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Jellyfish Pictures at 20 -Walk Down Memory Lane with Henry Affonso

Henry Affonso has been at Jellyfish Pictures for a whopping eight years! Joining as a junior animator in 2013 he has worked on some of our biggest projects, even picking up an Emmy along the way! If there is anyone who is more perfectly placed to provide insight into Jellyfish... we don't know who it is! Let's take a walk down memory lane with Henry and learn more about his time with Jellyfish Pictures.

What is your Jellyfisher role?

Animator

When did you join Jellyfish and how has it changed in that time?

I joined about eight years ago back in 2013! Back then we all worked in a small, shared office space in Soho! Our office had the maximum capacity of about 60 people, so it’s insane to think about how just much the family’s grown and how several offices have been opened in that space of time!

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What are your top three projects you’ve worked on whilst at Jellyfish and why?

Spirit Untamed - For many animators, I imagine working on a full-length animated feature for Dreamworks is definitely something on the to-do list given how much of an influence their past films will have on their childhood dream of becoming an animator in the first place. To work alongside a team of such talented animators and to be guided by some of the best in the business, was both inspirational and an invaluable learning experience. And especially given 2020’s lockdown and pandemic, it was most certainly something I can look back on with fond memories for what was otherwise such a frantic year!

Dennis & Gnasher Season 1 Title Sequence - It's probably fitting that the title sequence for this show is fast-paced, since it most likely gives a small representation of how quickly we had to turn out this sequence but with such high attention to detail too! Naturally, this being a title sequence, it would not only be presented at the beginning of every episode, but would in many cases be the first impression of said episode and potentially the rebooting of this franchise as a whole that viewers old and new would experience. We also had to time the animation to background music, and I remember some meetings we'd be talking about delaying or bringing certain actions forward by about 1-3 frames to really hit the timing of the music track with pinpoint accuracy! Given that we set out to make this sequence take place in one long camera shot, it meant stitching multiple scenes together but with the hopes of making the camera's movements as seamless as possible from one set piece to the next. This was also my first opportunity within the company to take the role as a Lead Animator, so it was all very exciting indeed!

Your Inner Fish / David Attenborough's Natural History Museum Alive! - ... Ok, so I know this is a suggestion of two projects and technically neither of them are exactly favourites, but these were the first two projects I ever worked on in the profession of animation, and you never forget your first(s)!

What has working at Jellyfish taught you?

There's a great deal of tips and tricks I've learned from the many animators I've had the pleasure of working alongside, and as an animator you can never have too many tools under your belt! One thing that's been really important to my progression is learning about the wonderfully (and in some cases, weirdly) different ways people work! I don't work in nearly the same way I did when I first began animating. Whilst it can take some time getting used to a new workflow, if you believe it will ultimately make you a better animator for it, then it's absolutely worth investing that time getting used to it. If I were to go back and look at my keyframes and tangents from 7 years ago... I'd probably be thinking, "Why, though?" 😝

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What makes you love working at Jellyfish?

It's got to be the people. There are so many talented, quirky and down-to-earth people working at Jellyfish, it made working from home all the more difficult to get used to (even if it did mean getting slightly more sleep in the mornings)!

What’s your favourite Jellyfish memory?

I'd say I have two! The first being the Emmy Awards in New York for Your Inner Fish! Having the chance to explore New York for a few days and then to get suited and booted and walk the red carpet (the free bar was a bonus too!) But when it came to the award ceremony itself, we initially thought we'd lost our chance at the award since it went to someone else (curse you, Future Cat!) only then for the host to return back onstage to notify everyone that, on this very rare occasion, there were two awards for the same category and that the second award was for Your Inner Fish! Much of the celebrations that took place for the entirety of the night are unsurprisingly a bit of a blur, but it ended with a few of us up on the rooftop of the local bedsit drinking beers and watching a New York sunrise.

The second one is more general than a specific memory with Jellyfish, but I did love being in Soho and the times we'd all go for company-wide pub lunches during the summer. I still look back on those times and miss them a whole lot!

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What makes you excited about Jellyfish’s future?

It's honestly got to be the aspect of how everything pans out post-2020! The prospect of working from home was one the company had been focused on before it was made mandatory, courtesy of a certain pandemic..! So to have seen that transformation take place so quickly with the groundwork having been laid out years in advance, it'll be exciting to see things picking up again, to see how the work dynamic continues, and of course being able to see people face to face again is something I think we're all looking forward to massively!