Tel Aviv-based animation director Uri Lotan feels that the world of animation is the best way to tell stories. Over the past few years he’s has had the opportunity to work on incredible projects with iconic studios including Disney Animation, Sony Imageworks, Pixar, Buck, Jibjab, Digital Domain. The project below is a music video collaboration done with Jane Bordeaux for their song Ma’agalim. This video is emotional, unique, and beautiful to watch. The FIDM Digital Arts team had the chance to interview Lotan who offers insight into his experiences as an animator and creative thinker.
For aspiring creatives, he suggests “shattering the box” of expectations of what you think you should do.
“Express who you are, use animation as a platform to show the way you see the world around you. Focus on creating beautiful unique work, and your career will find its way.”
Scroll down to read our full Q&A:
[FIDM Digital Arts] What gives you inspiration?
[Lotan} “I find it inspiring when two things that seemingly have nothing to do with each other suddenly become connected in my mind. It’s usually unclear why they connected, but the inspiration comes from trying to figure that out.”
What goes into creating an animated feature?
“Animation is a laborious process, but it starts like any other film: creating the story, inhabiting it with relatable characters, and hopefully finding that hidden magic. This process starts by writing a script and storyboarding the whole film. Around this time, we start designing the world. In animation, everything has to be designed; every character, every prop, every leaf—everything. Once the story and design are done, we move on to the production phase. This phase includes modeling, rigging, texturing, animation, lighting, effects, compositing, coloring and so on. It’s a process that requires many individuals, each with their own unique skill-sets. This is why animation is often a team effort. After the different stages of production, and with a bunch of hair lost in the process, we finally have a finished film.”
Of all the animation you’ve done, which was your favorite to work on?
“‘Ma’agalim’ has been my favorite project by far. We had complete creative freedom, which let us explore ideas we usually wouldn’t be able to. We also had a small, intimate, and extremely talented team. We all felt ownership over the project.”
What advice would you give to someone pursuing a career like yours?
“Since animation is still a relatively new medium, we often associate it to a very specific genre. With that public persona, it often seeps into the young animators way of thinking and puts them in a very tight box. I think you should shatter that box, express who you are, use animation as a platform to show the way you see the world around you. Focus on creating beautiful unique work, and your career will find its way.”
What strides did you take to get to this point in your career?
“I began my career focusing on the feature film world. I dreamed of working on big projects alongside amazingly talented people. Luckily, I found my way and worked on just those projects, with just those people. When I got to this point in my career, I found out that being a tiny gear in a huge machine wasn’t really my cup of tea. After a few years of learning from great artists, I decided to move back to my home country– Israel– to work on more personal projects and be part of a smaller team. Everyone is involved and has some ownership over the project. That’s what got me to where I am today.”
Check out Uri’s work with Jane Bordeaux:
If you’d like to get in touch with Uri for a fun project or just to say hi : firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Uri’s website: urilotan.com
If filmmaking is an area of interest, you may also be interested in exploring FIDM’s Digital Media major.