FREDDY ARENAS ANIMATES A NEW HBO DOCUMENTARY
HBO Docs invited WNW Member Freddy Arenas to collaborate on directing the animated inserts for their documentary Risky Drinking, directed and produced by Ellen Goosenberg. Freddy's creative contributions help illustrate the scientific facts behind the film and the hypothetical situations within it. Below, we talk to Freddy about his creative style and process, as well as the creative challenges of this brief.
Tell us a little bit about your creative background. Who is Freddy and how did he get here?
I'm an independent director focusing on animation and starting to explore the live action world.
I was born in Caracas, Venezuela where I also went to school for visual communication. I've always being interested in animation and storytelling but that wasn't my school's focus, so I tried to learn everything I could on my own by reading articles and books as well as doing software tutorials online.
As soon as I graduated I started a small motion graphics studio, which helped me put everything I've learned to practice. After two years, I decided to moved to New York, the center of the motion graphics industry. My experience in NY has been amazing. I've had the opportunity to work at some of the most interesting studios including Buck and the Google Creative Lab.
For the past three years I've been working independently directing and producing projects for clients such as The New York Times, California Sunday Magazine, Netflix, and HBO Documentaries, among others.
How would you describe your creative style? Do you recognize a signature style that links all of your projects, or do you try to excuse yourself and approach each project as its own entity?
I think there's a certain way in which I approach projects that spill over across all of my work. I tried to find the right solution for each project, but as an independent director most of the times the clients come to me for "my style" either narratively or graphically so in a way, my approach already fits the project.
I'm constantly exploring new techniques to expand my skill set and find new ways to tell stories, so I have something else to offer to clients and to keep myself motivated as a creative. I share the experiments that come out of this on Instagram and Tumblr .
How did you come to animate an HBO Doc?
Ellen Goosenberg, the producer and director of the film, had seem this piece for The New York Times and thought I would be a good fit for the documentary. She wanted to include animation within the film to explain certain scientific facts and some hypothetical situations.
Can you tell us a little bit about your process for this project? What were some of the challenges?
It was amazing working with Ellen and the rest of the people involved in the film. They are amazing professionals and the way they set up the project allowed me to developed my vision and really craft the piece to a point where I was totally happy with the final result. In the motion graphics industry things move really fast and sometimes projects leave my hands when I still feel I could keep working on polishing them.
It was challenging to translate the emotion of the film into animation. I think Ellen created a really emotional and complex film, so it was interesting to find a way to carry that mood into animation.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Just want to thank again Ellen Goosenberg for inviting me to be part of her film and to HBO Documentaries for the great platform and their interest in creating this kind of content.