Syd M Fini

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What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Syd M Fini ,and I’m storyboard Artist at SO! animation,Fictionville Studio and Brave man Media,I worked on two Animation shows at SO! Animation : LEARN OUR HISTORY and MONEY BRIGHT KIDS and We are going to start a new show soon . At Fictionville Studio I’m working on character designing and storyboards for a shadow play based on a Persian mythology .  And some Live action Commercials at Brave Man Media.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I started with a feature film . I got lucky and I did a test for a director who needed storyboard artist .I was 20.I got the job and I dropped out college. The craziest part was he wanted me to be on the set everyday which is weird for a storyboard artist .It was a big production movie Called : Farzand-e-Sobh( and the Director was Behrooz Afkhami. He planted to get just one shot every day at Dawn or golden hour in the sun set . So I spent almost 3 years on that project . when the production was over I was 23 and it was 2006 and it was IRAN . The movie was banned because of political reasons and never saw the light of the screen but I learned a lot from Mr Afkhami and that 3 years was my college .After Farzand-e-Sobh I worked on another 3 feature Live action movies .CHE ,TODAY,The Child and the Angel and So many TV Commercials .Until I get the chance to Direct Animations and show what I learned how to Visually tell stories by doing storyboards for real movie directors.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
“Back From The Other Side” was the first big production animation that I directed and I’m so proud to be a part of the team and the shadow play that I’m working on now is so exciting .The director Hamid Rahmanian,He is such an amazing artist and he is so out of the box.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Im from IRAN and as I said before I have almost ten years of experience in the field of visual story telling and I was recognized as a young director and story artist in IRAN.  I moved to US in 2013 .I entered Digital Media Arts College in Florida to study computer animation .It was funny because I didnt have the correct answer for my professors questions after they saw my portfolio:”Why are you in school?!” Then I got the storyboard Job at SO! animation and I drop out college again!

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
As a storyboard artist I start with reading the script , I sit in front of the director and ask him a lot of questions regarding what is exactly he has in mind , how he pictures that specific scene and I draw some quick sketches and show him frequently . He says : give me this shot from above ,Or I want this character to be more involved .Now I want an insert from the sword,thats good . I say “how about this” and I draw and I show him again and I explain that I drew this based on my memory from a very old German movie . Some times he says that’s great and some times : Thats not matches this story . after several meeting with the director and his approval of the shots I move to execute the shots very clean and readable for all of the crew . In this case there is no need for the director to explain his ideas to everyone over and over.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
When I finish a project I don’t have any idea what is the next project is about . New script ,New characters .So many new things I can learn and so many visual ideas I can offer to develop the show . and Its extremely exciting to see the final movie . And most of the time I recall all of the process that the Director and I had to get to that shot . Or in case of me directing its all exciting to see the audience is lost in the world that I created or dreamed.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Neck pain!

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis, how has technology changed in the last few years in your field and how has that impacted you in your job?
Cintiq for the storyboard and evolution in Computer Animation that allowed my imaginations come to life on the animations that I directed so far.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Despite the fact that I’m pretty familiar with american history and culture I’m still an immigrant and I lost all of my connections by moving to another country . I started from scratch and there is still a long way to go .

If you could change the way the business works and is run how would you do it?
Big studios are controlling everything .And independent studios are shutting down one after another . Some brilliant Ideas and stories may never get the chance to be produced . I would change some executive producer in some big studios!

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
When I was directing ” The Turquoise guardian” . We had so many financial problems the producer wasn’t paying on time, the crew were unhappy and some of them left the project.  I had to change or delete so many shots because of the budget and lack of animators . Deleting and changing the shots ruined the visual structure that I had on my storyboards ,It was a nightmare ! and also the Studio forced the project some Ideological scenes and dialogues which was my worst nightmare .I resist and argued for most of them and instead of focusing on directing I was spending hours of unpleasant discussions with the producers to defend the script .

Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
My friend Maziar Mirhadi has written a brilliant script about a girl named Tanian and a shaman named BUSHI-OJA in Mongolian era.Its about a journey to QARAHULUN (the land of darkness).Maziar and I had a successful collaboration on “Back From The Other Side”,He was the script writer on that movie . I’m planning to do an animatic or a Comic book based on QARAHULUN and do the fund raising . I’m looking forward for a chance to do this .

Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I’m so enthusiast of making Pizza and simple and unhealthy sandwiches ! I used to do that a lot for our gathering with my friends in IRAN .

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
I still need advise myself! But I can say ,Its awesome to make money doing what you love .Be prepared for an exciting life with a lot of highs and lows .

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