Cape Town based, boutique style animation studio Lung Animation is a well-established creative shop that specialises in both large and small scale jobs in the fields of animation, visual effects, and character design and development, to name just a few of their skills. With numerous years of experience in handling local and international projects both on set and behind the monitor, Lung has mastered balancing technical ability and artistic direction. Whether they’re imagining how enthusiastic eBucks would look and behave, designing a dejected devil or animating an over-buff cyclist showing off, the projects they’ve done are great examples of talent, creativity and attention to detail.
As they celebrate the launch of their new website, we asked founders Arri Reschke and Claudio Paven about Lung’s inception, the highs and lows they have faced since, and their exciting plans for the future.
What were you doing before Lung?
We met when we were both working at The Refinery. From there, we moved onto Black Ginger for a few years before we decided to open up Lung Animation.
How and why did you start the company?
We needed the freedom and to make our own rules. So we left on good terms and luckily, we managed to secure a big job as we started Lung which gave us the initial capital to set ourselves up.
Please introduce us to your team.
Jean is the voice, producer and the reason we are organised. Arri is our soft spoken all round talent and maker of lists, Claudio is not so good with lists but he seems to like node graphs, bicycles and humour, Alistair is our motion graphics expert and ever-expanding talent!
What’s the story behind the name?
We wanted a four letter word – no, not that word! The truth is that there happened to be a great song playing frequently on the radio called “Like a Lung’’ by the Swedish band, The Knife. We figured that there were two of us setting up the company, and every living creature has two lungs. We can also say cheesy things like we can breathe life into your projects…Nah. But in all honestly there was no particular reason – the name was short and looked good.
What have been some of the highlights and challenges of running an animation company in South Africa?
The industry is quite small so even as a small(ish) studio we get to do some pretty big projects which is always a highlight. We’ve had the privilege to work on some really exciting projects with some great national and international clients.
There are always daily challenges like shrinking budgets along with turnaround times as well as more studios all going for the same piece of pie. But, that said – the daily challenges keep us on our toes. One of the biggest challenges though is that it’s tricky to justify the value of a non-tangible product to clients as most people don’t understand what we do, but we like to keep it that way.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own creative business?
Rather make craft beer! Or, just think long and hard about going out on your own. You really, like really, need to work hard and try figure out where you can stand out. No use going in and doing the same thing as everybody else.
How do you stay inspired and where do you look to for fresh ideas?
We generally just can’t imagine doing anything else other than what we do now. We combine all the things we love in life, and incorporate it into our work. We take chances, try new things and love a challenge. People are important, and we love people so communication is key. We’re constantly researching, reading and investigating to try and stay ahead of the game! Plus, we just have fun.
What are you working on at the moment?
A few surprises…
Any exciting plans for the near future that you’d like to share?
We recently bought Nuke studio (cost us a kidney but we only need lungs) and we plan on making a little finishing suite that will be a little more client friendly than our current set up is. We’re also planning global domination…but that’s another interview.