With over 12 years experience as a Multi award winning motion graphics designer, animator, conceptualist and director, We are thrilled to announce that Oz Smith has joined the Jumbla team as our new Creative Director. Oz joins Callan Woolcock upping our Creative Director count to two, and with twice the enthusiasm and twice the creativity we are really excited to see the new Jumbla creative evolution play out.
Having already lead some of our most recent jobs, including our openers for MSFW and recent work with Kathmandu, Oz has already made a great impression on us. What do you think?
Find out where it all started and how he came to join our great team, with some fun snippets from along the way.
How did you first get into the industry?
I studied graphic design and wanted to get into interactive design and animation so I decided to do my final major in Macromedia Director, which wasn’t a shrewd move because it was discontinued in a few years. But that project was enough to get interest from a TV channel and title sequence branding company called English and Pockett in London. They were a dream company to work for as they were one of the best in London, but still small and full of interesting people to learn from and I had a few mentors there and made a lot of my best friends from that time.
On day one working at E&P I was given a telephone directory sized styleguide containing every possible score in every sport aired by Eurosport, who they were rebranding. So I was tasked with coming up with a new graphic for every one of them! I didn’t do any more interactive from that day onwards and was taken into the world of TV and branding. Unfortunately E&P were a bit old school and their big budget, rock and roll 80’s excess approach to the industry didn’t stand up to the new wave of motion graphics where things moved faster and budgets were slashed. So I went freelance with my new found contacts and began to learn from all the people in the London freelance circuit.
Why Animation & Motion Graphics?
From catching the tail end of the big budget way of working from the 80s and 90s, I began to meet guys who could do exciting things using just a Mac and After Effects or combining with Flash or 3D elements. This seemed like freedom to me after watching how slowly things happened when full post houses were involved and rushes were captured from film, graded, and then put together in Flame. I wanted to get my hands on every part of it so learning from people about different software, mainly After Effects, was my main goal.
Where were you working before Jumbla?
I was Design Director at Method Studios Melbourne, creating graphic components mainly for TV advertising.
What have been some of the most exciting jobs you have worked on?
From a motion graphics point of view an exciting project was working on Eurovision 2011. A company had won the branding of the job, but now needed to bring it to life. So they put it out to a few individuals and also some graphics giants including places like The Mill. I didn’t know any 3D at the time so I asked a freelance mate to join me on the pitch. He came up with some cool elements in Cinema 4D which I comped together with 2D elements, mainly Trapcode Particular and we won the job. But then he landed another job and decided to do that, so he explained how he did his 3D and I turned up and had the quickest on the job crash course in Cinema 4D ever and managed to make the title sequence and show graphics package. This led to me working on the Eurovision 2012 titles and graphics too.
Another job which was an in the deep end project was while working at a company called Kemistry in London where I came up with a concept which involved actors expressing different emotions. We won and the Creative Director asked if I wanted to direct it. I agreed – how hard could it be? And went on my first shoot as director with a cast of 10 actors, full crew and designed a set, chose costumes / makeup etc. The job was a success but the main thing was how much I learnt from the experience. It gave me confidence in shoots I did after that so I’m thankful for being thrown in at the deep end. While at that same company I was given the chance to travel a lot and while rebranding channels in Scandinavia I spent a lot of time in Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki and also Amsterdam which was a lot of fun.
How do you go about finding a strong creative concept for a brief?
Most of the broadcast branding genre I worked on in London was with a hardcore of design legends who all broke out of the BBC in the 60s and 70s and went on to start successful companies. I worked with guys like Graham McCallum, Martin Lambie-Nairn and Darryl Pockett, and they all had the same philosophy when I showed them my response to a brief – “what is the idea?? Tell me the idea in one sentence!” But there was also a generation below them who were more interested in strong aesthetic, so I try to answer a brief with both these things in mind.
What would your dream project be to work on?
I love doing new things, trying stuff out and learning on the job so my dream project is always the one where the client is up for experimenting and trying new things. That with a healthy budget and timeline and we’re in business.
What strengths do you think you can bring to the Jumbla Team?
I think I can bring the experience of working on a huge variety of different jobs. I have worked on many big and small projects on my own and in different roles, big teams and small. I have lots of experience as a designer, animator in 2D and 3D, have directed many shoots from small table top stuff to ones involving up to 50 people. My main drive is coming up with something new and pushing every job so hopefully working with the multi-skilled people here at Jumbla we can push the boundaries and create great work.
What do you do when you aren’t at Jumbla? Any secret hobbies?
I have 2 small kids which is great fun. Watching their little creative minds whirring and the fresh way they look at things is very inspiring. Before having kids I was very involved with music, I was in a few bands in London on bass and guitar, playing gigs for fun and watching a lot of bands. I also make weird electronic music… when I have time. I am also getting into gardening since being in Melbourne which is a good offset to everything digital.
What are your impressions of Jumbla so far?
Really enjoying being here, the work possibilities are exactly what I’m interested in and I’m learning a lot from everyone – there are a lot of talented people here!