Survival OpenSpace with Stephen Jones

On June 28, 2017 CMNSH held our first evening open space to bring the community together to discuss Survival. Stephen Jones kicked off the evening telling 3 stories and opening up the discussion on elements of survival: Luck, Instinct, and Preparedness.

Notes from this even can be found here & we encourage you to contribute any of your own notes, tips, and resources to the topics! Video from this evening was not recorded, but photos can be found here, by Nike Daum.

Many many thanks to stoke.d for the beautiful space,  Slim & Husky’s for the delicious pizza & Black Abbey Brewery, by way of Grand Palace Silkscreen, for the always refreshing beer.

July's COLLABORATE talk with Parker Gates of stoke.d

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In the spirit of July’s theme, COLLABORATE, we had Parker Gates of stoke.d (tw @stokedproject) join us to give a high-energy, hands-on lesson on how to be a better collaborator. Held at their studio in The Skillery  (tw @theskillery / in @theskillery) — our third event at the Germantown co-working space! — we had the patio open, our collaborate playlist pumping, and a fully packed house. 

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THE TALK

Parker Gates co-founded stoke.d with Anna Love-Mickelson, and together they travel the globe spreading human centered design to organizations looking for a new way of working. They both also teach Design Thinking at the d.school at Stanford University where their own collaboration originally started. 

What Parker and Anna do is pretty revolutionary, considering how much collaboration is discouraged throughout our lives. In school it’s considered cheating. At work it’s considered inefficient, and the few times we do collaborate are often stressful and ineffective.

But, collaboration is also a very positive thing. When you bring very different people together, you expand your perspective in ways you simply can’t achieve on your own. Plus, it’s tough to be truly objective with yourself. 

So, what makes a good collaboration? Parker gave us four tips:

1) Take a “yes, and” approach, not a “no, but” one.
2) Make your partners look like bad asses.
3) Build a radically diverse team to ensure radically diverse perspectives.
4) Be mindful of process. Set separate times for generating and exploring ideas.

Have you had a chance to test some of his tips yet? If so, let us know how it went!

FUN EXTRAS

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As always, we started off the morning with treats from some of Nashville’s finest, including coffee from Frothy Monkey (tw @frothymonkey / in @frothymonkey), bagels from Bagel Face Bakery (tw @bagelfacebakery / in @bagelfacebakery), mini-pies from The Loving Pie Company (tw @thelovingpieco), chocolate chip cookies from Steadfast Coffee (tw @steadfastcoffee / in @steadfastcoffee). 

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Inside, we got together and redesigned Nashville into a perfect collaborative city. Everyone got creative — and a little crazy — drawing treehouse dance parties and skyscraper rollercoasters. We also set up our first jobs board, and we’d love to hear if anyone made a connection using it. Let us know on!

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We also had Peter Durand of Alpha Chimp (tw @chimplearngood) live-scribe the talk before our eyes. Check out the video! Plus, if you’d like to learn how to do this, Alpha Chimp is offering a workshop through the Skillery.

And, if all of that wasn’t enough, we closed out the event with a give away of stoke.d calendars!

JULY PARTNERS

We owe a huge round of applause to our partners this month for helping us make it all happen: The Skillery (tw @theskillery / in @theskillery) and stoke.d (tw @stokedproject), Jive Print (tw @jiveprint / in @jiveprint), Grand Palace (in @grandpalace_nashville), Bagel Face Bakery (tw @bagelfacebakery / in @bagelfacebakery), Frothy Monkey (tw @frothymonkey / in @frothymonkey), and Steadfast Coffee (tw @steadfastcoffee / in @steadfastcoffee). You rock and we love collaborating with you!

A big thank you also goes out to our volunteer photographer Michaela M. Powell (in @mmp_photo), to our tech guy-cum-videographer Ben Stewart (tw @b3nst3wart / in @benstewart) for capturing the event for us. We hope to share video of the talk soon. Follow us on Instagram or Twitter to hear when it’s posted.

Spotlight: Matt van den Meiracker, Filmmaker and Photographer

We love our videographers. We’d be lost without them, and it’s about time they got the recognition they deserve! First up is filmmaker and photographer Matt van den Meiracker who recently created the gorgeous intro we now use for all our speaker videos. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch our most recent video of Robot speaker Chris Lee.

Matt is new Nashvillian, having just moved here from Atlanta a little over a year ago. He works with musicians, YouTube personalities, businesses, and many others.


CMNSH - What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would your dream project be?

Matt - One of the YouTube shows I collaborated with is Kid President. Early on in the show, we were shooting an episode with the White House, but we had been told President Obama would not be able to appear in the video due to scheduling conflicts. So we wrote it and shot our piece of the video, not sure who would be appearing in their piece of it. 

The afternoon after the shoot, I went to Brad Montague (watch his CMNSH talk here!), the creator of the show’s office to get the footage from him. He had just gotten an email from the White House with their part of the video and he was visibly excited as he called me over to his computer. He clicked on the attachment and it opened up and who should it be? President Obama! Apparently they had been able to find some time in his schedule and shot the video. That was probably the most exciting moment in my career so far, getting to collaborate on a video with the President like that.

As far as dream projects go, I have a script I’ve been working on the for the last couple of months for a short film. I don’t want to say too much about it, but it has elements of science-fiction to it. It’s set in space on an exploratory mission, but really it’s a story about humanity as a whole and our collective experience, about our past and our future, about our relationship with God and our place in this beautiful, mysterious universe He put us in. 

It’s a big concept and I’m really excited about it. I’ve always loved science fiction and the idea of space exploration. That plus the opportunity to connect it with deeper themes this way makes it a dream project in a lot of ways.


CMNSH - Since we’re in the Music City, what’s your go to playlist or podcast to listen to while you work?

Matt - That’s a hard question, since it changes all the time. But right now, I’m really enjoying listening to Joy Williams’s new solo album “VENUS” and Hillsong United’s “Zion,” which I really haven’t stopped listening to since it came out two years ago.


CMNSH - What keeps you inspired? How do you get yourself out of a creative slump or block?

Matt - If you had asked me this a couple of years ago, I would have said movies, but lately I've been getting more and more into TV shows and short films from places like Vimeo. The writing and production quality in both of those areas lately is superb and the incredible variety of content keeps things fresh. I like the long-term storytelling and focus on big-picture character development I see television doing a much better job of lately. It's like reading a long book or a series of books. It gives you more time to invest in characters and understand their world. 

And then on the far other end of the spectrum, I like seeing how filmmakers tell a compelling story in a compressed period of time with short films. It takes a totally different approach to get the audience invested without having time to really get to know the characters and their world. You have to sell the audience really quickly and I think that’s something all filmmakers need to learn how to do in our increasingly distraction prone society.


BONUS ROUND - What's your favorite animated gif?

Matt - I’m a big fan of this one and I can’t really explain why. It just makes me laugh every time.



You can learn more about Matt van den Meiracker on his web site (mattvdm.com), or by following him on Instagram, and on Twitter. Interview by designer + infographer Angela Gasparetti.

Spotlight: Tim Cook, Designer, Illustrator, Musician

It’s probably fair to call Nashville’s own Tim Cook a modern day Renaissance Man. After all, Tim is not only a product illustrator for GoNoodle, a freelance designer/illustrator, and a master of Koozie design for CMNSH; he’s also an amateur screen printer, a guitarist/keyboardist in the band ELEL, and a dedicated Nintendo enthusiast. 

If you’re as big a fan of Tim’s work as we are, there’s a lot more to look forward to this year! ELEL’s EP is out now, under Mom + Pop Music, and you can now pre-order the band’s debut, full-length album, out this Fall. 

And, that’s still not all. With Sam Smith, Tim is planning a Super Mario Bros. tribute art show for the game’s 30th Anniversary. We can’t wait to hear more about it, and we’ll be sure to share details as they’re available! 


CMNSH - What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would your dream project be?

Tim - I did a print project for the Memphis Grizzlies last year that was a lot of fun. It was pretty perfectly timed. I had done Porter Flea a month before and was told by a passerby that I “need more Nashville stuff.” After I mentally mocked her for I while, I thought about the customer being right and all, so I decided to do an illustration series of the Nashville mascots, starting with the Sounds because I love sports imagery and had just been to a game. 

Not far in to that I was asked to do an officially sponsored Grizzlies art show to raise money to renovate Memphis community basketball courts. I love the NBA so I threw Grizz into the mascot mix. I made a small run of prints and sent them in. They contacted me later saying they loved the design, asking to use it for promotional materials and other pieces. 

Ultimately, the design was purposed to also be some sweet shirts and a backboard for one of the hoops on a community court! Plus, I saw one of the shirts on tv during the NBA Finals this year! 


CMNSH - Since we’re in the Music City, what’s your go to playlist or podcast to listen to while you work?

Tim - I’m generally more of a podcast/audio book guy. My staples are 99% Invisible, RadioLab, and Song Exploder. It’s creeping up on football season, too, so CBS Fantasy Football Today is getting back in to the mix. I’ve also started the Game of Thrones audiobooks. I’m really picky about what I listen to in the way of music while working. I can get very easily distracted and end up focusing more on the subtleties of the music. Spotify tells me that I’ve been listening to a lot of Paul Simon lately. The Beach Boys are always in there, too. (the mid ‘70’s stuff is pretty wild and great).


CMNSH - What unexpected twists have you experienced in your career so far?

Tim - Man, the whole thing probably? Haha! My first impression of “graphic design” in high school was doing dumb business cards at Copy Cow so I wasn’t interested. Also in high school, my art teacher, though incredibly talented, was a real S.O.B. saying “Art school this. Art school that. This is how it is.” So, I wasn’t at all interested in that, either. 

I went in to P.R. my first two years of college, which I was convinced didn’t matter anyway because I was going to be a musician. Eventually, though, some of my friends’ parents, who were art faculty, showed me the light so I got in and heavily addicted. 

I moved to Nashville pretty much on a whim because I had friends here and thought I’d find some cool agency or something. In the meantime, I got a job as a sign painter at Trader Joe’s…three years later, here I am a full time illustrator for a pretty great product. 

I guess the biggest twist was Trader Joe’s. I met my bandmates there and a lot of artisanal folks, one of which led me to my job now. I hope that there are more twists. It’s a wild ride!


BONUS ROUND - What’s your favorite animated gif?

Created by /u/noise_filter (aka proxyrax) on 6/29/15

You can learn more about Tim Cook on his web site (tim-cook.com), or by following him on Instagram, Twitter, and Dribbble. You can also follow ELEL on their web site (elelmusic.com), on Instagram, and on Twitter.

Interview by designer + infographer Angela Gasparetti.

EVENING POP-UP!: Start Your Personal Revolution with Jake Jorgovan

June is #REVOLUTION and a month of big firsts for CreativeMornings/Nashville. Not only are we having our first music industry talk by Jay Miller of United Record Pressing on June 26 (tickets go live on Monday, June 22 at 9:00 AM. Register here)…

But, we are also holding our FIRST EVENING POP-UP EVENT! Jake Jorgovan will be talking Personal Revolution with us on Wednesday, June 24 at The Skillery. Tickets are already live, and free as always, so go register before they run out!

Jorgovan is a Creative Strategist, helping creative entrepreneurs improve and grow their business. He’s the mind behind the Working Without Pants podcast for creative entrepreneurs, and he also offers a number of books and courses on his site. Definitely, check it out!

Register for Personal Revoluton with Jake Jorgovan
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/revolution-pop-up-tickets-17425975562

Spotlight: Michaela M. Powell, CMNSH Photographer

You likely know that CreativeMornings/Nashville is an all-volunteer endeavor, and that we rely on a team of dedicated, perennially-positive morning people to make the magic happen each month. 

Now we’d love for you to also get to know our volunteers. First up, meet Michaela M. Powell, our Event Photographer extraordinaire. 

Most days, you will find Michaela at one of our favorite spots, The Skillery, where she works as a concierge lending support to fellow creatives and entrepreneurs. She is also a creative assistant, freelance photographer, baker of breads and other treats through her company Goose Lemon, and an experimental doodler with Dr. Terror Art Therapy


CMNSH - How long have you been living/working in the Nashville-area? How does our community impact you or your work?

Michaela - I have been involved in the Nashville community since 2010, but have lived here since 2012. Surrounding myself with other creatives keeps me accountable on the work I am making. If I see my friends burnin’ that midnight oil on their side projects, it’s a small kick in the pants for me to pick my camera back up, keep the water colors out and make stuff.


CMNSH - What unexpected twists have you experienced in your career so far?

MichaelaHa! There are always twists. I think all things that have happened to me in my career for the past 5 years have lead to the next thing. I can say, all have prepared me for the next leap.  I went from being a full-time graphic designer in Texas to loading my car and moving to Nashville to attend a show at the Ryman (The Civil Wars). I actually ended up working for a doggie bakery (See Spot Eat) and ice cream shop (Pied Piper Creamery) for about six months while pursuing Photography Assisting. During that time I accepted a job offer with Hatch Show Print.  After I left Hatch I worked for another company and they fired me, that was something I didn’t see coming.  However, it allowed me to really consider what I wanted to offer a company and what type of work I wanted to be doing. I decided to label myself a Creative Assistant, because I enjoy working with creatives and making sure they have all they need to stay focused on the work they are creating. Shortly after I did this, I found a job which was exactly what I wanted and they happened to want me to trailblaze an idea of a position for their space (The Skillery). 


CMNSH - What keeps you inspired? How do you get yourself out of a creative slump or block?

Michaela What keeps me inspired? A lot of things. My own story is always a great place to start. I write for myself, it’s something I have been doing for a handful of years. Whenever I don’t feel creative I refer back to what experiences I have lived through and remind myself this, whatever ‘this’ is, will work out with time.


BONUS ROUND - What’s your favorite animated gif?

Michaela - I dream of dressing like a tap dancing bumble bee when listening to No Rain by Blind Melon



You can learn more about Michaela M. Powell on her web site (michaelampowell.com), or by following her on Instagram. Interview by designer + infographer Angela Gasparetti.

CMNSH at Porter Flea

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Porter Flea is coming and of course CreativeMornings/Nashville will be there. Be sure to stop and visit our partners, speakers, and team members selling their fantastic work at this season’s market: Saturday June 6, from 10am - 5pm at Track 1!

AMARANTHUS PAPER & FLORAL ( instagram )
Colorful paper bouquets by CMNSH Color speaker, Miranda Eastburn 

BEARDITION ( instagram / twitter )
All natural beard grooming company. Beardition is a repeat partner and co-owned by Chief Morning Officer Kristin Schleihs.

MONKEY INK DESIGN ( twitter )
Gorgeous sceenprinted posters by CMNSH host Alicia W. Binkley and Master Printer Drew Binkley.

STERIC DESIGN
Beautiful furniture from the maker of our sweet wooden event signage.

STRAW CASTLE ( instagram / twitter )
Block Prints by Derrick Castle, designer of our rad CMNSH t-shirts!

For those (not) about to shave, we salute you

Beardition is an all natural(ly) awesome men’s beard + grooming products company here in Nashville, as well as one of our repeat partners! 

The company itself was born both out of need and a passion to create. In early 2012, Mark Williams (local financial analyst + company CEO) came back from a month long hike on the Appalachian Trail only to start developing his own beard grooming products, needing to keep his newly fuzzed face in check. 

A pitch to his designer neighbor (co-owner + chief creative lady, Kristin Schleihs) to brand the company, and it was a go. Today, Beardition proudly offers men the finest in 100% all natural grooming products, specifically targeting the bearded fellas but not discriminating against the not-so-fully-bearded, or clean shaven. Giddy up + beard on, friends.

[CMNSH] Since Nashville is Music City, what’s your go to playlist or podcast to listen to while you work?

[Kristin] Podcast: Nerdist + WTF  |  Playlist: 90s jams

[Mark] Podcast: Dan Patrick Show  |  Playlist: Blackberry Smoke

[CMNSH] How long have you been living / working in the Nashville-area? How does our community impact you or your work?

[Mark] Ventured over from Dallas 8 years ago.

[Kristin] Migrated down from Wisconsin nearly 10 years ago. Nashville was the perfect place for us to launch a business of our type. Not only is our target market here (cool, bearded fellas) but it is also a phenomenal time to be a small business owner here. With the explosion of creative entrepreneurs in Nashville, the love for local and the shared passion to create something worthwhile, we’re driven each and every day to connect with more and more awesome people. For me, being a member of The Skillery this past year (co-working space) and helping organize our local CreativeMornings chapter has completely changed the way I work, not to mention helped me get our brand out there… and love our city even more.

[CMNSH] What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would your dream project be?

[Mark] I’ve been on the financial side of the healthcare industry my entire career, so running the business side of my own company is my passion. Though my day job is still in the corporate world, we hope to grow Beardition to the point of it supporting us both full time and beyond. Dream project? Hmmm… I may turn into a serial entrepreneur, so we’ll see what comes next!

[Kristin] This company has no doubt been my favorite project thus far, with CreativeMornings a close second. I’ve worked at a few corporate design jobs, but being my own boss and working out of a co-working space really seems to suit me best. I still do freelance design as my day job, but it’s pretty cool to get to watch a company you’ve created grow, and see people interact with your products. I really love having an outlet to be able to add an extra bit of happy to our followers/customers everyday lives. Dream project? Maybe create a sister brand to Beardition… for the ladies! 

[CMNSH] What are you most excited to share right now?

  1. We’re gearing up for our first time being a vendor at Porter Flea this weekend! We’ll be in the new Porter Parlour. Come by and say hey… we love high fives.
  2. We just packed up a few boxes of our beard oil to share in the nominee/performer gift bags for the CMT Awards happening next week here in Nashville. We love any fun ways to help enhance the beardliness of our fine city.

BONUS ROUND - What’s your favorite animated gif?

(Top: Kristin's fav; Bottom: Mark's fav).


You can learn more about Beardition on their web site (beardition.com), or by following them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Interview by designer + infographer Angela Gasparetti.

Spotlight: Susannah Felts, The Porch Writers' Collective

The Porch’s Susannah Felts (right) and Katie McDougall (left).

Always-sunny morning person and native Nashvillian Susannah Felts is an accomplished writer, teacher, and editor. We could go on for days about all the amazing things Susannah has done… Her first novel, This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record, was published by Featherproof Books in 2008, she’s won several awards and fellowships, and her work has appeared everywhere from The Oxford American to (one of our favorite’s) McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.

But, today, we’re talking with Susannah about one project in particular — The Porch Writers' Collective — which she established here in Nashville along with co-founder Katie McDougall.

1 - Can you talk about what The Porch Writers’ Collective is and what you provide for the writing community?

Sure! The Porch is a nonprofit center for writing (aka, literary center), and we exist to support, educate, and connect writers and anyone passionate about the literary arts in the Middle Tennessee area. We do all of that in a bunch of ways: We offer classes in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, taught by well-qualified instructors; We provide regular panel discussions that help writers learn more about the business of writing and publishing; We host free monthly write-ins at The Skillery; We hold twice-yearly writers’ retreats in Sewanee, TN; and, We organize innovative public events around literature and writing.

2 - You are a Tennessee native, correct?

Correct! OK, almost. I was born in Little Rock, AR, but my folks and I high-tailed it to Nashville when I was a year old.

Your personal story states, "There were encampments in Connecticut, Atlanta, and North Carolina; a deep settling in Chicago; a sojourn in Birmingham, Alabama." You’ve lived in quite a few different places. Can you tell us a little bit about how your endeavors in other locales influenced your writing and the desire to found The Porch?

My years in Chicago are the most relevant in answer to your question. I received my MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, then stayed and taught there while also freelancing. During those years, I witnessed the blossoming of a vibrant indie literary community, with new reading series and publications popping up all the time. It felt like a period of emergence and great energy. Being a part of that community of writers was something I took very much for granted until I left — and realized just how precious and useful it had been.

By the time I moved back to Nashville, I was aware of a number of existing literary centers in other cities, and at the same time, I saw creative growth here that reminded me of what I’d observed of the Chicago literary scene years earlier. Stir in the population growth in Nashville, and boom: Was there ever a better time to start a center for writing here? Nay, there was not.

I’ve seen so many smart, passionate folks bring ideas here from other cities. It feels good to be a hometown girl who’s trying to do a similar thing. In fact — and I love this fact — my Porch co-founder Katie McDougall is also a Nashville native. We both left town for many years, and I’d say we both dig the fact that we’re creating something new in the city where we were raised up, which was, of course, a very different place wayyy back in the day.

3 - Here at CreativeMornings/Nashville we have a multitude of unique creatives including illustrators, designers, psychologists, dancers, writers, photographers, and programmers. Where do writers fit into the creative landscape, and what is the truest thing you could say about the writing community in Nashville?

Writers fit right in to that lovely list you’ve made! These days, there’s a lot of chatter about the power of story/storytelling in commercial creative culture (advertising, marketing, branding, etc). That makes me smile.

Writers understand perhaps better than anyone else the primacy of story and the power that comes with knowing how to wield words. Nashville has a strong literary history with deep roots, but in recent years our contemporary literary scene has been a bit quieter, or less cohesive, than what we’ve seen in other areas of the burgeoning local creative economy. That’s changing for the better, though. I also want to see the literary arts increasingly engaging with the visual and performing arts in Nashville. There’s so much room for fabulous collaboration.

One true thing about the writing community in Nashville: it’s growing. Oh, and like no other writing community elsewhere, it always has to distinguish itself as not songwriting… 

4 - What have you accomplished this year with The Porch, and what do you plan on tackling in the next year?

I’m going to let co-founder Katie McDougall step in and answer this one, since she’s been a critical force behind the Porch’s accomplishments. Take it away, Katie…

Katie McDougall: In our first year and a half, we’ve run about 35 writing workshops, held 25 unique literary events, hosted three successful weekend writing retreats, and engaged in creative writing outreach with Time to Rise, Nashville Adult Literacy Center, Oasis Center, and Martha O’ Bryan Center. We’ve also acquired our 501c3, established a membership program, held a successful inaugural fundraiser, co-hosted a city-wide teen writing workshop, and put together a strong board of directors. In other words, we’ve been busy!

Our plan for this next year involves basically more of the same. Additionally, we plan to expand our teen program, Nashville Emerging Writers (N.E.W.), by offering monthly workshops year-round in hopes of further developing a vibrant youth literary citizenry.

5 - Where can folks follow you and find out more about how The Porch is helping support local writers?

Our website is porchtn.org, we’re on Facebook (ThePorchWritersCollective) and Twitter (@porchtn), and we’d love for you all to sign up for our monthly newsletter.


Interview by graphic designer Stephen Jones.

Spotlight: Allen Laseter, Director/Illustrator/Animator

Have you seen the beautiful #CMNSH animation we unveiled at our April/Humility talk, yet? If not, drop everything and watch it now, because we’d like to introduce you to the amazing artist who created it: Allen Laseter, freelance director/illustrator/animator and one of our favorite morning people.

1 - What types of projects have you been working on recently? How do clients utilize your motion design and animation talents to tell their stories? What type of work would you like to do more of?

I’ve been doing a whole lot of explainer videos lately. With the growing number of companies and start-ups that need visual content, that kind of thing seems to have exploded in the last few years. This has been great for someone like me who is a bit of a newcomer and still trying to find their voice, and these kinds of projects can also be pretty fun to work on, but I’m definitely itching to branch out into more music video and narrative-based work. 

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Pictured: Allen Laseter and a still from Allen’s piece “Flex Connect” for Autosoft.

2 - You graduated with a Film Degree at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, correct? How did you transition from film to motion? Was it a natural progression?

Yeah, I studied directing and cinematography in school. Straight after graduating, I began freelancing and was just taking on any sort of video project I could get my hands on. I didn’t have much experience with animation other than goofing around with it here and there for fun, but somehow a motion project just kind of fell into my lap one day. I naively took the job thinking my very limited experience would qualify me, but I quickly found myself in over my head. It was a bit of a nightmare at first, but being backed into a corner forced me to learn very quickly, and once I finally started to get the hang of it, I realized that I got a satisfaction out of illustrating and animating that I couldn’t get out of live action. I was using the directing and cinematography training I got while in school for this different medium that was very new to me, and that was exciting. Now that I work exclusively in animation, I still do that and I try to use it to my advantage.

3 - There are many creative partnerships among our members here at #CMNSH. Your fiancé is a designer as well. How does having a creative significant other influence your process and your work? 

It’s amazing! My fiancée, Lindsey Armstrong, is a badass designer. I feel super lucky to have someone who works in a creative field that is ultimately pretty different from mine but still has a whole lot of overlap with it. She’s able to give me great feedback on the work I’m doing because she has a great eye and lot’s of formal design training and experience. But, since she doesn’t deal with motion day-to-day, she’s able to assess my work without getting distracted by the technical details of animation and can instead give me a fresh perspective on the more important aspects of a project like concept, visual structure and mood. It’s easy to lose sight of those things when you’re scrambling to finish a project, so it’s nice to always have access to a trusted creative with a fresh perspective.

4 - You spend multiple hours on projects that can often run for only 30 seconds. What is your process for telling a good story within that timeframe and what is the biggest challenge?

Yeah, the ratio of hours worked to screen time is really absurd, but I kind of like that about it. The only way I know how to make good work is to put in a lot of time. I like to put in a lot of this time upfront and try to figure out how to most concisely tell whatever story needs to be told before diving into execution. I like to feel really good about the storyboard before moving forward. For me, one of the biggest challenges is resisting the urge to focus on style before I have a really good handle on the concept. This seems like such an easy trap to fall into, and can wreck a potentially good project. To help with this, I make my storyboard using super basic shapes and stick figures. Lately, I’ve also started illustrating in greyscale and animating with super rough versions of the final illustrated assets. Anything I can do to keep me working from general-to-specific seems to help with the process.

5 - Where can people follow you and find more about your work?

You can find more of my work at AllenLaseter.com or follow me on Dribbble or Vimeo where I’m most active. You can also follow me on Twitter (@lasetat) and Instagram (also @lasetat).


Interview by graphic designer Stephen Jones.

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