Joseph Pelling is based in London and shares a rented studio with the other creatives from the THISISIT Collective.
He works as a freelance animation director in a partnership with Becky Sloan as Becky & Joe. He graduated from Kingston University in 2009 with a BA in Illustration and Animation, where he set up THISISIT with other students from the course.
The members of the collective came together through sharing a similar sense of visual style and humour. They work independently, but also help each other with projects, sharing their individual skills (illustration, graphic design, prop making, technical skills).
Joseph formed a partnership with Becky Sloan from THISISIT in October 2012. Their film Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared showed at Sundance Festival, SXSW and on Channel 4. The film was self-financed, with a small contribution from Jaguar Shoes in East London for an accompanying exhibition. As a direct result of someone seeing the film, they were asked to mad a music video for psychedelic Australian band Tame Impala, and they secured commercial representation by Blink.
STATE OF PLAY
Looking back Joseph sees that setting up the collective and renting the studio together after graduation as an important step in launching the careers of all involved.
After Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared became a success, the collective received attention from several agencies and studios. The collective found working commercially tricky, as they were more focused on making independent, creative work rather than servicing corporate ideas. They also found it was difficult to work together given the number of directors involved and their many disparate ideas.
“Everything is going to come from your independent films. Making our independent films was in a way like making a better student film. For us it was a big splash into the world of animation, and it made it much easier to pitch on jobs and commissions.”
“I never really thought about what I wanted to do. It took me a while to realise the industry is made up of different jobs – director, producer, animator etc.”
“If you want to be an independent director, make films as quickly as you can, without compromising the quality. Keep doing what you you want to do. Trust in your instincts. Focus on the work rather than self-promotion.”
Image: THIS IS IT Collective, Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared