Q & A | Animation Director Sophie Koko Gate

20/01/16

Sophie is an animation director freelancing and represented by Beakus. Her unique, graphic style is hypnotic, and blends influences from both 90’s cartoons, Picasso, and African design. 

Where are you currently based?

I recently moved out of a studio in London that I shared with my best friend Rachel Sale, we sat opposite each other and also lived together and are in a band together called John Daker. One week we ate mackerel sandwiches every day for lunch. Aside from that week we had a great time. I'm back in bath at the moment spending some time with family and working out where I want to live in the world. London's not cutting it anymore.

Where do you think would be more ideal to live?

This year a lot of friends moved to Berlin. I'd like to be able to live in a city that caters for creatives that are trying to do something a bit different. It seems that the pressure to make enough money to survive in London gives birth to a sort of 'normal' aesthetic.

Congrats with 'Half Wet' winning Video Of The Day. How do you decide the stories to tell and where do you get your ideas from? 

There's a train that runs from Bath to London that I get pretty regularly thanks to my young persons railcard. Around halfway there is a place called didcot parkway, bit of a puzzling station stop on such a major route, the local attraction being a power station once voted the 3rd worst 'Eyesore' in Britain. It's around this area that I generate most of my musings. It helps to have funny friends and listen to science podcasts. If I'm surrounded by interesting things most the time then when I'm suddenly found alone in a dull place, maybe I become interesting?

( We are all born as wet as a banana )

Your films have been screened at SXSW, the BFI London Film Festival, and Slamdance. You have worked for clients that included Nickelodeon, VH1, Dazed & Confused, and Soulwax. What have been the biggest moments in your career so far?

Not sure my 'career' has kicked of yet, but being an animator sometimes has it's perks.. I got to travel with my film a bit. The best trip was going to SXSW and realising that for one week only I could pretend to be part of this weird exclusive animation club - which had some seriously semi famous people in it. It was great to meet people like minded from the other side of the world that I instantly wanted to be friends for life with. 

Any of these you would like to highlight in particular?

 From LA I met Julian PetschekMatt ReynoldsDavid WilsonThe Daniels, and Kirtsen Lepore. All of them I had admired the work of before, and after the initial awkward star struck period I was happy to find out that they were all as nice as their work. Another person who I met while living in New York was Julia Pott - actually the first time I met her we did karaoke together and she sang Private Dancer as if she was possessed. Julia Pott was one of the reasons I started animating so I was more star struck than usual. One of the animators who has actually become my friend for life is Tom Brown who I also met in New York, he is an inspiration to us all....

You graduated from Royal College of Art in London and Central St. Martins, what’s your advice for those peers who are looking to step in your shoes?

Central St. Martins was only good for meeting my pals, an education of other sorts is not guaranteed. I would say to anyone considering animation, that you should go for it, because animation is the secret art form that allows you to be designer, animator, director, producer, artist, illustrator, composer, editor, script writer, actor all in one go. I don't know why everyone isn't an animator. It's the perfect form of expression. Though I guess it's for people who like to be in control. My advice to myself is to be inspired by the past and present but don't reproduce it. Make work from the future that is also relevant now. Use animation to entertain your imagination. Don't get stuck in a style. Be able to discard bad ideas. Sorry for sounding so pretentious, I'm on a train to London with a bottle of wine. Actually just passed didcot parkway! Hahahah 

Check out more work from the amazing Sophie Koko Gate