Meet Jake: video wizard, proud dad and owner of Otto, one of the famous UK office dogs.
Can you tell us about your role at Just Global (previously Enigma)? And how long you have been at the company?
I’ve been with Enigma since 2016, leading the department and working across all aspects of video production. We’ve grown our live action capabilities by investing in some great kit, but my real passion lies with motion graphics and 3D animation. I’m a pop-culture geek at heart, so try to bring an element of that into all video projects. My background is in fine art, photography, and graphic design, so I’ve got a pretty good eye for detail and conceptual design. If I’m not on a shoot, I’m sitting at my desk pushing my graphics card to its limit.
You worked on the launch video for the merger. Are you excited by the news and the potential new work which will come your way?
I’m always excited by the idea of new or different work. I want to push myself as much as I can, trying new techniques and experimenting with exciting new software. New clients mean new relationships, and an opportunity to “sell-in” what I’m most passionate about.
Favorite project and why?
As someone who has never truly grown up, few things make me happier than robots or spaceships. One of the latest projects I’ve been working on gave me the opportunity to create an epic space adventure connoting themes of curiosity, teamwork, and ownership. Pitching the concept to the client was terrifying because I was so passionate about the idea, but I like to believe that people pick up on that excitement, and it becomes infectious. Getting the green light to go ahead and working on it over the past few weeks has been one of the highlights of my career. (Photos to be shared once campaign is set live. Exciting times ahead!)
You are the proud owner of one of the famous office dogs, Otto. How is he adapting to the new way of life since COVID?
Otto is 100% missing his friends from the office. He’s also developed a terrible habit of scrounging for food and goes loopy for scrambled egg – a habit I blame solely on John Langstone.
The few times I have met anyone from the office since lockdown, he’s been so excited he hasn’t known what to do with himself!
Other than walking Otto, you are quite the musician and Lego fan, have you learnt any new songs on the guitar recently or built any cool Lego projects with Dex your son?
I am certainly no musician, but working from home – and waiting for things to finish rendering – has allowed me to learn a few songs on my ukulele! My son and I are building our own Lego Batwing, because we can’t justify the cost of the official one! It’s one of my favourite pastimes and gives us the chance to bond over a shared interest.
We know you love scary films. Do you have any recommendations?
I love a scary film! For a long time, I’d search out the most horrific thing I could find, and at the peak of that pursuit, I found a film called Martyrs. After I watched that I had to take a break from horror for a while. More recently I’m revisiting classic body-shock horror like The Reanimator and The Thing – the latter being one of my all-time favourites.
What keeps you motivated during the day, especially seeing as the UK is back in lockdown once again? Music? Creativity? Podcasts? Children?
I listen to a lot of podcasts, audiobooks and music. If I don’t have my headphones on, I like to be as creative as I can – experimenting with new plugins and software, drawing and playing guitar (and ukulele). Otto (my dog) keeps me active, and my kids are a constant source of entertainment!
Keeping them healthy and happy is pretty motivating…
How do you stay relevant with updates?
I don’t want to fall behind, so I do a daily search for inspiration. I’ve got a few sites I like to use as my main fount of creativity – Motionographer being chief amongst them. It’s pretty easy to get a sense of what’s popular, or what’s on the way to becoming popular. Anything I like – I try it myself. On top of that, Enigma have been great at offering me opportunities to learn new skills and develop those I already have. Training has never been denied to me. Knowing that gives me the confidence to tackle any project that comes my way.
What do you see trending and what have you recently learned in video?
I’ve seen a real influx of cel animation over the last year. It’s been made much easier with the help of modern computers and software, but it’s still incredibly labour-intensive and boasts real talent, as it requires the animator to have a great eye for design as well as motion. Contrary to this, with the recent developments in third-party GPU renderers (Redshift, Arnold, Octane etc), physically accurate 3D animations are within any motion designer’s grasp.
What do you think it takes to be successful at Just Global and within the video team?
I think honesty and a clear passion for what you do goes a long way. It’s easy to identify those who are willing to go the extra mile, and those tend to be the people who make it.
If you can sum up your time at the company, what three words would you use?
Enlightening. Inspiring. Familial.
We know you recently worked on a great video piece for World Mental Health Day. Tell us about this.
Mental Health awareness is something which is really important too me, and something I hold close to my heart. It was great to work on a project for mental health awareness week, where Enigma (at the time) supported us in creating a short film, as well as urging anyone at anytime to speak out about the struggles they may be having – especially at this difficult time.
I’m proud to work in an environment that supports people through struggles, whether physical or mental, and I’m glad Just seems to be no different!