Interview with Bill Otomo (part 2)

How do you feel about working as the Art Director at Chouette Co. on projects such as Droners (and IMAGO)? How challenging is it to drive a whole team?

I certainly feel lucky! It’s a fantastic working environment, with nice people, cool projects. I really feel my work there is valued, and my opinion trusted. I have to admit that being a team leader may not be my strongest skill so far, but I’m learning every day! 

I think I still have some work to do on improving my communication, as I do tend to think a lot but don’t tell much, which can be a problem sometimes… aaaand I should really encourage people more often when they’re doing work, which is pretty much all the time (if you’re reading this, Chouette team, YOU’RE THE BEST, ok ? ^^

What are some of the things you have learned from other artists who you have worked with or whose work you have seen?

One thing that I find great in my job is that I’m still learning every day! And I hope I will learn new things till the end… (like if I’m still doing this at 80, Miyazaki style). I learned storyboarding (for animation) only a few years ago, and I’ve written my first episodes scripts in the past two years. I also studied Blender a bit, and now I make environments in Dreams (a PS4 game ^^’). Most importantly, I have friends and colleagues around me that show me new ways to approaching things, and I think that’s really the most efficient way to learn.

What are you working on at the moment (if you can tell us)?

I’m still working as Background Lead Artist on IMAGO, but I have also started working on a new secret project here at Chouette Cie.

Do you have a long-term career goal? What would your dream project be?

I’d like to direct my own show, or maybe a movie, but to be perfectly honest, I also find that possibility to be a bit scary. Seems to be quite an exhausting job (and possibly very frustrating), especially when you have very high hopes and little means to achieve it. I also tend to be a little bit of a control freak, which I think is not a very good thing when you direct as you have to trust people and let them do their job, so I have to take all of these into consideration before thinking of embarking on that journey. 

With that in mind, I do have many projects sleeping in my drawers, and I happen to believe that there are at least 3 or 4 that could be quite interesting… hopefully, I’ll manage to put one of them out there one day :)

Working in-house for a company or freelancing: what suits you best? And why?

Well, working in-house for a company can be comfortable, as you build up trust and bonds among people, and going from one place to another can also be a refreshing experience, which I really like. As for working from home, I don’t particularly like to mix work and private life, so having to choose, I’d say that I would certainly prefer to work in a studio.

What advice would you give to an artist who is dealing with an artist’s block? How do you boost your imagination and keep yourself creative?

I’d say never give up! But don’t force yourself either… it won’t do you any good if you push it too hard. Try to change your perspective on things, think out of the box, and seek inspiration anywhere (which may need some time which you might not have). Don’t be afraid to ask for help, people around you may have a fresh view on your problem and propose new leads.


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