Pascal: Okay that’s (inaudible), the more (inaudible) is that it wasn’t because of Flash, it was because through my school, the mentoring we focused on was storytelling, storytelling not just in single images but also like over a period of time – sequential art. So when I started doing the boards, I realized how easy it was for me to do them because it was a natural thing. I did not have to learn how much (inaudible) with the job to do which was storyboarding the whole cartoon is like, there was no zero issue to (inaudible) all the cartoons over there and the director had asked me to storyboard their cartoon because I was so fast at doing that.
Chris: That’s in Portland?
Pascal: That was in Portland. And I was playing around so much with it that I was able to like come up with so many different ideas and ways of like dealing with stories and continuity and transitions which is something I really like doing. And then when I was in Portland I was doing the animatics and that also the beginning, that was a little bit directed but then they realized it was so much easier to let me go, to like let me loose on that because I was getting the job done. It was a lot easier for me to do my first task and then the director would come in and say, “Oh, that looks great, let’s change this and this, and something down here maybe try something different there,” and it was great. And then within…when I was at Bend I think it took about four months for the company to go from four people to twenty people and be fully saturated with work that they couldn’t handle the work that came in. And this one day this pitch for a malls commercial came in and Shell, the guy who was supposed to pitch it, Shell White, an amazing guy, came up to me and says, “You know what, Pascal? I don’t have time to do this commercial, if you want to pitch it and you get it, you can direct it.” And I pitched it, I got it, and they (inaudible), they let me direct it. The only thing I (inaudible), the client didn’t know who I was, I didn’t have any commercials on my reel because that was obviously my first one, so Shell said he was going to co-direct it with me and he started co-directing and half way through, he said he couldn’t do it anymore because he was too committed to something else, that I would be the only director on it. So basically, he kind of screwed over the clients, but it turned out that the commercial came out great, they loved it so much that there was a whole campaign out of them and I directed them all. And after that, just directing.
Chris: Man, that’s great!
Pascal: Those guys, I mean they worked really, really hard. They were extremely good about helping me, that was amazing. They did a lot of teaching.
Chris: Yeah, I’ve been the beneficiary of that in pretty much every in house job I’ve had, almost always most of the artists at any given studio have just taken an interest in me. I think there’s this theme of curiosity not just in your story but in most of the artists I’ve gotten to know and I think there’s something….I think to be an artist is to be curious and when some young guy comes in and he’s curious about how things are done, a lot of artists can’t resist but answer his questions because they see that in themselves as well.
Pascal: Absolutely. I also think it’s not just…I mean there’s two ways of doing things – there’s the technical aspect and then there’s the whole thought process which from my personal interest, I prefer very technical aspect. I think technical aspect is all great and nice, the thought process that goes beyond is great because sometimes you see fans and you’re like wow, what must the guy be thinking when he was doing that? That amazes me, what the connection in the mind does, it’s amazing.
Chris: Yeah, that’s something Brian McDonald, author of Invisible Ink, he talks about his gap closing and how we limit ourselves as artists when we immediately try to answer something instead of responding with a question or responding with kind of an open-ended curiosity about something. When you immediately try and connect, that’s why that happens, then there’s this danger of sacrifices or forfeiting, or sabotaging discovery that would then be inspiring to give you a new idea, or a new approach, or a new method.
Pascal: Right, that’s a good point. I can relate to that, I can talk with you right now and I’m sure like an hour after this conversation I will be thinking oh now I’ve got to shoot this and this and this, oh my god, I shouldn’t have said that, like ahhh! But you know, on the moment, that’s the truth for that particular moment, that’s what works. That’s at least how I see it, every day I do a daily sketch and some days they are better than others and sometimes it’s because I’m more inspired than others, other times it’s also because I have my kids in the back of my chair just pulling my chair around and like playing with my mouse while I’m drawing so I just…and I’m thinking well, today this is as good as it gets and this is just as valid and the day where I actually have no interruptions where I’m focused 100% and the next day I’m extremely tired. It’s the same thing, it’s just at that moment, this is what I can do.
Pascal: And if I had another hour, I’d listen to it a different way. So at that moment, that’s all I’m going to be able to do. It does help me a lot when I work to think about things like that.
Chris: I’ve been on a mission to work less for a year now and only in the last two months really has that started to change significantly and it’s about a change being an even bigger way because we’ve just actually hired our first full timer. The point being, I’ve realized that obviously there are a lot of times where I could just kind of squeeze in a couple more hours or force myself to just push a little harder and there have been a few times where I’ve opted to go no, turn the computer off, go to bed and get a good night’s sleep, get up the next morning and I realize that over time I become more productive in the same way that you’re talking about which is, I’ll get the bigger pieces…yeah sure there might be a thousand details that didn’t get worked on that day, but the big pieces I’m more productive with when I actually keep the boundaries up and I sort of like let the rest of my life…
Pascal: Oh yeah, I agree 100% with that. I (inaudible) because of my wife, she is the one who forced me to slow down. When I was at Bent, we broke up (we were dating at the time), we broke up because basically I was working all the time and she was in San Francisco so I would fly here every two weeks to be with her but be here to be so tired and wouldn’t do anything and she wanted to go out. And long distance, the work, and everything it just didn’t work. I definitely was not the most sympathetic character because I was just way into my work and after a while of being at Bent and being without her, it dawned on me that wait, what am I doing? I remember this one time coming home and I think it was two or three o’clock in the morning on a Saturday because I had been at work trying to finish a commercial and thinking to myself what am I doing? I’m here making all this money and stuff and I’m coming home at night and there’s absolutely no one at home. What am I doing? It was really depressing. Even if the work and stuff was great, I remember sometimes being on the weekend and just hoping for Monday to come around so I could go back to work. So I would go and work on the weekends as well even if there was no one there just to be doing stuff. And that was just not fun, and being with Katrina, when I stopped Bent and moved permanently to San Francisco, I still had those habits of like working a lot and it took my wife unplugging the computer while I was working and other things like that to really make me stop. And then when we had Lily, our first daughter, that’s really when my life turned around. I know (inaudible) that’s going to change your life but it does, it changes your perception of life and the perception of what is important in life and it really helped me readjust and work less and realize that by working less physical hours, I was able to produce just as much work and better work in most cases. And you know, enjoy my life a whole lot more, and that’s one of the reasons in my freelance and I love being a freelancer because I can actually spend time with my family.
Chris: Pascal has this way of inspiring his fellow artists by simply being himself. Have the insights that Pascal shared during this first part of the interview changed your perception of yourself as an artist in any way? If so, go to ChrisOatley.com/Pascal-Campion and share your thoughts in the comments. The comment section at ChristOatley.com is always an inspiring after party so I encourage you to come hang out and share your thoughts. Again, ChrisOatley.com/Pascal-Campion. On the next episode of Chris Oatley’s artcast, Pascal and I will discuss fatherhood, family, storytelling, portfolios, art school and Pascal answers questions submitted by my advanced color theory students. And speaking of questions, it’s time for the Q&A segment.