Creative Report Jesse Gregg Ally Horton
Initial Plan I initially wanted to contact Cristina AcuĂąa Solla. I worked with her on Isle of Dogs, but sadly she never replied to my emails! I was able to locate Jesse Gregg at Laika and contact him, and he was interested.
Who is Jesse Gregg? I found Jesse Gregg through looking at some of my favourite stop-motion sets, as he was the Lead Set Dresser on a number of recent Laika films.
What got you interested in set dressing?
â€œ As a kid, I would spend countless hours with these [animations] things - studying all the little details. It made me realize that to create a compelling atmosphere, it needs to have history to it. It's not just an environment that just popped up out of nowhere, it's had other stories happen in it. As a set dresser, you get to help create that.â€?
Where do you see the stop-motion industry in twenty years time?
â€œMy hunch is that in the next 10 years, it will slump again, but then revitalize another 10 years after that, with people remembering growing up with the stop motion that's being produced currently. To me, it's one of the coolest, craziest, most amazing art forms that is currently being explored. The two major problems with it that will someday be its downfall: it takes WAY too long to do, and it costs WAY too much to do it.â€?
What animation do you wish you had been able to work on?
â€œAnything by Ladislas Starevich - but primarily "The Mascot" or "Tale of the Fox". If you haven't seen either one, stop reading this and go watch them right now. They are amazing.â€?
What advice would you give to someone wanting to become a set dresser?
â€œSet Dressing is more than just putting pieces in place for a set. It's working with the camera to create a beautiful composition, it's knowing how to paint and construct, how to make a set bomb-proof so that an animator doesn't accidentally knock something over, it's knowing what's important to have to help tell the story. Do a number of your own stop motion shorts. A Set Dresser is really a jack of all trades and an on-set Art Director. Mostly, you need to be a quick creative problem solver.â€?
What is the hardest part of your job?
â€œThe hardest part is making sure that everything is up to snuff. At Laika, there's a strive for perfection, which is difficult, but rewarding. It feels like you are given this crazy puzzle, and you know that there's an answer - so the trick is: how to get there. It may be the hardest part, but the direct result is something that you created, that your hands composed, being in the final film. It's probably the most artistically rewarding job at Laika.â€?
Takeaway I was very happy with Jesseâ€™s replies, and it gave me a lot to think about going into third year and further pursuing stop motion. Above all I was reminded how fun this area is, as Jesse seemed so excited about the work he got to do. Iâ€™d love a job helping to make sets come to life, and what Jesse said about creating an environment that other stories have taken place in really stuck with me, and is the main point I am taking away from this.
A creative report based off a series of questions given to Laika Lead Set Dresser Jesse Gregg.