Monday, 10 September 2012

Introducing...Chris Randall!

Picasso Pictures: What's your full name?
Chris Randall: Christopher Randall

P: Where in the world were you born /grew up /currently live?
CR: I was born in Birmingham and grew up in Birmingham and currently live in Birmingham.

P: How did you get into Animation? When did you know it was for you?
CR: I saw Koyaanisqatsi at Uni and subsequently started experimenting with old 16mm Bolex cameras doing object animation and time-lapse but never took it seriously as I wanted to be a Director of Photography. A few years later at Central TV, I animated a skit of myself as a puppet complaining about having no time to cut a showreel for a forthcoming appraisal, which I then showed at the appraisal. The Head of Promotions saw it and used it to pitch for a large ad campaign, which we won. 3 years later and 3 Promax World Gold Awards later, I realised I might be on to something.

P: How would you describe your style? How did it develop?
CR: I have no idea how my style developed. It just happened. I tend to be a bit of a chameleon in what materials I use and how I do things or tell stories. I’ve always been a fan of old wooden things and love carvings and carpentry, I guess if there’s one cohesive element, a lot of my stuff has a kind of woody, vignetted look like everything’s been covered in creosote and then sandblasted. But I love experimenting and animating with different materials and techniques whether the images are captured in-camera or computer.

P: Who/What has been your biggest influence in your career?
CR: My Dad, because I usually wear the same expression of consternation/concentration when I’m working as he did/does. My first ever boss - Peter Tyler, an ingenious visual effects cameraman under whose tutelage I learned how to light and think laterally.

P: Is there one specific project that you feel best sums up your style?
CR: I’d say the Pilsner Urquell Legends thing, not just because of the desaturated sepia look to it, but the trickery of the whole ink concept within it. I was really proud of that bit of writing. It’s nice to weave a bit of slightly twisted logic into things so that a small part of your audience’s mind is questioning how on earth something was done. That’s the beauty of shooting stuff in camera.

P: Where do you see the future leading you career wise?
CR: I love the ideas part of development and being able to write treatments on ideas, so maybe more of that in future perhaps. One day I’d like to sculpt I think, long after caring what a time-remapped keyframe is or does.

P: What inspires you?

CR: Inside the studio: telling a half-decent story and making the visuals as rich as possible. Outside the studio; well Scuba Diving is the closest I’ll ever get to a zen experience, at around 55 minutes a time. I don’t necessarily have to see anything, the experience of being suspended underwater is enough for me. Night diving in particular is particularly good, that’s when all the weird stuff comes out. Flying kites (big ones!) on big desolate beaches and going as fast as humanly possible. Cycling for very, very long periods of time is good for ideas. There’s also museums and art galleries. Thunderstorms in other countries. Things in skips. Making furniture from things in skips.

P: Whats Birmingham like to work? Is it inspirational place to work? Tell us some good points!
CR: Birmingham’s great. I’m sure it will be even nicer when they finish building it. Joking aside, Birmingham is a city of makers. It always has been and long may it stay that way. I’m lucky in that I can delve into a mine of really good, talented, down-to-earth people to work with. I don’t think I could have set up my studio in any other place with such a hard-working and amenable support network. That’s the best positive there is. That, and convenient motorway links. And a lot of canals. And a lot of skips.