Jen, a.k.a. “motionsickfx,” recently won first place in the Siemens “Change Your City for the Better” contest. Her video and concept were brilliant, so we asked her to share some words of wisdom.
Rewatch her winning video, “We Can Do Better,” about the traffic and air pollution challenges of Los Angeles here.
Zooppa: Congratulations once again. How does it feel to win a worldwide contest?
Jen: Great! There were quite a few good submissions, so there was definitely competition.
Z: Your concept and production were great. How long did it take you to complete your video?
J: About a week and a half.
I worked on this project with two collaborators. The concept was born out of the one thing we all agreed made living in L.A. a challenge— navigating the city.From there, we came up with an outline that touched on the different issues related to transportation: traffic congestion, a limited oil supply, public transportation, bike paths, and more efficient cars.
Our goal was to tell the story in a way that utilized our collective skill set; the result was a mix of documentary footage and motion graphics. (This is the only time I can ever remember driving straight into traffic on purpose…we needed the footage!)
Z: What is your filming background? School? Where are you from?
J: I’m from New York and went to New York University as an undergrad and studied graphic design and animation. During that time, I also became friends with the people I worked with on the Siemens project. We work together through Motion Sickness, a company I started two years ago.
Motion Sickness initially started out as a way for me and my fellow creatives to offer our talents to production houses and different kinds of artists. But in the past year, we’ve started doing entire productions in-house rather than only offering vfx/graphics work.
Z: What was the best part about making a video for Siemens?
J: It was learning about the potential solutions to our current environmental problems, and the fact that Siemens is actively involved in creating them.
Z: What are the current filmmaking projects you are working on?
J: Currently, we are working on a few projects. Mainly, a 2D animated spec spot for a non-profit organization, and a short comedy.
This past summer, we filmed some music videos and an album promo for singer-songwriter Amy Stroup, as well as a short documentary film, Love Captured, which follows a husband and wife photography team. These are projects that we’ve been responsible for the entire production, from concept and writing through to the full production and post.
Other work we’ve done were primarily clients hiring us for VFX and graphics for short films and feature length films, webisodes, and music videos.
Z: What is your favorite viral video? Some of us here at Zooppa are feline fanatics. Do you watch kitty videos/have any favorites?
J: My favorite viral videos tend to be VFX heavy or animated, like infographics (such as Crisis of Credit by Jonathan Jarvis). But I must say that I am a huge fan of Autotune the News for their Bed Intruder Song.
Z: Any advice for other filmmakers?
J: I would say that filmmaking is a collaboration, so try to find talented and reliable people to work with. Opinions and input from other people are also very important to improving your film and story, so be open to constructive criticism.
Z: Since your win with Siemens, are you working on any projects with Zooppa? What is your favorite contest to date?
J: After Siemens, we submitted a video entry for the Zappos competition. Unfortunately, we didn’t win that one, but it was still a lot of fun. But my favorite Zooppa contest is the Siemens project. This contest was a great opportunity to develop a project on a meaningful topic.
In general, what I like about Zooppa competitions is the fact that they give me the chance to sharpen my skills by creating ads for a wide range of established companies. While my company primarily provides post-production services, Zooppa allows me to stretch creatively—conceptualizing and executing entire ads.