INTERVIEW - Joel Mackenzie (Rich Aucoin - Yelling in Sleep)

Director: Joel Mackenzie
Rich Aucoin - Yelling in Sleep

Additional Credits 
Animation: Grahaeme Cowie, Morgane Billault, Matthew Shepherd, Tony Mitchell, Murray Bain
Background Artist: Tony Mitchell
Storyboards / Character Design: Joel Mackenzie
Compositing: Murray Bain, James Dalziel

Joel Mackenzie - Short Bio
Throughout my 10 year career, I’ve dabbled in the dark arts of animation and film production. My favourite experiences have always been when a small group of people can come together and make something awesome on their own.

Grayden Laing: What was your reaction when you heard that your video was shortlisted for The Prism Prize?
Joel Mackenzie: Probably a *SPIT TAKE.*
Once the mess was cleaned up, I would transition into a feeling of excitement, when I realized that people other than my mom also enjoyed the video we made. Honestly, it was very unexpected, and we are so appreciative of the love that PRISM PRIZE has shown the video.

GL: If your video wins the $5000 grand prize... where will the money go?
JM: My plan was to throw the sickest pizza party this world has ever known the next time I go back to Halifax for all the little dawgies that worked on the video. Whatever doesn't get spent on “sick pizza partying” would go towards paying people to help on my next short that I am currently developing.

GL: How would you describe your artistic style?
JM: I’m very influenced by world mythologies, graffiti, life in the 90’s, and things I hear at parties. When working on my own stuff, it NEEDS to be fun. I work with a lot of good friends, so you wouldn't want to invite your friend to a horrible production would you? My only hope is that some of that fun comes out in the final product.

GL: How did you become the animation director for this video?
JM: When working with people whose opinions you severely respect, it is easy to be the “quote on quote” animation director. In the group I work with, whoever comes to the table with the idea, directs it.

GL: How was the visual narrative and style created for the music video?
JM: I worked closely with Tony Mitchell in the early days of the video to create a palate for the video that was enticingly Canadian. He tackled Locations and I focused on the characters. We named the resulting palate, “Bacon and Mint Chocolate Chip Ice cream.” A choice was also made to go off model whenever the scene called for it. So in many cases the drawings will go Off model to punch up a joke.

GL: What was the most challenging and gratifying part of creating this animation?
JM: Side projects that you have to chip away at during off time are tricky to stay motivated for. Especially for some of the cool dudes I worked with that would pull a 10 hour day animating, then jump into animating some scenes on my video. I am extremely grateful to my team. One of the greatest moments was screening at the Ottawa Animation Festival. Most of the crew that worked on the video made the trek up for the festival. People were loving it during the screening, so it was nice to be able to share that with the people who worked so hard make the video.

GL: What animation software was used for the animation?
JM: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Flash, Adobe After Effects, Final Cut Pro.

GL: WhoisoneofyourfavouriteCanadiananimators?
JM: I love the work of Cordell Barker. Strange invader makes me laugh every time. Dave Cooper’s work has also been really inspiring. I’m lucky enough to be doing designs on a show he created RIGHT NOW! It’s awesome having to try and draw like someone whose work you enjoy so much.

GL. What is one of your favourite animations or art books?
JM: I am still in love with TekkonKinkreet by Taiyo Matsumoto. The film is great too! I really like the sketch book collective “ Go for the Gold 4,” by Meathaus. So fresh and so clean, clean.

GL: Who is an up-and-coming or relatively unknown Canadian animator that everyone should check out? 
JM: I don’t know if he will appreciate the title of “Relatively UNKNOWN” but my good friend Tony Mitchell is Nova Scotia’s provincial treasure. He has been fearlessly collaborating with me since the first video we put together in 2012. His style is super expressive and uses light really well. So we are a good fit, because I am an idiot.
Check out his Tumblr!

GL: Is there a question I should have asked that I didn’t? 
JM: I think you did a great job.


Twitter: @JoelBot