Today’s #CreateYourOwnWork interviewee is Carrie Hawks, whom I met awhile back at a NYWIFT event. Like many others I meet through that organization, she’s a multi-hyphenate (artist, filmmaker, animator and more), whose film black enuf* is due to premiere on April 27. Read on to find out more about Carrie, including her thoughts on seeking out independent projects, collaboration, the value of deadlines and accountability partners, and more.
1. Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Carrie Hawks. I’m a motion graphics designer/animator, artist, and filmmaker. Currently, I work full-time for Bustle, a website geared towards millennial women. On my own time, I participate in various art groups including Diverse Filmmakers Alliance, LASS (Ladies Animated Short Screening), Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter, and just finished my second animated documentary.
2. #CreateYourOwnWork: what does that mean for you?
To me, #createyourownwork means that I take time to make and seek out projects beyond my given responsibilities. I find a way to learn and explore new ways of storytelling. This could mean applying a new animation method to an independent project, or making up my own project at work and presenting it to my colleagues. By working on outside or independent projects, my thinking expands. If I limited my creativity to my assignments, I would not be as fulfilled artistically. When I wanted to get into more illustration, I worked on a pro bono project for a sound design studio in Colombia. It was great for my portfolio and paid work followed.
3. What have you gained by creating your own work; on the flip side, what challenges have you faced?
The biggest challenge is running out of time! Especially when I have a full-time job, it’s hard to find the time to work on various projects and still eat, sleep, see friends, exercise, and do laundry. I’ve been listening to the Animation is Hard podcast lately and they have a great episode on what you have to sacrifice in order to make your independent project come to life. As for the positives, I’m growing, learning, and love manifesting my ideas. I’ve met a lot of great artists, learned so much about animation and filmmaking by working with other animators and filmmakers. Recently, I’ve been collaborating with others which has challenged my hold on control and made projects more broad.
4. What do you think is the most important skill for a creator building his/her career from scratch?
Motivation. If you’re making up a project, job, or method on your own, no one is asking for it. No one gives you a deadline, and no one knows what’s happening. I’ve found that working with accountability partners help. It could be letting folks know what you’re doing so they ask about it. Or joining a critique group where you present your ideas for feedback. For my last two films, I picked a festival deadline as my end goal. That helped me stay on task and finish on time.
5. Which project of yours are you proudest of?
My latest film, black enuf* It will premiere on April 27th. I worked on it for a few years, so it’s a huge part of me now. I was anxious to get it out the door and into the world. It’s also the biggest production that I’ve lead. For my documentary, I did the interview, shooting, animation, and editing. For this film, I worked with an editor, sound designer, sound engineer, voice over actors, camera person, and colorist. It’s been exciting to direct real-live people and a bit overwhelming.