From the beginning, Anna Outridge seemed destined to live a creative life. With an early interest in story-telling, fashion and illustration, this ambitious lady has become an extraordinary ‘Anna-mator’, crafting and producing commercial and personal work that she describes as ‘whimsical’. Even if the theme of her story-telling might be serious, there seems to be a playful approach to Anna’s work.
In person, this gorgeous lady is a ball of energetic fun. So much so, you want to hang out with her all day long… With some exciting goals in the pipeline, it’s clear that Anna is well on her way to paving a bright and creative future for herself both personally and professionally. 
It was such a pleasure to catch up (and giggle) with Anna to talk about creative pursuits, puppy dogs and van-tripping!  

Welcome to 12 Rounds, a series of one-on-one interviews with exceptionally creative people that we’ve had the pleasure of working with at KO Studio. Our network of creative experts reaches far and wide, from photographers to animators, marketeers to food stylists, writers to sound designers, event extraordinaire’s and life facilitators.

Our Creative Director, Miss KO thought it was time to re-connect over a cuppa (or a vino) with these creatives to listen to their creative journey, capture some juicy insights from the industry, and share their key learnings with you (our readers).

This month we are taking 12 Rounds with the very clever and super quirky animator, Anna Outridge.

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How did you become an ‘Anna-mator’. Do you think your name drove the decision?

I didn’t actually connect the name until just now… (laughs). It was completely by accident – I had a lot of different interests. I loved story-telling and fashion. When I studied in the US one of the subjects was Animation. The summer after a semester of animation, I was applying for internships and the one I got was in animation. They trained me up and I’m still working for them now. In hindsight, it makes sense that I would be drawn to this type of role. But, at the time I had enough in my folio to get me a job, and I really ended up enjoying it!

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How would you describe your creative style?

Whimsical and intentionally organic. Usually the content is a mature theme, but I like to package it in a ‘childish’ way.

Whimsical and intentionally organic. Usually the content is a mature theme, but I like to package it in a ‘childish’ way.

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You studied in the USA, before starting your career in NYC. It sounds like the ultimate dream for a creative! What was it like spending those years of development over there?

I absolutely loved it! I went to a really good school and the teachers were amazing. We had access to all these museums and art galleries. New York is a city that pushes you, and keeps you inspired. I felt very privileged to study in NY, and I realised that not a lot of people can just go and study overseas. But my parents supported me to do it. That said, there are other great art schools locally, and I believe you would gain the same skill set as I did. If you can find a great teacher or mentor, I think there are still opportunities to push yourself and take advantage of whatever is around.

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What’s your creative process?

I usually think of what the end point will look like first. How do I want this animation to end…? And then work backwards. It’s also nice to have few surprises in there. I’ll start by writing down ideas, grabbing references on Pinterest, create a story-board and then start animating. It’s really a lot of planning.

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What are the key creative programs you need to be a great animator?

Definitely After Effects. Photoshop, Illustrator and Premier. I use all of those. You need to know the Adobe Suite really well.

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What has been your most fulfilling project to date? Why did you love it some much?

For my thesis I did a short-stop motion film (about 2 minutes long). It was about my Dad and his relationship with his father, and how that impacted the relationship between Dad and me. We wrote the script together and I built all the puppets and sets. We dedicated a year to the project. It was so satisfying, not only was it really personal to me, but I think the story effected the audience in a really positive way.

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What brands or individuals in the industry do you admire the most? How have they inspired your own approach to creativity?

Someone I really love is British animator, Julia Pott. She’s quite young and has a really unique voice, with a great mix of personal work and commercial work in her folio. She’s a 2D animator and has just finished a series for the Cartoon Network. I think she’s really cool and really awesome. I also really like a guy called Mikey Please. He’s a phenomenal stop-motion animator. Everything he does is magical.

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You’re about to set off on a van tour around Australia, with your dachshund ‘Alphonso’ in tow. What will work look like for you during this time?

Not much will change really… Most of my work is already coming in from the US. So, I really just need to take my computer with me and make sure I have Wi-Fi. I’ll just work from wherever I am. That’s the plan. It’s (kind of) what influenced the purchase of the van ‘Vantoni’.  I realised I was able to work from anywhere, so I may as well utilise that and go for an adventure.

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Who is the dream brand? What brand would you have the most fun working on?

Actually, in my first job out of college I had the opportunity to work with ‘Dream Brand – X’. Essentially, we needed to capture the weekly trends and make a stop-motion video for their social media account. The brief would arrive on Thursday and the video had to be written, approved, built, shot, edited and launched by Saturday. Being a stop-motion project, everything was built from scratch. One day my colleague was sick, so I was pulled in to run the project. I remember thinking “I’m going to do the best video ever!”. From that moment on, I ended up being the lead creative for the account. It was amazing to work with a dream brand so young. It was what I would imagine ‘Project Runway’ to be like… You would receive the brief, write your treatment, and wait for approval. You’d stay in the studio overnight to build and shoot everything, and by Saturday, I’d be completely dead. It was really stressful – but fun. 

These days, I’d love to work with brands making a positive contribution to the world, maybe an environmental group (for example).

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In your opinion, what qualities do future Animators require to be successful in your Industry?

90% of the animators I meet are quite patient. And attention to detail is key. When you’re working frame-by-frame, you’re not going to get something straight away, so having patients is really important. You also need to enjoy drawing, making things, and using After Effects (definitely). Be open-minded because the industry changes really quickly. I only work in social media, which wasn’t around when I started College. So, you just don’t know what’s around the corner. Always have an open-mind.

Be open-minded because the industry changes really quickly. I only work in social media, which wasn’t around when I started College. So, you just don’t know what’s around the corner…

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What’s the vision for Anna Outridge? What does success look like?

This is hard because my idea of success has changed throughout my career. At first, I wanted to be the top in my field, and I think I surprised myself at how quickly I was able to grow in my first job out of College. I’d love to create more personal work. Obviously, this doesn’t pay well (laughs)… so to have a balance of commercial work and personal work would be ideal. I think I’ve realised that work doesn’t need to be everything. Going to the beach, hanging out with friends, and having meaningful relationships with people is what I would describe as success. I’m still working things out, but I think going back to a 9-to-5 job isn’t for me. I like being my own boss.

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What song pumps you up before you head into the ring?

I used to listen to the Lorde album non-stop when I was 25. But honestly, it’s audiobooks (laughs). It keeps me really focused if I have a long job to do… I put on an audio book, or a podcast about murder and just go for it! (laughs…)

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See more of Anna’s work…

> Vimeo

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