Fred and Eric Interview
Fred and Eric are a design and animation company that put a lot of creativity, character and charm into their work. They have a distinctive handmade feel but enjoy pushing the boundaries of where they can take a piece of work. We had the chance to talk to the London based studio to ask them about their inspiration, animation and work process.
Who forms Fred & Eric? And why the name?
Sarah Killeen (Managing Director), Jamie Pigram (Head of Production) and Maggie Rogers (Creative Director) are Fred & Eric (obviously!) And as for Fred & Eric’s name, that is a closely kept trade secret…
What made you decide to start your own company 4 years ago?
After working together for a number of years, we naturally gravitated towards each other in terms of the style of work we wanted to produce, and how we liked to work. We wanted to have control over our creative direction, and all agreed placing emphasis on traditional craft methods and animation techniques was something we wanted to concentrate on. Despite setting up Fred & Eric in the middle of a recession, our crafty niche and flexible business model has proven to work well for us.
How do you define your house style?
Fred & Eric’s house style is known for being eclectic, handmade, fun and full of character. As the company has grown, our style has adapted to trends and new styles. However, even when experimenting with new mediums and animation techniques we have firmly focused on injecting character, humour and tactility into all of our work to retain our colourful house style.
How is work divided between you? Do you often collaborate with other designers or artists?
Sarah and Jamie are the production power-house behind Fred & Eric. They run a tight ship co-ordinating all of our projects, timelimes and collaborators. Maggie oversees all creative. She takes the reigns on some projects, designing and directing, and for others she works closely alongside our collaborators.
We love collaborating with designers, illustrators, model-makers, animators etc. Over the years we’ve built up a strong network of people we regularly work with. Collaborating on projects allows us to adapt our style to suit briefs that come in, meaning our creative resources are as varied as the ideas we can think up!
Explain your typical work process from brief to delivery.
Our work will usually begin with a written treatment and style frames to get the clients excited about our creative proposal. Once the route is agreed, we work up a detailed storyboard so our clients know exactly what to expect before we begin animation. Next comes the animation stage which includes several stages of WIP where the client can continue to feed back on our creative process. All-important sound design is our last port of call. We always push to add this as we know how integral good sound design is to the final piece of work.
Do you ever pitch for work or does it come to you?
It’s probably 50/50. A lot of work comes from our regular clients who know our style, working process and trust us to come up with fun and creative ideas. However, we are also well used to pitching and enjoy the challenge this poses.
You work is very creative and crafty. How important is this for you when receiving a brief?
Having developed this niche as our house style, we will always look to push even the “straightest” brief to incorporate some of our creative flair! We wouldn’t feel happy presenting work which didn’t allow us to stamp our F&E mark on it. Fortunately because we have such a strong style, we tend to get the more creative and crafty briefs, which we are very happy about!
Where do you pick up inspiration for your work?
Anywhere and everywhere! Starting with creative publications and websites like Creative Review, Motionographer and Vimeo. In contrast this Rawsome Vegan Life, The Sartorialist and Instagram can regularly be seen in our internet browsers.
Our collaborators provide constant inspiration, keeping up to date with their new work and news. Plus simply walking around with your eyes open and ears tuned in to the world there is endless inspiration around us. We are always sending each other random links, photographs and blogs (quite a lot are food based…) which get our creative brains ticking overtime!
Who do you admire in the animation world?
We absolutely LOVE the work of Buck: http://www.buck.tv/
Zim and Zou for their inspirational papercraft: http://www.zimandzou.fr/
And Golden Wolf: http://goldenwolf.tv/
What trends do they see emerging in motion graphics and animation?
Last year we were producing a lot of flat, vector based animation. However, this year we’re really happy to see an increase in demand for our more transitional stop-frame and paper-craft work. The trends we hope to push are combining real handmade models with traditional cell animation, After Effects and 3D. Basically an animation collage of techniques all brought together into one fluid and tidy creative!
What has been your favourite job to work on and why?
Funnily enough it wasn’t an animated project – it was a live action shoot for Channel 4. We chose live action over stop-frame because the project had an incredibly tight turn-around. We used all of our production time creating a cast of handmade models which illustrated the voice-over. Then shot them in a high-pressured live action shoot (it only took us 38 takes!) It was great working in this way, creating something so immediate and embracing all of the little quirks and imperfections that just happen from working in this way.
We also loved working on two commercials for Bear Nibbles. This is a good example of how we combined papercraft, 2D and 3D animation to create a mixed media animation with a tactile feel. Grrrrrrrr!
Channel 4Seven Competition
What would be your dream brief?
We just love being given creative freedom, so anything that allows us to explore new animation techniques or roll up our sleeves and raid our craft supplies. This combined with a client who has creative vision and trust in us all make for a dream job!
Working on anything fun at the moment?
We have just completed a lovely handmade animation for Tesco Clubcard featuring beautifully crafted paper models (it will be on our website soon). We’re also in production on our latest commercial for car sharing network BlaBlaCar which stars two loveable plasticine style blobs and follows their quest to find cheap and affordable travel! We have a lot of fun creating and giving these two guys their own little personalities.
What do you guys do to relax after a busy period?
Sarah likes to cook, with a G&T in hand whilst listening to a bit of Radio 4... oh and she's a rather bendy yogi too. Maggie loves a new restaurant, a pub quiz or a fish & chip night in! Jamie likes to sweat it all out at her local CrossFit gym... or head off for a less sweaty encounter at the cinema.
What are 3 essential things you need to have in your studio?
Jamie, Sarah and Maggie!!
What does your office look like?
We like to think of it as a home from home. It’s a comfy place to work and shelves are adorned with our hand-crafted creations. If you open any of our cupboards you’ll find a huge collection of craft materials, lovingly collected (hoarded) by Maggie in anticipation of any brief a client can throw at us!
Sign up to Fred and Erics newsletter: http://fredanderic.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=10070365e671d27ad0d3f...
We would like to thank the team at Fred and Eric for answering our questions and for giving us an interesting insight into their work and processes. We look forward to seeing more of their work in the future!
Posted: Thu 30th Apr 2015
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Vimeo RSS Feed
Welcome to Motional
Sharing good design, beautiful film and inspiring animation. Developed by the creative team at First Image.
If you would like to contribute an outstanding piece of work please send us a link here.
Contact us at here regarding articles, interviews or any other enquiries.