Tell us about yourself and what is your role in Foods?
My name is Muriel, I am originally from Brazil but live in New York City. I graduated in Marketing but was always involved with the film industry in Brazil. Working with films in Brazil can be frustrating since the industry is still growing and doesn’t offer much opportunities so I came to the US to be part of something bigger. I love storytelling and at first wanted to be a director, but when I learned more about the creative side of producing I was captivated.
I like to think of the producer’s role as a big mama. Nurturing and encouraging the talent and making sure that everybody has what they need but at the same time keeping the talent in line – creative, budget and schedule wise. As a producer I help the director maintain the creative vision and make sure that everybody in the team has a say and are being heard.
The producer also consults with the crew to make sure we have the best strategy to accomplish our goals and then manage this strategy, making sure changes happen when they need to and keeping the pipeline moving peacefully throughout the process. Personally, I believe a project really comes to life in the middle of the process when we start seeing some deliverables and everyone is involved and bringing in their inputs and changes. Team work is really important and the producer has a big role in balancing the team and making sure that everybody’s individual talent and strength is brought into the project.
Another big thing is the budget! Yeah, gotta make sure we can afford the bill and how to get the money back to make the investors happy and coming back for the next projects! So the project is an ongoing process even when is already out there.
Foodz is a project where we are working with artists all over the world and under a zero budget. Therefore my biggest task is to make sure we keep on moving forward but at the same time respecting everybody’s schedule and time zones. We have a very small and collaborative crew which makes things way easier. Everybody in this project have been incredible to work with, very accessible and enthusiastic about their work. It has been amazing seeing their ideas come to life!
What is your animation background?
I have always loved animation but used to think that I needed to be an animator to have a role in the industry. That changed when I worked at Blue Sky Studios and saw that there was space for everybody that had a passion for it. So this is how I started and never looked back.
I hope that working as a producer in Foodz helps newcomers realize that they can work with animation even though they are not interested in attaining the software skills to be an animator.
What drew you to animation?
The storytelling, the art, the informal and fun work environment and the incredible people that works in this industry.
What is your favorite animated film?
Beauty and the Beast.
What are you currently working on?
I am developing an animated series called Extraneous about a young woman that discovers she is an alien in a post apocalyptical Earth. Having lots of fun with that. Besides Foodz, I am also working on another short animation called Red Hat based on a real story about a little jewish girl and her family escaping the German invasion on Poland. Other than animated projects, I am in post-production in an incredible documentary about the academy award winner Olympia Dukakis.
what apps/tools you can’t live without?
Trello – Incredible for organizing tasks.
Slack – For keeping the communication in a team easy and in a single place.
Excel – For everything!
Avid Media Composer – For some relaxing time. Its like writing a story with images only. Love that.
What advice can you give aspiring animators and filmmakers who are just starting out?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you admire in the industry to talk about their careers and get advice, you can be surprised on how approachable they can be. Don’t be shy, you only live once!