INTERVIEWS - Sinbad Richardson, Part II of II

GL: As you were developing your skills as an artist were there some works or artists that you based your style around?  

SR: In Québec there was a humour magazine called Safarir and I was a die hard fan of Mario Malouin's celebrity caricatures. I often mimicked his style and would draw my own versions of his pop culture spoofs. I would also get the printed version of Beavis and Butt-Head that was published by Marvel for some time, and I would mimic Mike Judge's style. I also really got into Calvin and Hobbes, Tintin and The Simpsons.

GL: Are there any living artists that you keep tabs on for ongoing inspiration?

SR: Most recently I saw Ben Jones's exhibit at the MOCA Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles which was really inspiring. His work is really vibrant and captivating and super-imaginative; he's the kind of animator that makes you realize,"oh, I never even thought that was an option!"

If I see anything by Marc Bell I'll stop whatever I'm doing and take it all in.

I'm also a fan of Pendleton Ward's Adventure Time.

Still from the Plants and Animals music video - The Mama Papa
GL: The Plants and Animals music video, The Mama Papa, which is on your site, is very well done.  It says on that page that you wrote, directed, and edited it.  Have you found that your work in film has influenced your animation aesthetic and vice-versa?

SR: It's interesting; they have managed to remain two completely different realms in my head. When I think of animation I consider my American pop culture influences and when I think of film I'm more drawn to European or European-influenced films. The two realms don't overlap much and I would have a hard time seeing myself ever creating a video that used both.

TMNT - 90s Animation
GL: What or who was your first love?

SR: The first animated show I was passionate about was The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that would come on after kindergarten. I was also obsessed with Patrick Roy, who was the goaltender when the Montréal Canadiens won their last Stanley Cup in 1993. I would have been 9. And the first girl that broke my heart was in grade 1, Kathleen.

GL: You've worked on many design projects for bands through The Cardboardbox Project. What was a project for a band that you were most nervous about working on, and why?

SR: The project that made me the most nervous with The Cardboardbox Project was not a design project, but a video project. We created six webisodes of Stars recording their album The Five Ghosts in 2010 in Montréal. I was spending a lot of time with them in the studio with my gear and I had to be invisible in a way and be witness to the process while being considerate of when I was intruding or crossing a barrier. I also really wanted to do a good job on every single webisode we put out and so the editing process was quite involved and deadline driven. When I look back at the six part series, I am very proud of the work we did.

Still from How Eve & Adam Met
GL: I particularly like your animation How Eve & Adam Met. The writing is quite clever and the voice acting is superb. How did the opportunity to write and animate that film come about?

SR: How Adam & Eve Met came my way from a friend that was working with the Federation CJA on cultural events in Montreal. She was familiar with my work from a short I made for Film POP! profiling a musician, and suggested me to the marketing team. We had a phone call and I came back to them with a treatment they went for. It was a turnkey project, meaning I was acting as a full animation production company at that point taking it from writing, dialogue recording, through to animation and editing.

Jenny 5000
GL: You have a newly released film, Jenny 5000, that we're going to be doing a separate interview about, but for the moment, can you give us a paragraph break down on what Jenny 5000 is about?

SR: Jenny 5000 is about Jennifer Harris, the same character I used in the two-part Young Galaxy video as well as the comic strip I drew for two years at Concordia's The Link. The vision was to expand the character into her own animated short with recorded dialogue and a story that would lead to an episodic follow up. Jennifer is voiced by Nicole Roberge and I did the voice for Eddy. In the short they are co-hosts of a radio show and in real life Nicole and I hosted a radio show as well. In the story Jennifer confronts her anxiety with her shyness and how it clashes with her aspirations to work on television. I based this part of Jennifer's character on my own bouts with social anxiety that started during my last year of high school and went on through university and only started getting better in the past two years. In the last scene we see how important friendships in dealing with personal demons with an emphasis on being honest and open with your friends.

GL: Ok, finally, how would you describe being an indie animator in Canada?

SR: The main difference that I've seen between being an indie animator in Canada versus the U.S is the amount of grant funding available through different government and corporate groups. We've seen cuts to some of those programs and I think it's a shame because it's been a real strength for culture in general in Canada.

-----Stay tuned for the interview with Sinbad about his new short, Jenny 5000-----

The interview was conducted by Grayden Laing and edited by Laura Bolt.