Tomek Pilarski

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What is your name and your current occupation?

My name is Tomek Pilarski and I’m a student of animation at University of Fine Arts in Poznań, Poland.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I’m a student so technically I’m still trying to get into animation therefore no crazy jobs here… at least yet.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
At my University every student works on his/her own animation by themselves until completion, so in all of my projects I was the only person working on them (except musicians), and of course I’m the most proud of my latest project, which is WHADDUP FISH! If you are interested in the story behind that project, you can visit Whaddup Fish! Tumblr and click the link below the vimeo video. The story is too long to put it here and I think is worth reading.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from an extremely small village in the middle of nowhere called Wygoda which means “Comfort”… and yes, in Polish it sounds as weird as in English. In terms of getting into the business I’m still trying and I hope that I will make a smooth transition from student to pro – I have the chance right now. If I manage to do the transition, for sure it won’t be a one year effort. In fact I’ve wanted to work in animation since primary school and because of that I left home when I was 13 to study in art school in a town far away from my hometown.

Tomek Pilarski Animation on Vimeo

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I get up, drink a cup of coffee in front of my computer and then after a whole day of working on my animations I go to bed, at least it’s how it can be seen from the outside. For me every day is filled with brand new challenges, with every project I deal with different and more complex matters which is exciting… but looks boring.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I like challenges but I tend to overestimate myself a little every time so then things turn to be extremely hard to keep up with. So during the process I suffer a lot but still I kind of like it, I don’t know, it’s hard to explain and I can imagine that now I may sound like some kind of masochist [laughs]. Also I love things that I can dig deep into and animation is a waste territory to explore, like lifetime exploration can be not enough. Wrapping it all around animation is for me a prism that I look through and observe the world, so it’s impossible for me not to love it.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
I really don’t like agreements and all that stuff unrelated to animation which is the business side of it, although I enjoy taking care of promotion after my animation is ready. At this point I would like to announce that January 27th 2017 I will release But she’s nice… so stay tuned.

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?
I’m like a newcomer, so I don’t feel the technology has changed, plus I’m more like a hand drawn animator so it’s another reason why I feel that the evolution of technology hasn’t impacted my workflow to any extent. Mostly I work with Photoshop and After Effects.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I will tell you when I get there [laughs].

If you could change the way the business works and is run how would you do it?
Oh boy, that’s a one tough question. I can only say that I don’t like overflowing low quality stuff that is being produced. In that sense the old animation industry seems to look a little better because you really needed to think about what you were doing, because doing it was more expensive and not that accessible, but that’s only my observation. In the other hand there is great stuff that has been made recently, I mean stuff that pushes the art of animation forward, so we can say that the balance is maintained.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
It’s funny because I met Eric Goldberg without any travelling at all, he was a guest at a Festival Animator in Poznań – city where I study. My animation But she’s nice… was in a competition so I was also a guest. We chatted a little bit in private, I gave him a DVD with my animations and I took part in all of his presentations, one of them was screening of Pocahontas, which I watched for the first time, I know pretty late, but in what style! [laughs]

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Actually the hardest situation I’m facing is now. I’ve been working on my directorial debut short and I’m learning in a hard way how to work in professional manner with others and directing them. This is a sad outcome of my University’s approach to animation.

Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I’m working on my big project which occupies my whole time. For that project I received a scholarship from ASIFA-Hollywood’s Animation Educators Forum, I’ll just mention that I was the only student to receive it outside the USA. For that project I also received funds from Polish Film Institute and my producer is EgoFilm, studio form Poland. I don’t want to jinx it, so I won’t say more, but stay tuned, it will be awesome.

Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I used to paint miniatures from Lord of the Rings strategy battle game, I always wanted to join the league but ended up just collecting and painting. And from time perspective I can say that painting them was big fun itself so no complaints.

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
I don’t know if I should be the one giving advice, since I’m not in the business yet, but I can try. I would like to bring some awareness to students of animation. They should know not every professor or tutor will help them in getting closer to their dream and because of that, they shouldn’t be afraid of question or criticize people who are believed to be authorities. They should trust their guts. I’m saying that, because unfortunately I have bad experiences from my University, where a lot of people get caught in a vicious circle, where they gradually give up and just do stuff to get grades, to please the professor and they burn out and get lost eventually.

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