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Interview with Angela Poschet, Production Supervisor on "Isle of Dogs"

Angela Poschet. Source: http://en.animarkt.pl/masters/masterclasses/

“I have worked for many different producers and production companies based in different European countries, and I’ve had to adapt to the specific needs for each production,” Angela Poschet—a veteran in the stop motion industry, whose credits include production supervisor of Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, head of scheduling of Tim Burton’s Oscar®-nominated film Frankenweenie, director of photography of Bob the Builder, as well as numerous others credit on feature films, television series, and commercials—tells Stop Motion Geek. “Therefore, you have to be very open and you have to approach each production individually to get it up and running for their needs and the capacity they can deal with.”

Poschet began her career in the stop motion industry in 1998 as the director of photography on the preschool series Bob the Builder for BBC UK—on which she worked for three years across thirty-nine episodes. She proceeded to work as a director of photography on various productions including the Dutch preschool series Miffy and Friends, the Canadian/German/Korean children’s series Dragon and Ludovic, Haunted Hogmanay and Glendogie Bogey for BBC Scotland, and the stop motion feature film Sandmaennchen – Abenteuer im Traumland (Sandman and the Lost Sand of Dreams).

A still from Frankenweenie

Only in 2010, after working in the industry for over a decade, did Poschet shift her attention towards taking on a more managerial position in the industry with her work as the production manager and scheduling supervisor of O Apóstolo (The Apostle), and then as the head of scheduling of Frankenweenie, the line producer of the two Norwegian films Solan og Ludvig – Herfra til Flåklypa (Louis & Luca – The Big Cheese Race) and Solan og Ludvig – Jul i Flåklypa (Louis & Luca – Christmas in Pinchcliffe), and the VFX production supervisor of the German-Australian CG film Maya – The Bee Movie, and the production manager of the Oscar®-nominated short film Revolting Rhymes. Most recently she was the production supervisor of Isle of Dogs, on which she worked from a very early stage to create a budget breakdown, production schedule, and shooting schedule, the latter of which she worked closely with the film’s producer, line producer, and consulting producer to monitor along with the progress of the set and puppet fabrication across the film’s entire production.

In October, Poschet gave a masterclass at the ANIMARKT Stop Motion Forum—with whom Stop Motion Geek collaborated to organize this interview, the third in a series of interviews with this year’s ANIMARKT keynote speakers—in Lodz, Poland entitled “How to plan and schedule stop motion production to not lose money and do it successfully,” in which she focused on her work on Isle of Dogs.

Angela Poschet teaching her masterclass at ANIMARKT Stop Motion Forum. Photo courtesy of Iwona Buchcic.

In our interview, Angela Poschet discusses her beginnings in the stop motion industry, what personality traits and skill-sets make for the best line producers and production supervisors, and her biggest tip to those looking to schedule a stop motion production without going over budget. She also tells us about creating a budget breakdown for Isle of Dogs, and the challenges Wes Anderson’s practical effects-centered approach posed to the production.

You can read our interview below in full.

A.H. Uriah: Hello, Angela! Thank you so very much for doing this interview! It’s a great pleasure to have you here!
To start off, can you tell us a bit about your journey to having the illustrious career you have today, as an award-winning line producer, production supervisor, and—among other things—consultant for animation productions in Europe, with numerous credits including many highly acclaimed animated features, short films, and television shows?


Angela Poschet: In 1998 I started my career in the Animation industry as a DoP (director of photography) on the very first ‘Bob the Builder’ show, produced by Hit Entertainment and shot at HOT Animation in Manchester. From 2009 onwards I have been working in the Production Department, since I felt that this field suits my interest very well.

A still from Isle of Dogs

A.H.: What skills, knowledge, and personality traits would you say are needed to work as line producer or production supervisor of projects in the stop motion medium?

AP: I have worked for many different producers and production companies based in different European countries, and I’ve had to adapt to the specific needs for each production. Therefore, you have to be very open and you have to approach each production individually to get it up and running for their needs and the capacity they can deal with. The challenge is always setting up the shooting studio—because you need to find the right facilities, which needs to be turned into a stop-motion shooting studio.

Revolting Rhymes poster

A.H.: Recently, at the stop motion forum ANIMARKT in Lodz, Poland, you gave a masterclass entitled “How to plan and schedule stop motion production to not lose money and do it successfully,” where you discussed your work as production supervisor of Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, planning and monitoring the shooting timeline and the set and puppet fabrication progress during the whole production.
If you had to boil your talk down, what is the most vital secret to planning and scheduling a stop motion production successfully, without losing money?


AP: Most important is that the production company is aware to get as early as possible an analyses of their script done to get an overview of the amount of workload they will face to have the opportunity to way it up against their budget and timeline, which is most of the time already defined beforehand.

A still from Miffy and Friends

A.H.: To quote something else you say in your interview with Animationweek, “Currently, everyone tends to do effects in post-production and not do it in camera, but Wes was insisting to do all effects in stop-motion and it took months of animation testing to find out which material was the best to use for water, clouds, rain and fire.”
How aware were you before creating your first breakdown for the film of the extent to which Wes wanted to incorporate in-camera, practical effects, and how did Wes’s approach affect your “breakdown,” as well as the production as a whole?


AP: At the start when I was analyzing the script I was not aware about the shooting method, this came when we were starting to talk through each sequence shot-by-shot. However I had already planned to have a team of assistant animators to shoot background animation and elements parallel to the primary animation, which included effects as well.

A poster for Frankenweenie

A.H.: What would you say a good producer/production supervisor relationship looks like?

AP: The main thing when working within a team is that you trust your partner and that you’re trusted by them and are respected by your collaborators. Equally important is that everyone is listening to each other and always aiming to produce the best end result within the given time and budget.

A still from Bob the Builder

A.H.: Across your career, you’ve worked in many different roles—among them those of DoP, camera operator, production supervisor, scheduling supervisor, studio director, line producer, and consultant for animation.
What advantages has performing so many roles across dozens of productions given you?


AP: The advantage I have in working in different roles and positions on various projects is that I do understand the work of those departments and can therefore judge their workload to plan the schedule. If I feel or see that I can be helpful in advising someone to get their job better done, I offer my help, but I’ve always been lucky to work with a team which has been very good doing their jobs.

A still from O Apostolo (The Apostle)

A.H.: What tips do you have for staying organized, and keeping track of a production’s progress and crewmembers?

AP: Basically you have to monitor your production progress on a daily and weekly base against your defined targets and milestones to allow you to react in a fairly quick way if things are getting delayed.

A still from Dragon

A.H.: What—if you’re allowed to say—are you working on now, and what kind of project would you like to work on in the future?

AP: I’m currently consulting some feature projects within Europe in various states and I’m always interested in feature projects.

Angela Poschet teaching her masterclass at ANIMARKT. Photo courtesy of Iwona Buchcic.

You can explore more of Poschet’s work by visiting her LinkedIn, IMDb, and website. You can also go here to read her interview with Animation Week about her work on Isle of Dogs.

This article is the third in an ongoing series of articles Stop Motion Geek organized with several of this year’s prestigious keynote speakers from ANIMARKT Stop Motion Forum, about which you can learn more by visiting their website, Facebook, and Instagram.

You can read the first article in this series—an interview with the acclaimed director and animator Barry Purves, most well known for his groundbreaking short films Next, Operavox, Achilles, Gilbert & Sullivan: The Very Models, Hamilton Mattress, Rupert and the Flying Dragon, Rupert Bear, Plume, and Tchaikovsky – An Elegy—by going here. In our interview, Purves discusses his outlook now as a more seasoned veteran of the industry on his critically acclaimed work, his philosophy when it comes to creating art, and what’s next for him.

You can read the second article in this series—an interview with Carlos Bleycher, a scriptwriter, content consultant, and story editor on numerous animated, children-oriented content in his native Spanish as well as English for the likes of Disney xD, Cartoon Network LA, and Discovery Kids—by going here. In our interview, Bleycher discusses nearly every facet of the industry—from the simple-yet-effective philosophies he recommends aspiring screenwriters follow to improve their writing, to gloriously indulgent advice about the “nuts-and-bolts” of the craft itself, in everything from creating and developing characters to structuring a story to writing animated and children’s oriented programming.

As always, special thanks goes out to Iwona Buchcic, ANIMARKT’s PR and marketing manager, for all the time she poured into arranging these interviews and making sure everything went along smoothly.

Stay tuned for upcoming interview articles in this series and others by subscribing to the Stop Motion Geek email newsletter via the “subscribe” button at the top right corner of our homepage, by following us on Facebook @StopMotionGeek, or by following us on Instagram @stop.motion.geek.blog.

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