Creative Lives Podcast — Feel like you deserve it: Anna Ginsburg on self-belief and finding your voice
Earlier this week we ventured to production company Strange Beast in London to catch up with animator and director Anna Ginsburg, where she was working on her latest project. She talked to us about her process, the importance of self-belief as a young woman in the industry, and how she first got a foot in the door.
Freelance Animator and Director (2012 –present)
BA Animation, Edinburgh College of Art (2009–2012)
Anna graduated with a degree in animation from Edinburgh College of Art in 2012, and has since grown an expansive and varied body of work that includes a range of techniques – from live action and hand-drawn 2D films to intricate stop-motion work.
Fresh out of university, her first music video for Bombay Bicycle Club won a BAFTA at the New Talent Awards, becoming a springboard for her ongoing work with music acts. Collaborating with artists like Loyle Carner, Disclosure and Lucy Rose, her work also includes creating tour visuals.
“You just need to feel like you deserve it, because I felt like I deserved it.”
In 2016, her animated documentary ‘Private Parts’, commissioned by It’s Nice That and Channel 4, was met with critical acclaim and screened at film festivals across the world. It was also the topic of a great Nicer Tuesdays talk, which you can see here.
Anna’s work regularly broaches themes that mean a lot to her, from discussing sexuality to young peoples’ views on politics, with a fun, relatable approach to serious matters. Within her brilliantly comic and absurdist scenes, she’s brought gossiping cartoon genitals to life, and captured a sinking Theresa May in a jar of mayonnaise.
While she predominantly works for music clients, Anna has also collaborated with brands such as Reebok, Arm and Hammer and Selfridges. A project produced for the latter saw her join forces with illustrator Sara Andreasson to tackle the issue of sustainability and wastage in fashion.
Anna now also works in universities as a tutor herself, and has noted a disconnect in the proportion of male and female students compared to industry; “Often there will be around 75% women on the animation courses to 25% men. Yet in the industry, there will be two female directors to every 10 in a production company.” She also shares the impact this imbalance can have on her experience as a director:
“On a shoot, when the call sheet’s read out, there’s a moment of reeling [from the crew] because I’m a young woman. You often start on the back foot, so you want to be more macho, but you lose energy trying to be something you’re not. But I do think that’s changing a little bit.” Her wisdom for young women wanting to take on directing roles? “You just need to feel like you deserve it, because I felt like I deserved it.”
“Sometimes the only way to work out what you like is to turn everything on airplane mode, and allow yourself the space and quiet to start making.”
Even though she got off to a flying start, Anna describes her challenging early years in the industry – moving back in with her mum in South London and contacting as many agencies as she could, to little response. She also imparts some stellar tips to any budding filmmakers on staying focused.
“Don’t look at too many other people’s work. You can get lost scrolling on Instagram, become overwhelmed and therefore paralysed. Sometimes the only way to work out what you like is to turn everything on airplane mode, and allow yourself the space and quiet to start making.”