We continue our on-going series of interviews featuring spectacular filmmakers with this third video of creative director and independent filmmaker, Federico Ponce, as he sheds some light on how to create opportunities for oneself.
Hint: It all comes down to following your passion. Enjoy!
Stay tuned for more from Federico. Upcoming videos include “How Do You Find Work As A Freelancer”, “What Is Motion Graphics”, “Why Create A Graphic Novel For Your Movie” and many more. About Federico Ponce:
Federico Ponce may not yet be a household name outside a tight-knit Motion Graphics circle in Los Angeles, but chances are you know his work nevertheless. As a visual artist and creative director, he has designed the title art for movies like Avengers, Thor, Iron Man, District 9, The Twilight Saga and many more. He has also designed a handful of your favorite movie trailers and directed numerous commercials. And now he’s working on his narrative directorial debut, “Sebastian: The Slumberland Odyssey” – all of which he’ll be telling you more about in the videos we’ll be posting over the next couple of weeks.
Let us know in the comments what you think. And learn more about Federico’s work here.
Read Transcript “How Do You Create Opportunities For Yourself?”
Federico: Always goes back to your heart and your passion. What is really what is moving you to do what you’re doing? And really think about that, and what is it you want to be doing at three in the morning? I’ll give you an example.
Federico: So, I have my personal project, “Slumberland” right? And it’s been long, I’ve been working on it off and on, but there were days when I would work a twelve-hour day at the effects shop, or a motion graphics house, and I would come back home exhausted. I’d been trying to figure out the math behind something that was, whatever – some simulation. And I would come home and I was exhausted.
Federico: I would eat something, and then just out of discipline I would go and sit at my computer and just turn it on and start working on my own project. Before I knew it, I was jazzed, man. I was pumped up, I was happy, I was excited because I don’t know how it works, I don’t know what the body does, but if you’re moving out of passion and out of love for what you’re doing you just have endless energy.
Federico: So, going back to how do you create opportunities for yourself? Figure out what it is – don’t worry about the market. Forget the market. Forget the competition. There’s no such thing in my mind as competition. Like, that’s stupid. It’s like saying bananas and apples are competing for flavor. That’s really stupid. Everybody’s got something unique to offer. The only competition is with yourself. That’s it. Everybody else is just there to complement you. That’s it.
Federico: And you’re here to complement everybody else. It’s not a race of me against you, it’s a race of how do I make yourself better and how to you make me better? So from my perspective, how do you create opportunity for yourself is when you’re done with your work you go back home and you say, “What is it that I’m passionate about?” and then you pursue that. You pursue that in your free time.
Federico: I love water. I love the way water works, I love the way light bounces in water. I’m going to get crazy on this and I’m going to become the best real flow artist in LA. And you go ahead and you do that. But you do it out of love. You don’t do it out of the market. You do it out of your passion. For me, one of the things that really drives me, like really aside from storytelling and all the things that we’ve talked about, is light. I am in wonder. I wake up every day and I look out my window and I see those little particles of dust and I’m just amazed.
Federico: This is my mind, okay? So I start thinking, “Oh, my God! I wonder what the diffraction of the light is and I wonder how these particles are hitting these particles and bouncing off and creating this….” And then I go surfing and I’m looking at the water and I’m like, “Oh, my God! How many rate tracers are going in here, and what is the diffraction of what…?” And this is all rendered in real time, you know? And I’m just freaking out about light, and I love it.
Federico: How does the light come in and penetrate your skin and sort of refract and reflect in different ways and gets absorbed and subsurface scattering? And how does it scatter and bounce back? Color theory. You know, I love the way you and I can be seeing this color and we could be seeing something slightly different because we have different cells in our eyes. And we have a different human experience because of it. So, what I did is I took that passion and that curiosity, I think that’s a key word – curiosity – and I just took it upon myself to learn every single render engine that is out there. And not just learn the buttons, learn how did the programmers achieve these solutions? What were they thinking?
Federico: Getting into a little bit of programming myself, like how can I program it? What is the language? What is the code that I can create my own materials and control the light inside the machine a little better?
Federico: So, to land all of this again, it’s just how do you create those opportunities? Find that passion, carry it, keep training it, keep training, keep training. Always update your skills, always be at the forefront of technology. It’s very difficult, but every year there’s a new release of every single piece of software. And with every release come new tools. Know the tools. They will make you faster, they will make you better.
Federico: Write your own tools. If you’re not into coding, get into coding. It’s really powerful. Really, really powerful. And so what starts happening is, let’s say you have some down time and you create your personal project. Put it on Beam Me Up, calls the attention of somebody, you get a job because of that.
Federico: Collaborate a lot. Collaborate. If you’re not working, and you collaborate with your friends, you create a short, then you’re expanding your network with them, then all of you are also outputting work that’s going to be seen. So always be doing something that is going to be seen. Always. And it takes time. Time and patience. But you’ve just got to keep doing it.
Federico: Balance that with a good life, you know. It’s hard, it’s very difficult. Don’t also, you know, just go crazy and not have a life because at the end of the day we are artists and designers to talk about life. So we need a life.
Federico: And then as far as I’m concerned, I’ve always been too curious. I’ve always been, my mind is going about a hundred miles per hour every day. It’s very exhausting. I don’t know how my friends and my wife put up with it. I have a new idea every day. But, you know, what I did is like sometimes, sometimes the jobs that I do are not entirely satisfying and that’s okay. I don’t have that expectation because some, not every single project has to be award winning.
Federico: But what I do is I go home and work on my own project and this is the, one of these projects is the “Sebastian” project. I’ve been on it for eight years. I wrote it, I directed the trailer for it. I am writing a graphic novel for it. I’m working with some illustrators to bring some of these ideas to life. So it’s a full thing. But what I try to do is I try to, I try to, whatever I learn from the professional field, I try to apply it and whatever I learn from this thing I try to apply it, so it’s this circle of creativity. And that’s why I’m not done with it, because it just, you know keeps improving.