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Eric Power. Desire is power

Author: Luisa Bernal

Section: LAB

Date: 09.2011

 

I get the impression that Eric Power had fun playing during his childhood and teen years. I also get the impression that he has decided to be an nonconformist, stay outside the system, and work hard of his own accord to end up doing what makes him happy for a living. What is best of all is that the game seems to have gone his way, and his animations have faithful followers all around. In this interview, we take a closer look at his inspirational career and his contagious enthusiasm.

 

I’ve read in your website that you’re a self-taught animator but how did you start to show your work and have contacts to make a living from your hobbie?
I started out animating short little cartoons in a variety of styles. I tried my hand at traditional hand drawn animation, made a few claymations, and attempted some digital stuff as well. After a few years I ended up with a good handful of short films that I started sending to local film festivals. After screening at a few fests my confidence level increased and I decided it was time to try to make a real living out of it.

I made two feature length documentaries that contained a high amount of animation and sent them off to a bunch of film festivals. By this time the work was getting better and my confidence as an editor, animator, and director was high. After I finished my second feature film “Night People: seize the night”, I approached a band that I am friends with and asked them if I could do a music video for them. I did it just for the sake of the art and basically to have fun. I had such a good time making it I decided to do yet another one for my friend Seth Bedford as a thank you for making the score for Night People. By having examples of what I could do in the world of music videos, bands started gaining interest in my work. That year (2007), I made videos for 4 more bands and got accepted to SXSW 2008 for my video for Hey La La’s song “Art of Toys”.

 

 

My work spread through word of mouth. Most of my early videos were local bands from Austin Texas. Eventually my online presence grew and reached other cities and bands. To this date I have made 31 animated music videos, the most recent of which should be coming out any day now.

What is your creative process?
My creative process depends on the project I am working on at the time. If I am making one of my cut paper animations it all starts with color choice and art design. I usually have a good sense of what I want to say with my film before I begin. I will have a loose idea of what happens in the story and move on from there. Once I have my visual design figured out I get to making everything I will need for the animation. After that is is simply a matter of hard work and some good animating. Sometimes while editing or shooting I will alter my original concept to fit in some new ideas. I like to leave room for improvisation during the whole process. The best ideas usually emerge during production rather than all up front.

Could you find a conexion point for all your works? Is there a personal hallmark?
If you look at my work you will find some themes emerge. I seem to be very interested in telling the story of innocent characters who get caught up in dangerous and exciting predicaments. I also love to animate monsters. Lately I’ve been creating a bunch of animations based on nostalgia and popular culture. I’m at the point in my life where I can look back to my childhood and gain inspiration from the many facets of culture that have made me who I am today. For instance, my Mario on Paper short gave me an excuse to play around with the world of the mario games, which have had a strong impact on my life.

 

 

My Star Wars music video was also a dream come true. I used to collect all the toys and was completely obsessed with Star Wars as a kid. It was so much fun to basically make my own toys and play with them. That is almost how I see animation. I’m like a kid playing with action figures. Only now I am not confined to what is on the store shelves… I can make it myself.

 

 

Is there a project you feel specially closed to?
I am beginning production on a feature length samurai film next month. I don’t have much money and am looking for investors, but this project means so much to me I know I have to get working on it no matter what. This will be my very first feature length animated film, so I am basically living and breathing this project. It takes over my thoughts all the time. I made the short film version “Path of Blood: Demon at the Crossroads of Destiny” earlier this year as a test to see if people would be interested in a crazy paper samurai film. The feedback has been awesome. I recently got accepted to Fantastic Fest 2011, which showcases films in the genres of horror, asian cinema, and generally cult status type films. I am thrilled to be part of the festival, and it further cements my conviction that people are ready for a cut paper samurai feature film.

 

 

Is there any music band you would like to collaborate with?
To be honest I already have my dream team of musicians. I love the bands I have made videos for and I want to continue to work with them on future projects. They are my dream team.

 

 

+ info: Eric Power

 

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