We sent our Senior Producer Melissa Venet to Berlin to explore Pictoplasma and report back...
PP: What is Pictoplasma for those who don't know?
MV: Pictoplasma is all about Character design and innovation. They hold conferences in New York and Berlin. It's where some of the best character designers and animators get together to show their work and talk about their creative process. Picasso has had our directors and artists involved over the years, showcasing their designs and presenting their work. They also hold character exhibitions, taking over galleries allowing us to get up close and personal with the work and it's an opportunity to present their Academy graduates. It's always good to be on the look out for new and upcoming talent!
MV: I find a nice cafe with wifi for breakfast to see what talks were on that day and go through the programme and plan my 'character walk' around that; visiting the galleries and exhibitions along the way. It was a full day of animation and design which was great. The theme of this year's conference was 'Character Upload' so there was a real focus on VR and digital technology in animation which I find really interesting.
PP: What did you take away from the conference?
MV: I found it to be really beneficial learning more about different creative processes and I think that it would be really informative to young directors and designers who are looking to expand on their creative process. Inspiration seemed like a huge focus for all of the talks, where people have come from, the journeys they have made, their personal backgrounds and their random thoughts. What I took from this was that you have to run with yourself sometimes and see where it takes you. We all have to pay the bills of course but try to use your own time to create your own things. You can make amazing creative discoveries which would interest and inspire others and that's the goal...
PP: Can the inspiration from Pictoplasma be applied to our day to day work in Commercials?
MV: Interestingly in the conference talks by directors, they were all pushing themselves from both a style and technological approach which helped to enhance their work. One director said that he found commercials really difficult at the beginning of his career because of the constraints brought to him through selling a product, but then decided to approach it as a method to try new things stylistically and question his creative process...once he'd accepted that, he was happier creating for a client and found a new alternative voice for commissioned work. This was really interesting for me as I know how frustrating it is for some directors who have to find a balance between their creative vision in a commercial world. This particular director felt that he has evolved as an artist by having outsiders question him and in doing so questioned himself, which took him down lots of different paths creatively.
We are so often tied to computers and the majority of our production work is computer based but take yourself away from that, get your hands dirty now and then and different creative juices will get flowing.We usually get around a week to put a treatment together but if you have a bank of ideas and creations that you have found whilst playing around you can already be one step ahead.
PP: What was the highlight of the festival for you?
MV: Catching up with our Directors is always fun, especially out of production time when the pressure is off. Also seeing all the great exhibitions, it was amazing to see Anna's personal project 'Goats of Quiet Disappointment'. Her work was really thought provoking and experimental and so different in style from the commercials that we produce with her. I was so proud that she'd create this artistic space for us to visit and share.
Also, going secret bar drinking with Jens in Friedrichshain and having a proper catch up was great - yes, we inevitably starting talking about crew and software, but there were lots of laughs in between!
All in all I came back feeling inspired - I think it's great for producers to immerse themselves in creative circles. We are surrounded by so much artistic talent every day it's important not to get lost in spreadsheets and crew coordination and remind ourselves why we chose a path in animation production; to be part of something pushing boundaries and presenting craft through innovation. Just because we're selling something doesn't mean it can't be with style and creativity.