrelenting when you watch an episode, but it moves so fast that when you get to the end of an episode, and you look back where you started, you can't believe that was all in... What's the length of a normal episode? It runs by so quick.
Cat Solen:
Yeah, 11 minutes.
Ryan Summers:
You cover a lot of ground in 11 minutes.
Cat Solen:
I would say that Vernon is uniquely really incredible at writing an 11-minute episode of television. Actually, when I was in school in Chicago, one of the first things that I ever did there, my like first or second year of animation was my teacher at the time. Her name is Laura Height. She's a filmmaker and artist in her own right. She's amazing. We're still friends. She had all our whole class make a one-minute film. And the main challenge was not make a one-minute stop motion film like that sounds like the easiest version of the stop motion, it was one minute, it's not that long. But it was no, you have to tell a narrative story in one minute. I think that, that's like similar to the challenge of an 11 minute episode of television, that you have to have it make sense in 11 minutes to a lot of people.
Ryan Summers:
Yeah, it's a harder challenge than it looks like-
Cat Solen:
And not feel short, not feel like, yeah.
Ryan Summers:
Or even the opposite that it's just trying to fill air because it's in that weird separation between like, if you're making your own short, it's probably going to be three, four or five minutes maybe just on your own. But if you're making a full TV episode, that 11, 12 minutes is a tricky time to find. Find a way to tell a story that fits into it but then also one that just moves move so it's weird to call a show like this graceful but it does move really gracefully. It's a big plethora of a show. You mentioned going to school and you went to the School of The Art Institute of, in Chicago, correct?
Cat Solen:
Yeah. I was there for almost five years, like four and a half five years-ish. It was a huge influence on me. It I had grown up in Arizona and Tucson and I had, had a great high school experience with art but it was Arizona, super conservative. And my family, they're really cool people, they're really funny people, but they're not art people. But they were really supportive of me being that way. Like as in they were very encouraging, but they didn't know what to do with me.
Cat Solen:
And Chicago... I had really also wanted to go to Cal Arts when I was younger. But when I visited Chicago or when I met really was when I met people from Chicago. That's when I was like, "I could go to Cal Arts and get my more of the West Coast experience of Arizona and probably really get really super technically proficient. But if I go to Chicago, I'm going to learn how to think in a new way." And also I just loved mies van der rohe and Louis Sullivan and the architects in Chicago and the city and I was like, "I got to just go to Chicago."
Ryan Summers:
I agree with you so much that there's a weird club when you finally make it to LA in animation, or even in filmmaking that you somehow find the gravitational pull of other people from Chicago or went to school in Chicago. There's just something about like, the mixture of like the architecture and the music. And there's still a certain amount of struggle that exists in Chicago, just in the city itself and as an artist, I think that combined with and your experience specifically at SAIC, I can totally see the career arc that you've had because there's something about, I could be wrong, I didn't go there. But I have a lot of friends that did and there's something about the balance of, even the teacher you mentioned that you didn't say that she was an animator, you said she was a filmmaker and an artist.
Ryan Summers:
And that is something that's so unique, and I think really rare when we start talking about people coming up through the animation industry now in the traditional kind of top tier schools, the Cal Arts, the SCAD. They're teaching you animation. They're not teaching you filmmaking or a way to think or develop envision. You directed so many commercials and music videos and now you're directing, producing a show for Adult Swim. Can you just talk a little bit more about how something like SAIC how they prepared you for the position you're in? Because that's a huge journey you've already gone on to be at this point now. Is there anything that from their time there that you can remember that you still kind of call on now?
Cat Solen:
Yeah, all the time. There's so much stuff. It's crazy. Because also, my first music video was on MTV when I was still in school there. I was like, 21 maybe. I think it was 21 around there. When it was airing. So it was crazy to be the kid in the elevator and other kids be like, "She entered a music video." And, "I can hear you over here," we were encouraged to go big and just and really also think... I've always said that they taught me how to think in that and they also gave me a historical education like they taught me about art history and taught me to keep looking at art all the time and looking for new art and new music and new films and not get too stuck in your older ways even though it's hard not to carry your influences with you all the time.
Cat Solen:
They really taught me to always be rethinking who I am as a maker of things and it's funny, it's still hard to say like artists, it's still hard to say filmmaker, it's still hard to say those things sometimes because I think societally we've been told like you're only this once you make a certain amount of money doing this thing, capitalism. I don't want to repeat myself but I do have a thing I kind of say about the school all the time, which is that they gave me the tools to make whatever I wanted, but they didn't tell me how to make what I wanted. What they did do was we would have lots of critiques and lots of constructive moments of talking about theory and themes in our work.
Cat Solen:
And then they just let us go make our stuff, they just let us go do it. And we would kind of get to learn... We get to find it our own way and there were of course, they taught like when I was going there, it was when the very first version of premiere had just come out and they had their very first computer lab full of computers that you could edit on if you wanted. And that lab was full of people. Because everybody wanted to learn the new thing. And my teachers also were like, "Oh my god Cat you're so lucky. You get to learn how to make films on a computer and you can make them for almost free and it's so much cheaper and so much faster. And you're so lucky." Because to the teachers they were like, "We've been struggling for years with this old equipment in SAIC."
Cat Solen:
And I looked into that computer room and I was like, "Okay, I could sign up on this sheet and wait for a day and sit down and figure out this computer program or the Steenbeck room is empty. And I can go edit my film right now on a Steenbeck. And so that's what I would do. And it's the same with the digital cameras, they were always checked out. And I was, "Or I can check out a Bolex and learn that." And I was like, "I'm going to learn the thing I've always wanted to learn my whole life. I wanted to learn filmmaking, I'm going to learn how to do it but I want to learn how to literally make films and then someday I'll learn how to do the computer version of it." And I did eventually.
Ryan Summers:
That's so amazing to hear because I would never have guessed this, but I almost feel like watching like research and looking at your work, that there's a through line from that specific decision. Not to say that everything looks like it's analog and that it feels like it's filmed, but there is a certain kind of just... You choose what your taste is, at a certain point. Like you make a decision that you're going to go one way or another way and there's something about hearing that decision. I have to tell you too as soon as you said Bolex I don't know if you know this or not, but Chicago still has the largest percentage of Bolex's in the world.
Cat Solen:
Really.
Ryan Summers:
Between SAIC and I believe Columbia College. They have them locked up somewhere and you can still get your hands on them. But I know because I was working on a set somewhere and somebody was like, "Man, I got to get my hands on a Bolex as a prop for a show." I was like, "I know who to call." I know I can call the cage at Columbia College on the fourth floor of that film building. And I can send us one tomorrow. It's so cool to hear that because I do think that there is an aesthetic to that. The other thing that really resonates with me that you said is I feel this way. And I feel like a lot of our students especially because they're not going to a brick and mortar school, they're going to do an online school and you use all the tools you can to kind of create that community or happy accidents.
Ryan Summers:
But I feel this way and I feel like a lot of them... Being able to call yourself a capital A artist is something that takes like a decade to earn for yourself a lot of times because of like you said the societal pressures and the kind of just the indications that if you're not on a machine making art that you can sell as a commercial or a film, then you're not really an artist, and it's so interesting to hear you learning kind of the opposite direction. I wanted to ask you something, I love asking people about their kind of inspirations, you even mentioned, carrying your references with you and the dangers of that.
Ryan Summers:
But you are the only person that I've ever researched before an interview that had a specific movie that I want to ask you about. And I've never met anybody else who actually knows about this movie. I've read some of the interview that you love, the wizard of speed and time. I know for sure. I still have a blank DVD that somebody handed to me with it on and when I was a kid. I'm sure I saw it on like VHS but I never can do it justice, but I've been dying [inaudible 00:16:37]. Can you describe this movie for our audience? I feel like you do better justice than [crosstalk 00:16:42].
Cat Solen:
Yeah it's so funny.
Ryan Summers:
How would you describe this movie?
Cat Solen:
Okay, so the way I describe it is it's a very, it's simultaneously a film about filmmaking and a slapstick 80s comedy. And it's a film about filmmaking that is about the film that you're watching, it's about making the film that you're watching. When I was a kid... So it was in the section of... There was the section, the W section of the rental store that was, it had wizards, it had warriors. It had the wizard. And there were other good movies in the W section. And I saw it as a child. I was maybe, I don't know, eight or nine. And I remember the video store, I remember exactly where it was. And I would rent it every weekend and I watched it and I was like, "This is telling me how to make movies."
Cat Solen:
And I didn't realize for a long time like that it's a very sardonic and dark and kind of negative take on the filmmaking industry and on Hollywood. But as a kid, I was like, "This is Hollywood. This is amazing. I'm going to learn how to make movies from this." And it shows you, a lot of it is done with pixelation. It's like visual effects that are done practically with pixelation or down shooters or matte paintings. And you see him doing them and then you see the shot right after and I was already obsessed with trying to figure out how things were made because when I was really a little bit younger than that my parents always would hand me a pen or pencil and a piece of paper, like just anytime we were sitting down anywhere that I need to sit still.
Cat Solen:
And I would sit and draw and I love drawing and then I would also like watch old movies a lot as a kid like musicals and things and TV shows and of course animated shows. My mom one day, said to me because she knew I was so obsessed with movies, she was like, "Catherine..." I was Catherine back then, "Catherine, these are made with drawings. It's just a bunch of drawings put together." And I was like, "I could do that, I could make that." And I said this a lot in interviews, but it was like, it opened up the world for me to figuring out how things were made and how things were done. And my grandfather was an engineer. And I just got really obsessed with mechanics of the world.
Cat Solen:
And so seeing The Wizard of Speed and Time I was like, "This guy is like me, this guy he wants to know how to make things and he is obsessed with things that are..." I got to talk to... Many years ago Mike Gitlow was selling his animation stand. I was living in Chicago, and he had a website. He probably still has this website, but it was like one of those GeoCities websites with the starscape background and I was just looking for, I wanted my own down shooter
Cat Solen:
This was after I made my first music video for Brighteyes and I just wanted my own stand in my house. And I looked, I found him and I was like, "Oh my god he's selling his stand." My hero is selling his stand and it had his home phone number. And I called him and we talked on the phone for like an hour. And he gave me all this advice and he told me all these amazing things about making the film, he just was, one of those older guys who's just as ready to talk and knows that I'm like a fan. He was so kind to me and cool.
Cat Solen:
One of the things he told me that is good for everybody who works in animation, and especially right now when we're stuck inside our houses is to every chance you get go outside and look at the thing that is furthest away and try to focus your eyes on it. And then bring it back to you with focus, depth as you focus back to yourself, do eye exercises essentially, outside.
Ryan Summers:
It's brilliant.
Cat Solen:
I still remember that but at the end of the call I was like, "So can I have your animation stand?" He's like, "No, it's going to go in this Smithsonian or something. I'm not selling it to you." I was like, "Okay."
Ryan Summers:
That literally sounds like the best animation podcast that never had. It's unbelievable. If we could go back in time-
Cat Solen:
Oh my God, I wish.
Ryan Summers:
Go back in time with the time machine and record that and bring it back. The movie's so amazing. It's so many different things. It's like a rite of passage. Like if you ever came from somewhere other than LA and you're making an animation. I remember driving through Griffith Park and be like, "Oh my God, that's where they filmed that [crosstalk 00:21:49]."
Cat Solen:
The tunnel.
Ryan Summers:
That was my reference for so much of like Hollywood and filmmaking in LA but I also think it's a great example of, you can do this with music, right? You can write a song that sounds happy and upbeat. And then the fourth time you listen to the lyrics, you realize that it's something super dark.
Cat Solen:
Yes.
Ryan Summers:
And that's a trick really hard to pull in film. And I feel like that movie is just like one of the best examples in animation or filmmaking of being able to have that like earnest 80s heart. But then just under the surface, there's this just sadness and almost like someone's, when you watch it the second time as an adult, you're like, "This person's been through something but they still are holding on to that kind of innocence." It's such a great... I wish more people knew about it. But we could do a whole nother podcast just about this movie but I wanted to ask you about-
Cat Solen:
I have a VHS copy of it somewhere I think. I took the picture with-
Ryan Summers:
Someone has to get it up online somewhere, I think he even owns the right to like somehow revert it back to him.
Cat Solen:
Good.
Ryan Summers:
I wanted to ask you a couple things before we actually talk about Shivering Truth. You did these amazing, I would just love to hear how these happened. These amazing promos that I wish there was an alternate timeline where your version of Underworld Awakening was the actual movie. The promos that... I'm assuming they were for Adult Swim, and they were some type of collaboration with the filmmakers, but you have a whole series, like the one you did for Pain and Gain. I had to watch it twice because I was laughing so much. Can you just talk a little bit about what the process was for getting called up to do those or how did they come into life? They're amazing.
Cat Solen:
I can't remember exactly how it happened. But I was working with the people at Adult Swim who do on air advertising, they are awesome. They're awesome. They're the people kind of responsible for everything interstitially that you see at Adult Swim and they're the brand of the show and the brand of the network, and they are the network, they're so cool. And they had seen my work and knew just what I did, and they would write scripts then they would send it to me they'd be like, this is what we're going to make and I'll be like okay. And we got really for a little while there all of us got really obsessed with trying to essentially like remake the trailers as like perfect as we could with minimal means and puppets and so we made for a bunch of weird movies that like people don't even remember in a way we got to make these really detailed trailers and it was really fun for me and my team to figure out like how to do it but miniature. How to do exactly what they did, but a miniature version of it and how to light it the same and how to do all the costuming.
Cat Solen:
One of my favorites was the one for Assassins Creed the video game. That one was so fun because we didn't have anything to work from because the company that was releasing Assassins Creed had to be really tight with everything because of the fan base, and we had to kind of find like we had to dive deep into the internet to find like anything we possibly could about the games in order to make a spot that made sense for the game. And it was so fun and I got to do some really cinematic stuff because there wasn't a trailer. So I got to kind of play with like, longer shots and holding on things and I just love that one so much and the way that we did the costume was we found like a fan online who had already made like their own version of the costume super detailed.
Cat Solen:
And who knows how he got figured out. Maybe he had worked on the game or something because there was like, I don't know how he figured out what the costume was. But we built the costume based on that and I'm just, that one I'm so proud of and it was so fun to do those for a long time, those spots and we would probably do like one a month of a different movie and glad you like them.
Ryan Summers:
That was amazing. They're great and I think that there's like a really distinct through line from those two to something like shivering truth.
Cat Solen:
Majorly.
Ryan Summers:
The sensitivity to I would say besides like stop motion being tactile and I would almost call the show being beautifully gross like those two things are like huge calling cards for the show. The other thing that I think that stands out to me a lot is how incredible the acting is in Shivering Truth like the actual physical like the amount of poses and the subtlety and then the snapping into some weird kind of action but just those moments of two, every animate, the bane of every animated show, just two characters radio play talking to each other.
Ryan Summers:
You find all these, even that scene that I mentioned before in the kind of like the Best Buy TV. There's a moment where the guy trying to sell the TV just sticks his two fingers into the main character's mouth and just calmly pulls them back. How do you find these acting moments? And I believe you're working with How Special on this season?
Cat Solen:
Yeah.
Ryan Summers:
How does that work as a director? Like, is that really tightly storyboarded? And you're calling for that or is there some interaction with how special with you know what we could do? We could even amp it up more, what's that like back in the show?
Cat Solen:
I would say that 80 to 85 maybe almost 90% of it is in Vernon's head and is something we put in the animatics. The animatics are really, really tight and really locked, or they come out of, they either come directly from the script directly from Vernon's head. Well, we talk through the script when... He and I have our initial kind of breakdown of the scripts and I thumbnail out the show. When we do that a lot of those jokes come out of those moments, that moment, but it's him just looking at the world and talking through the episode and being like... And then I think at this moment, this should happen. And he is so good at that like knowing exactly what he wants within a comedic moment.
Cat Solen:
And also knowing how to add to a comedic moment and add to a beat, like add a beat on a beat. I really admire it and I hope I'm learning from it. I hope I'm taking some of it with me in my own work and my own... This is my own work but also work I do without Vernon. But I feel like a lot... So there's that, that definitely is a big thing. And it's usually in the animatic but also because it's in the animatic filling in the in between moments when there aren't things that are very especially clear, it helps that the animatics are so detailed and so locked, because then we're able to more clearly know what to do in the in between to keep the performance consistent.
Cat Solen:
And also, a lot of times if I'm stuck, I'll call Vernon, and be like, "What do you think of this? What if we do this." And we'll have a little brainstorming session right then where we figure out what it is. But also, I think between the first season and the second season, I've learned... I'm not a traditional animation director, obviously, I wish I was. They're insanely good animation directors like I'm more of a holistic overall director and a good animation directors are so good at those moments and those things and those little bits, and making sure that there's consistency in the performance and helping the animator maintain that. That was a big goal of mine this season is to make sure I got better at that, between this season and last season and being there for my animators and explaining the character and making sure they have a clear understanding of the character.
Cat Solen:
So that then if they do have to come up with their own gestures and moments that they do it in a way that is right for that character and right for that moment, and that they clearly with the show like this, you have to understand what's going on in order for it to work and to understand what's going on is sometimes very difficult. So I worked really hard this season to make sure that they had a very clear context for the big picture of the scene, of the episode, of the character and I hope that comes across. But I also, those little moments, those little gestures and things, a lot of it comes from the original, the original text, I love that part of it.
Ryan Summers:
That's amazing. I think it really does show and just to stress to people if you do watch this just thinking about what you said like having to keep an animator on point and consistent just on a regular show, on a regular show as a stop motion animator that's so much of what a director does. But like you said, when you're talking about trying to tell someone how you're going to go from a shot of two people talking in front of a TV to diving into the TV, to then a scene later having a guy full of, a fully living biorganism city growing on his face to then zooming into that like how you keep that consistency across a team of animators and make sure that the character always feels like the character and they're staying true to it.
Ryan Summers:
So much of it relies heavily on your shoulders, and it definitely 100% it definitely shows that it shows don't feel slapstick either, they don't feel all over the place totally. The characters feel like a person not just like a bunch of plastic and wire, it definitely shows a lot to that, the skill you're talking about.
Cat Solen:
Thank you, that was definitely something that we wanted to. Well, that was definitely something that we've gotten better at. And something that was very specific for the show with the characters. We didn't want... They could so easily get wacky. And we really don't want them to be wacky. So yeah.
Ryan Summers:
Another thing I have to give you a compliment on is that you mentioned timing and beats. Even in the trailer, which sometimes it's hard to maintain that in a trailer and sometimes you don't even have that control for your marketing, but the final shot and at least in the trailer I watched. I can only describe it as like a Rube Goldberg death machine. And the timing between the line read and when things happen. There's a character standing on a ladder and all I can say is like it goes from nails to hammer to bowling ball to chandelier of pain, I guess is the [crosstalk 00:32:47].
Ryan Summers:
But the timing on that is so like exquisite, we talked to our students all the time about like posing, timing, spacing and it's not just making something look beautiful but making it work with the shot before or the shot after and just even in that trailer alone, you can tell that there are people that have a sensitivity to animation from their own shot.
Cat Solen:
That is one of my favorite shots in the whole series and it's one of my favorite shots because all of those things come together in it in a way it's so poetic, the words that you're hearing are poetic. The guy who is the character, that character once you get to know him is beautiful to me and sad and very funny, but he's a very broken guy and I like him a lot. And then just those things are amazing, but then on top of that, the animator that we had to do that shot was is very keen and has very good comic timing. All of our animators do but this guy was the right animator for this specific shot, and then also the guy that boarded it, Noah, so Joe animated it, Heinen and then Noah Pfarr boarded it.
Cat Solen:
And Noah also was right for that scene and he had the right... So I feel like all the pieces came together perfectly for that shot. And I'm so glad because it was hard. Very, very hard to do, very hard for our department and my art director Josh. But like it just all kind of... And the rigging, I don't know all of it was right. And I'm so glad it came out. I'm so glad it's clear it could have easily been a mess, like a jumble. And the fact that it's very clear what's happening is amazing to me. I'm really proud of that. Thank you for pointing it out.
Ryan Summers:
It's a great shot. It's perfect shot to end a trailer with and even it's just such a great example that sometimes doing nothing for a beat or two is more powerful than doing everything all at once. And it's a great note for animators because there's just these like beautiful little pauses in between the things that happened that just let you read it but then you feel the pain even more whenever the instance of, it happens.
Cat Solen:
And also on this production sorry, really quick. This production we take, we use those pauses in order to, because those guys otherwise we would not be able to make the show like it's we really we milk any moment we get.
Ryan Summers:
Kudos to you and the team because that really, that's something on our side that we're always trying to teach and even learn from people if you had unlimited time, unlimited resources, you could do anything but how to find the way to when you start a show, be able to take advantage of some of those things. And it works because from the beginning, from the way it was created to the way it's boarded to the way it's written and animated, it allows you to take those pauses and it doesn't feel like a cheat. It feels like an enhancement, which is great and a lot of shows can't figure that out.
Ryan Summers:
So Cat I just want to say thank you so much for all the time, the insights. I feel like we could talk in another 30 minutes just more about Wizard of Speed and Time. But I want to leave our listeners with this one question for you because I feel like you have a unique experience. And you have a really unique career arc and you truly do feel like an artist, artist when we sit down and talk and that isn't always the case. I'd love to ask you that there's so many avenues now for young artists to kind of make their own stuff and actually have it be seen.
Ryan Summers:
It's a little trite to ask this but what kind of advice would you have for ours knowing that there are animators and there are designers and there's people that want to be directors. What advice could you give them if they want to make their own content, balancing with their day-to-day lives or their work? Because I feel like you have a unique perspective on that.
Cat Solen:
Yeah, so the way that I kind of got started was I did a music video for a friend, my friend happened to get famous, but he was not super famous when I started the video. I think you got to work with the people that are close by you and collaborate with your friends that you believe in, and hope for the best in that regard at least. And then the other thing I would say is to... I've noticed in everything, in every career, that the people that are at the top, if they're not monsters are, are the people that have just never given up and have just kept working and kept making things even when the moment isn't right for what they want to be doing. They do what they can within that moment. That's been my approach.
Cat Solen:
It's taken me a really long time. I am still getting where I want to be, I do a lot of live action stuff too. And I still I want to do more live action stuff and so there's also that, there's that whenever you reach any echelon of success, like there's always something else you're going to want. So don't put too much weight on reaching certain goals like just keep working because you love working and love making stuff. I guess I would say getting your stuff out there. I mean keep doing it and keep showing it to people.
Cat Solen:
And I always submitted to every independent film festival I could but when I was younger and I tried really hard to make friends with musicians who had audiences that I could work with and I guess... And being involved in a community of other artists who are making things and trying to like curate shows and film programs where we show all of our work together. That was really important. I really but also I wish it could have been faster for me. I wish I had a secret and my only secret is just don't give up on it.
Ryan Summers:
Just keep working.
Cat Solen:
Just keep working.
Ryan Summers:
I recently had somebody say... I think it's exactly what you're saying, the more people I talk to the more it resonates with me so then schools do the disservice to a lot of times because they teach you that it's a career, but what they really should be teaching you is that it's a calling. And if you think of it that way, as a calling, there's never really an end goal. There's just more or the next thing or how to refine and I feel like that's what I'm hearing from you is just like, even if there wasn't an outlet for you to be making a career with this I feel like you'd still be making videos with friends for music videos or you'd be trying to find shows to be working alongside collaborators with, still looking for, it's like an inch that still has to be scratched.
Cat Solen:
Yeah, you got to do it because you love it more than anything else and you have to do it because it's your number one dream to do because it literally is an every day job. It's not like magic job. It's a job that you have to do every day it's as... There's some moments that are insanely mundane and hard because you're not getting to be creative but that leads to the moments when you get to be creative and get to make stuff and it's all part of it and so I would say that it kind of, you have to love doing it more than you love the glory you get from doing it.