Hi Steve, thank you for taking the time to talk with Schmooru.
Are you aware that there is a Steve Ogden in Texas who is a member of the Texas Senate?
Yes, it’s unfortunate. Almost as much so as the MTV stuntman I share a nickname with.
If you answered yes, how many times a day do you google your self?
Hmmm. Not in a long time, let’s see… Yikes! Damn you Senator!
Your design reel is really impressive, how did you first get started working with After Effects?
We touched on it a bit in school, but I think it was when I saw the film titling of Kyle Cooper (Se7en) that I got excited about motion and really dug into After Effects myself.
Are you self taught?
Yeah I guess mostly self taught in terms of After Effects itself, but I’m super appreciative of my design education at CCA. It was more about concept and the creative and visual aspects than the tools.
You say on your website “I’m big on stylistic non-monogamy” Stylistic Non-Monogamy could be the title of an article in the New Yorker. . . what do you mean by this? Break it down for us.
Hmm, you’re right. I think I’ll reword that. How about ‘versatility of style’. Basically I’m just saying that… because I tend to approach design problems from a strategic, concept-driven angle, rather than a stylistic or trend-based angle, it has forced me to learn to work in more and more new styles, rather than ‘sticking to what I know’, or using some new effect I got, just because it’s cool. I first think about the message, the audience, the delivery, and then propose visual directions that work well toward those goals.
3D technology in the past few years has grown from professional use to consumer, with 3D televisions, video cameras. . . .etc. Is this technology really here to stay or is it all hype?
It’s definitely not all hype, but it will be interesting to see how it goes. I started doing a lot more stereoscopic work, even for corporate videos and documentaries. I initially thought of stereoscopic as an adrenalin thing, and scoffed at the idea of talking heads, yakking on about this or that “IN 3D!”, but I realized it really does put you closer to the subject and can even make pretty boring information more interesting. It won’t go as quickly the SD to HD shift though – every aspect of stereoscopic work takes a bit of knowledge and skill, it’s not just a switch on the camera. So it’ll take some time, and the technology will continue to morph, and the silly glasses are a big downside.
It’s interesting because a lot of your work has a humanitarian edge to it, do you have a preference in the type of client you work with?
The majority of my clients are probably corporate and entertainment, but I try to show-off more of the do-gooder stuff, because that’s the work I feel best about and that I’d like to get more of. Also that strategy-based thing I mentioned, and my passion for the visual-communication, comes into play with that kind of work. I like working on projects with an actual message more than something that’s just applying the latest design trend to a cliché ad blurb.
Your house is on fire, you have five minutes to grab your belongings, what do you grab?
My fire extinguishers. I have several.
If that fails, my cat, my RAID drives with all my work, and a couple paintings.
You worked a lot with the Obama 08 campaign, can you talk a little about that?
It was kinda like summer camp, except working 16 hours and drinking at bars for most of the rest. Lots of really smart people with very different backgrounds than me. Lots of bonding and camaraderie and the hourly emotional roller-coaster that came along with the latest poll or headline. I designed and animated a lot of little special purpose web videos, like for specific constituencies. I got to co-direct a couple bigger projects that got a lot of play, and that felt good. The interesting thing is how it changed my perspective on politics, I gained a certain patience and tolerance for it. There are so many people with so many different views, even within your own party, it’s like why draw lines around parties in the first place? As much as I disagree with the way things are, I started to feel like they’re exactly how they are supposed to be, at this moment in civilization.
What advice to you have to aspiring graphic design/after affect gurus?
Hmm, it might sound kinda harsh, but I guess I’d say, if they’re really into the animation/after effects aspect, become an animator, there’s plenty of work and you’ll be valued as a specialist who knows their tools. If they’re really into the design aspect, become a designer, It’s competitive, so be inspired, passionate, dedicated and patient. If you really want to do both, prepare to put in the extra hours for the first few years.
To see Steve Ogden’s work, check out steveo.tv