Creative Coupling with Anna and Glen Faught
Motion Graphics Artists and Creative Couple
Anna and Glen Faught sit down with Nice Moves’ own Alicia and Emory to discuss, among other things, the idea of being a “creative couple”.Anna's Portfolio | Glen's Portfolio | Anna's Twitter | Glen's Twitter
Reading Time | 16 minutes
ALICIA This is the first Artist Spotlight where we have two people!
EMORY How comfortable are you framing this interview as a “creative couple” thing?
GLEN I’m fine with that. I don’t know if it’s going to be as…
ANNA …couple-y. We don’t quite collaborate super heavily on things. We ‘re not up to our elbows in each other projects, we still do support each other in more subtle ways. I’m sure there’s more people out there who work similarly like that.
G You guys work together way more than we do. Ours is way more like doing our own thing. I’ve been doing it recently, where I’m on this project here’s what I’m thinking tell me what you think. Is there a better way I can do this or I don’t know what I’m doing, give me an idea that isn’t terrible.
A Oh no! I should ask you that more.
We ‘re not up to our elbows in each other projects, we still do support each other in more subtle ways. – Anna
E Did you meet in school?
A This is our how we met story wrapped up into our how we work story. They actually are connected. We both went to the Art Institute. Glen was in VFX & Motion Graphics and I was Media Arts & Animation, so we’d see each other around. Although, I think it’s funny they had those separate. When you graduate and actually work in town here, those are pretty much the same thing. Glen, out of the blue, asked me to help out on a project. I got to be Indiana Jones. It was a matte painting project.
G Oh yeah yeah yeah. It was compositing class. Do some sort of background and have somebody in it. It was super open ended. I did this jungle. I needed someone to be in it. I worked at the equipment cage, so Anna was there coming to check stuff out and I asked her if she wanted to be in it and she agreed.
A And then we didn’t talk for a couple months.
E Was it really that bad?
G I don’t know maayybe?
A Nonono, it was fine. It was my fault. It was just getting caught up in whatever I was doing at the time, just random things like that. We just started dating a little bit later in the year. We obviously both graduated. Glen went out to LA for a little while to do stereo work.
G I did. Not a fan. Not a fan.
E You’re not a tight creative couple in that you don’t work together that often. It would seem that stems from your schooling.
G I’m curious what other people say because maybe we’re more of the norm and you guys are the weird ones.
A So far, I think we are.
A I will say that when we first started dating, I always took school seriously and did things, but I remember Glen being very encouraging about doing side projects.
G Oh yeah
A You always had something going on and just being in that proximity. I think that was I why I liked hanging out with you so much anyway. Glen just had a lot of drive to do stuff on his own time outside of school work. Or if it was a school project, there was always something more that he were excited to add to it. Glen always went above and beyond which I was super inspired by. I think that really pushed me my final year in school to do more than just what school was asking at the time.
E It wasn’t necessarily the skill set that was inspiring— the ephemeral drive and motivation.
A Yeah the work ethic. Glen is passionate about what he does. Whether it’s friends or relationships or whoever in my life, I like to find people like that because I do that too.
It was like subtle stuff like that and we still feed off that to a certain extent. Even now, we usually have something going on on the side. You’ll be kicking out gifs…
G Well, trying to. I’ve been playing too many video games.
A Ha. Well, we take breaks too. We’re not crazy people.
E Uh oh.
A Yeah, we’re crazy people.
A We do like having a balanced life, but usually Glen has something in the works and I have something in the works. He’ll be kicking out a gif and I’ll be working on a zine or…we’ll just pursue our own routes. They don’t necessarily intertwine but we’re really supportive of that. I know if he’s at home working on something, we can talk about that. Or we can both be in completely opposite ends of the house and there’s no like pressure or expectation…like that’s fine. We can go disappear into our own little corners and have our own respective work/me time. There’s something really liberating and exciting that that can happen.
G It’s having the same drive. You’re doing your thing…
A “I support you”, I yell down the hallway.
G You’re going and you’re just feeling it or whatever you want to call it, just do your thing.
A There’s small things like that. Just a general understanding of how each of us likes to work.
A Sometimes our industry can pull long hours and I’m trying to think if dating anyone outside of our industry would ever work because people require too much time and work requires too much time.
E So dating someone in the industry comes with an understanding of the demands of the industry?
A I mean, I guess that’s what I would assume. I’m definitely not saying that you couldn’t find somebody that works in a completely different industry who wouldn’t be just as understanding, but it is nice. There is a little bit of solidarity. Because we both work in the same biz, we can have those conversations; “Uh clients” or “This thing happened”. Generally you know you’ll find not just a sympathetic, but an empathetic, ear with that. So I would say, that’s how we work together, air quotes. It’s not as literal as that, but there are a lot of small things that really make the difference.
G Yeah what I said earlier, what do you think of this how can I approach this differently. I’m working with this group of people and we’re all staring at this for so long it’s nice to get a fresh eye that I can trust. Like look at this objectively and give me feedback that’s helpful.
A Our skill sets, I think they would, compliment each other. I think we’ve had the conversation a couple times where we’d be like, “Could we work together? We both like space?”
G We’ve done little stuff. Nothing big.
A So work-wise, I have gone to Glen when I run into technical problems because my skill set is a little more on the the design/aesthetic, more traditional end of things. I’m definitely the type of motion person who has like, “I have the target, how do I get to the target as soon as possible?” I’m not a process person. I think Glen likes solving things. I think he’s a problem solver more than I am.
G I think it’s really fun. Here’s the toolkit. Here’s the problem. How do I build a solution? I think that’s fun sometimes. Like puzzles.
A I don’t think like that. I can appreciate that from a distance. I certainly problem solve if I have to but I don’t live for that so it’s nice to be able to ask you questions about things I run into.
E You mentioned there’s no pressure to feel like you have to spend time together. How about the opposite? If one person’s working really hard do you feel pressure to match their energy?
G It’s not always good. Like last summer, Anna was real busy.
A Yeah. I burned myself out.
G And I wasn’t too busy last summer so it was like, I understand that you’re busy and how it goes but it still was like *in a tiny voice* “spend time with me”.
A You’re right. That was rough. I can talk a lot about last summer. It was too much going on across the board for me personally. That probably did push our limits of that particular rule. There is a line for sure. I was working too much. Sometimes when you’re on overdrive for that long, everything suffers. Glen has been very supportive in next steps for me. The big news…I’m going freelance!
A E Wwoooooo!
A Alicia’s clapping.
E What motivated this move to freelance?
A I know I needed a change. I’m coming up on like 6.5 years almost 7 years at Crash. You guys both implode when I say that.
E It’s a loooong time.
A That’s what everybody says, but it’s crazy. Glen has been on most of these conversations for probably two years. He’s patiently been like nudging me in that direction. Then finally last summer, I was working quite a bit and hitting that burn out stage. I basically decided May; this was almost a year ago and I decided May. Over the course of the next year as I was doing more digging and talking to people and just kind of looking around at the industry, both locally and bigger than that, just realizing that freelance seems like a viable choice and could offer an amount of flexibility that sounds really really appealing.
E Alicia’s like beaming over here.
A I know. This is the bestest news.
A Glen has been super supportive of that which I think once again plays nicely into the benefit of being with somebody in a similar industry. He gets what freelance can offer.
G It’s funny talking to Anna’s parents they’re like, “How are you going to make money? What are you going to do? Where are you going to work at?” Nonono, you don’t understand.
A Yeah *sigh*
G I totally get it.
A Maybe both of you can go freelance?
G We joke about that all the time. Anna could go freelance for now. If it’s stable, then I’ll go freelance or Anna can take a job somewhere and I’ll go freelance: we’ll just swap at some point.
A I’m kinda surprised that he didn’t go first before I did. Glen seems like he has the perfect mentality for freelance.
G I’m sure you guys hear this all the time, but it’s the fear of making that leap. I know a lot of people that do it and they all say the same thing; just do it and you’re in and it’s great. You learn how to figure it out. I think about dipping my toe in like eeeehhhhh I don’t know.
E What are the personality traits that you think would make Glen a good freelancer?
A Well because Glen has already been freelancing. Aside from Target, he does a lot of jobs here and there. He’s got a lot of friends in town who’ll reach out for projects. He has enough of a network to do it well and he’s also very much like, steady, as far as personality. I don’t think things rattle him that much. Freelance can be shifty. I feel like he’d be really good at weathering those kinds of things.
I got a trial version of After Effects, just trying it out, the problem solving aspect is really fun for me. It’s almost like a puzzle you got to solve. – Glen
A Individually, what drew each of you in to your respective fields?
G I’ve heard a lot of podcasts and people always say the same thing; I watched a lot of movies as a kid, so some of that. But once I got a trial version of After Effects, just trying it out, the problem solving aspect is really fun for me. It’s almost like a puzzle you got to solve. What’s the best way you can do that that looks good, that’s the most efficient, and easy to change stuff and just works the best? Especially in the corporate side it’s like change change change change.
A Yeah, that’s a big checkbox to hit is editability down the road.
G For me it’s really fun to figure out how I can set this up that’s super easy and super flexible. I like the problem solving of it. The creativity of it.
E So it’s that combination of those two things?
G There’s always something new, techniques, 2D, 3D. There’s so many different things you can do. Imagination is the limit. It hits on all cylinders for me because I everything I like is all in there.
A I liked art.
Actually, I’m glad you said that because I have a wild imagination. It started with drawing back when I was a kid, which also is probably very similar to various designers or animators. It was a way to take what was in my head and make it real. Throughout my life/career there were different eureka moments that drove me down this particular path. In high school, I did a workshop at AI. A summer workshop.
A The summer teen workshop!
A Yeah! This was very formative for me because I did the animation route and I did some hand drawn animation. It was the first time I had ever, beyond just a flip book, done something where it’s just a bouncing ball. There was something about the process of spending a couple hours working on this thing and then having to capture it on the old capture stations and you can’t really see it. There’s this anticipation, then hitting the play button for the first time and watching it all playback through, and seeing what you’ve been doing come to life.
E You’re almost surprised by what you’ve been putting together.
A Yes, I was super addicted: it was instant. That week was so fun I actually did it again next year. I still have gifs of those early days. It was this round circle, they look like emojis now, shooting a bow and arrow into another one and it just dies and it’s really awkward and terrible, but it was super super fun. I was just drooling over it. Then I went down the path of how do I make a living once I graduate? That was kind of another adventure because school can only prepare you so much. It almost doesn’t matter where you go, that first internship or that first taste of the real world is like, “Oh shit. It looks like this huh?” OK how do I do that?
G Everybody’s had that moment.
A I did my internship and they asked me to do a light pass in After Effects and I was like “How? I don’t know that.” I was way underqualified basically. I can’t imagine what they thought that first day because I did not know anything. But give me another target to hit. I think even looking ahead and looking at this freelance adventure, at this next step, it’s another target. I’m very much goal oriented and I like having a purpose, something to work towards. That’s why I’m really excited about next steps is just figuring out what that looks like.
E Your eureka moments tend to go along with an expansion of your world view.
A For sure, and just realizing I can make this and I do that too, oh what if I did this. I like learning things and doing stuff and making things and I get bored when I’m not doing that, or if it’s not different enough. I like variety.
E Glen, how do you feel about variety? Because you’re talking about trying to make things pretty pinned down and easy to change. That’s not really a process that lends itself to trying something new.
G When I first went to Los Angeles, it was all compositing stuff and I didn’t like it because you’re doing that one thing and just that one thing. It was, I don’t want to say boring, but I wanted to do more. So, I love variety because it allows me to do more. It’s kind of coming back to that puzzle thing. But it’s fun to do. You’re doing this and “oh ah oooh ok let’s make that work”.
E It wouldn’t be much of a puzzle if all the pieces were the same.
G That’s the part I like about Target is that they do have their fingers in many pies, as people say. AR, VR, 360 video, everywhere. So I really enjoy the variety. If that wasn’t there, I don’t know how happy I would be.
A Let’s talk about influences.
G Mine are nothing weird. Follow the right people on twitter and dribbble—there’s some really good curated vimeo channels that I follow and people that search the internet more than I do and find the really good stuff.
A Lately, I’ve been trying really hard to look outside of motion. I feel like things have gotten a little bit…I mean, trends are a thing. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with trends. It’s good to remember to widen the scope or keep your eyes open. Make a point to dig around in spaces that people don’t normally think to look. I try and look at fine art, for example. Like, weird art, and making regular trips to the Walker. I’m one of those people that are willing to give crazy abstract art the time of day. It makes you think, or at least chuckle, as you’re reading these descriptions. Like, what does the tiny blue dot on the giant white canvas mean? I’m the kind of person that gets really fascinated by the justifications that people make for that. Plus design does that too. You kind of have to appreciate that stuff on a certain level.
E Trends tend to become a thing because you know it’s going to work, it looks good. But when you go to the Walker and you read those thing you really do have to…
A …you have to break out of what your expectations are. I’m definitely still on Motionographer, Wine After Coffee, and twitter and all those. I’m definitely paying attention. I’ve just been thinking a lot about making sure that I’m making work that fits the needs of the client rather than trying to have my own agenda. Staying true to that as much as possible. It’s hard. I don’t know if I’m entirely successful at that goal, but that’s kind of where my head space has been at lately.
A It makes it easier to not hate the clients when you empathize with them.
A I haven’t necessarily had terrible clients. I don’t know if it’s an attitude thing or if I’ve just gotten lucky. I feel like clients get a bad rap. Any time you have any kind rapport, that’s what helps. That’s what makes it smooth and seamless. I doubt it’s anything I’m doing so much as we just know each other and it’s easy to talk to them.
Personal relationships, your personal life, having hobbies, and balancing that out with a job that you’re also very passionate about is very difficult. I have to make a choice to do that; it does not just happen. -Anna
A Do you have any advice for people that are just getting their start in the industry?
A Taking care of yourself is really important.
G That’s a good one.
A This is something people have to learn for the themselves. There is no way I would have internalized this at all had I not made the mistakes. But living a balanced life, I have learned recently, is very important. Personal relationships, your personal life, having hobbies, and balancing that out with a job that you’re also very passionate about is very difficult. I have to make a choice to do that; it does not just happen. That has been a lot of this past year and driving some decisions as I move forward. What can I do to give all of these different things the attention they deserve and what is the balance that will make me happy? That means taking more breaks and saying no to side projects.
I wish that people wouldn’t drive themselves to the point where they do that. I don’t know how to tell people not to do that because sometimes you just have to be that bad off to make a change. You have to hit that point.
E Hitting rock bottom, right?
A Rock bottom sounds really dramatic. I wouldn’t say that. It sounds like I woke up in a ditch and Glen had to fish me out or something.
G It’s never been that crazy.
A I made a concerted effort to pay attention to when breaks are needed and if your gut is telling you ” you need a break”, then YOU NEED A BREAK. You need to listen to that.
G It’s not a bad thing to stop. It’s OK. You need to do it for yourself.
A Still, even now, Glen has to talk me out of doing certain projects because I’m notoriously bad at picking new things up without finishing old things.
G I’m always trying to get better at this, I go to MET, the Nice Moves stuff, and I always see the people I haven’t seen in a really long time and I just talk to them the whole time.
A Oh I’m bad at this too.
G And the event is over and I didn’t meet anybody new!
E It’s this weird contradiction where you try to push yourself outside of your comfort zone as far as work goes but…
A Oh god it’s terrifying when it’s other people! I absolutely feel that on a very deep level. Yeah, I’ll take on this random project I have no idea how to accomplish. That’s fine. There’s no lost sleep over that. But, oh I have to talk to a stranger? Shit!
Along with helping to establish Nice Moves, creative couple Alicia Reece and Emory Allen are co-owners of the animation studio Foreign Fauna.
If you have a question for them, drop them an email: email@example.com
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