Friends of Kickstart: Nicole Oliver

We’ve been lucky enough to work with this Friend of Kickstart both inside and outside the record booth over the past few years. A distinguished actress both in voice-over and on camera, as well as a wonderful voice director, we are big Nicole Oliver fans here at Kickstart.

 Photo by Mazen Zeiden

Photo by Mazen Zeiden

Here are Nicole’s answers to our ten vital questions about life, acting and animation.

You can find Nicole on Twitter, Instagram and at her website.

What's your favourite colour combination?
I am loving orange and turquoise right now. Otherwise, I really enjoy a neutral palette with a punch of crimson RED.  Awesome.:)

Can you think of a particular piece of media that inspired you to become an actor/voice actor
2 events are really clear to me as to why I have pursued the path I have.  

In 1995 I worked on a film called "Mariette In Ecstasy" directed by John Bailey, a renowned DP stretching his artistic limbs, whom I later had the pleasure of working with again in 2015 on Greg Kinnear's directorial debut.  Anyway…Eva Marie Saint played one of the leads, and I was a huge fan of her work under Hitchcock (North by Northwest). Production put the whole cast and crew on a boat cruise around Lake Ontario to build camaraderie…and I ended up chatting with Eva Marie. She very clearly and succinctly, through some beautiful storytelling and sharing of her self, let me know (and all the other young actresses who were listening to every word she uttered) about the realities of being a young woman (or woman, for that matter) in the "business" and the importance of preserving a strong sense of self, strength of character and a sense of humour. Her brutal frankness about her journey was, now looking back, an incredibly prescient statement on where we, as women working in the Entertainment Industry, find ourselves today- Honour your truth, speak your reality, and be a vehicle of change. The status quo is NOT OK and not a reason to continue bad behaviour and demeaning relationships.  

But, the reason I became an actress was because of Dame Maggie Smith. I am a rabid fan of her… but I performed in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" during high school in 1986.  All I remember on opening night is saying my first line and then bowing with the cast at the end. The next day, I told my parents that I did not want to be a lawyer but rather thought that acting was a good choice. Seems to have worked out ok so far. ;)

What has been the high point of your career so far?
This is tough.  So many things to choose from, and for that, I feel truly blessed.  On camera, I worked with Julia Roberts and the amazing director Stephen Chbosky on "Wonder"; the story is empowering and inspirational and the tone on set was just what I needed to reaffirm that I am doing what I am supposed to do…if that makes sense. LOL.  

 Nicole Oliver as Mrs. Flores in "Ghost Patrol"

Nicole Oliver as Mrs. Flores in "Ghost Patrol"

I had a blast recording "Sausage Party," and singing as Princess Celestia on 'My Little Pony" over the years has stretched me beyond my comfort zone into new territory that has both frightened and delighted me.


BUT-- I am LOVING voice directing animation and allowing (hopefully) a place and space in the record for all performers, old and new, to grow, shine and discover voices and choices that may have been hidden, for whatever reason.  I am so humbled to be a part of nurturing talent and discovering possibility.

What do you most want to improve in your work?
Wow.  This can be applied to all parts of my world.  I want to breathe without intention and be without judgement. Listen with my heart and speak without fear.

Yep.  Easy, right? HA? lol

What's your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Just had it today.  Yoga in the morning, followed by brunch on the deck outside.  Gardened for a bit, and then had a hot tub. Some girlfriends dropped by for a glass of prosecco and a good catch up… and now we are about, as a family, to sit outside and have BBQ for dinner and then watch a movie.

What was your most memorable non-animation job?
Again, so many, but one of my first acting jobs was on a show with David Carradine called "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues." I also had a chance to work with Robert Mitchum before he passed away.  I love the history of the cinema, so having an opportunity to interface with so many silver screen legends during my career renders me speechless (which is a rare state for me for those who know me!!)

You’re stuck on a desert island with a laptop and a USB stick containing the entirety of one cartoon - what show is it?
AAARRRRGH!!!  I HAVE TO CHOOSE?!?!?!  The Bugs Bunny Show.

Pick three cartoon characters that describe your personality.
Jessica Rabbit. Bugs Bunny. Lisa Simpson.

 One of our latest projects working with Nicole as a voice director was Enchantimals: Finding Home!

One of our latest projects working with Nicole as a voice director was Enchantimals: Finding Home!

What’s a piece of media you’ve consumed lately (tv, movie, music, podcast, etc) that has inspired you to create?
I am obsessed with "Westworld" and how it makes you question reality, the perception of reality, and the concept of choice and consequence.

What’s on your work playlist?
Musically, I am all over the map.  Loving "Yacht Rock," Kendrick Lamar and 80s throwback (anything Duran Duran or Niles Rodgers produced is a must!).

Artist Spotlight: Crystal Woo

We've been lucky enough to have Crystal Woo join us for her practicum as she finishes up her time in the IDEA Program. It's been such a pleasure having Crystal on board, so we thought this month we thought we'd have our artist spotlight shine on her wonderful work. 

Crystal is a Concept & 2D artist who is passionate about creating fantastic characters and environments and she's been an asset to our team here at Kickstart Vancouver. 

You can find more of Crystal's work at her Website.

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What's your favourite colour combination?
Blueish purple and orange

Can you think of a particular piece of media that inspired you to become an artist?
I loved drawing pokemon and making up my own, and creature design is one of my favourite things to do now.

What do you most want to improve in your work?
The fluidity of poses

What's your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Sitting in the sun with my cat and reading a book

What was your most memorable non-animation job?
I was a bartender, it was fun at times but I wouldn’t do it again

You’re stuck on a desert island with a laptop and a USB stick containing the entirety of one cartoon - what show is it?
Futurama, I can watch that series over and over

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Pick three cartoon characters that describe your personality.
1. Sailor Moon, I share her love for food and video games!
2. Elmyra Duff, I can’t say no to animals or cute things
3. Sandy Cheeks, she’s level-headed and loves science




What’s a piece of media you’ve consumed lately (tv, movie, music, podcast, etc) that has inspired you to create?
Monster Hunter Stories, it’s a super cute spin of an amazing game series.

What’s on your work playlist?
I was listening to the Casefile podcast but it was too depressing, now I’m listening to a Harry Potter podcast

What’s been your favorite part of interning at Kickstart?
The people. Everybody has been amazing, kind, encouraging and supportive.

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Friends of Kickstart: Mark Dolmont

For our first ever “Friends of Kickstart” feature, we wanted to put a spotlight on someone who always makes us sound amazing: sound designer & composer Mark Dolmont!

 COMPOSER & sOUND DESIGNER mARK DOLMONT

COMPOSER & sOUND DESIGNER mARK DOLMONT

Mark has been working as a supervising sound editor, designer, re-recording mixer and composer for the film, animation & game industries since 2006. His Main St. studio is one of our favorite places to hang as he works with us to develop the unique sounds of our characters, props and landscapes.

You can find Mark's work at his website!

Without further ado, here are Mark’s answers to our hard-hitting interview questions:
 

What's your favourite colour combination?

RED, PURPLE & BLACK

Can you think of a particular piece of media that inspired you to become an artist?

This is tricky because generally my relationship to the world at large is what inspires my sound and music work. I suppose it’d be some accumulative effect of 80’s cartoons and films like Hook (1991) and Batman (1989) as played from worn out VHS tapes.

 MARK MAKES MEAT GATLING GUNS SOUND GOOD. 

MARK MAKES MEAT GATLING GUNS SOUND GOOD. 

What have been the high points of your career so far?

1. Opening my very own studio in Vancouver BC
2. Getting to go to Skywalker Ranch
3. Being asked to design a sound like “a high powered meat gatling gun” during work on the Fruit Ninja series




What do you most want to improve in your work?

Every aspect, all of the time, forever!
I don’t believe potential is something that can be reached.

What's your idea of a perfect Sunday?

Being on or in an ocean with my wife and son. Pie. Beer.

What was your most memorable non-animation job?

Probably designing and mixing the feature film Modern Classic with 2 of my oldest friends in the world as director and composer

You’re stuck on a desert island with a laptop and a USB stick containing the entirety of one cartoon - what show is it?

All 29 years of the satiric adventures of a working-class family in the misfit city of Springfield

Pick three cartoon characters that describe your personality

Mowgli, Jack Skellington & Wile E. Coyote

What’s a piece of media you’ve consumed lately (tv, movie, music, podcast, etc) that has inspired you to create?

I’m finding lots of artistically inspiring stuff in the motion design community, specifically on Motionographer.com. Shorts like Scavengers by Joseph Bennett, The Future by Greg Shape and Truba, Intra by by Thomas Vanz…. loads of cool art on there.

 THIS IS WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS. 

THIS IS WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS. 

What are you listening to?

Nature / sound recordings at about 10% of their original speed and pitch
Francis Bebey - Psychedelic Sanza (1982-1984)
King Krule - The OOZ (2017)
Matthewdavid - A Meditation on Events (2016)
Bad Brains - Self Titled (1982)  
Tom Tom Club - Self Titled (1981)

 

Artist Spotlight: Development Team

Welcome to the first in a series of pieces spotlighting different members of the Kickstart team, and the work they do both inside and outside of the studio, starting with a look our development process. 

Create. Collaborate. Kickstart!

Our new company tagline isn’t just a staccato collection of buzzwords. Along with the roll-out of our new website and branding is a fresh ethos: we’ve re-organized our entire development process around the idea that creative collaboration within our walls breeds better, more engaging content. Here’s a look at the first step in long process of getting new ideas from our brains to your screens.

While our core development department consists of coordinators and producers, when it comes to creative vision, we believe in casting a wide net. For each project we handpick a unique team from our staff, taking in account each artist’s style, experience and interests. Gathering in our conference room, we discuss each level of the development property from top to bottom: character, plot, visual style, theme, and more.

Using our fine-tuned creative brief to distill the needs of our clients, we narrow down what steps need to be taken to meet our goals, and then let our imaginations run wild. By collectively brainstorming we can think outside the box and come up with solutions that will excite and engage both broadcasters and viewers.

 ANYTHING GOES. 

ANYTHING GOES. 

“I like that there are people from different departments working together. Everyone has a different background and skills so each person has something to bring to the table. They can contribute ideas or thoughts that someone else may not have thought of. In the beginning, it's great to just throw everything in and see what might stick or resonate with people.”

  • Lillian Lai, Art Director


After our initial discovery session, we split up to do separate explorations, seeking answers to the questions that were raised:

Do the character designs need a jump-start?

Does the theme need to be more clearly defined?

Is it clear what challenges we could face in animation?

When we come back together, our writers, designers, storyboard artists, animators and technical leads will each bring their own perspective on the answers to these questions. At this point, we’ll see what new concerns have arisen, and what mysteries still need to be explored.

 The room where it happens!

The room where it happens!

“I really like the feeling of the a sort of open door on ideas that can happen within the range of what is being presented. So it becomes a bit like focused brainstorming and ideas bounce around. I look forward to those meetings for how fun they are.”

  • Troy Alden, Comp Supervisor


This process of asking questions and finding solutions continues on until we’re satisfied we’ve produced work that both ourselves and our clients will feel excited in and confident about, whether it be a pitch package, test reel, or any other form of creative material.

The reality of animated story-telling is that it is collaborative by nature. There are multiple people in every department contributing to the final product of a given project, and each of us have a fresh perspective to bring. Kickstart’s philosophy is this: Placing value in our diverse viewpoints at the outset of a project improves our final product and allows us to tell bigger, better & more powerful stories than ever before.

Amazon orders "The Boys"

The Boys are back in town at Amazon! We can't wait to get started on this new Super journey.

"Amazon has greenlighted superhero drama The Boys to series with an eight-episode order. Based on the comic book by Garth Ennis (Preacher) and Darick Robertson, it was created by Supernatural creator and Timeless co-creator Eric Kripke and will be directed by the Preacher duo of Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen. The project hails from Sony Pictures TV Studios, which will co-produce with Amazon, and Neal H. Moritz’s studio-based Original Films."

READ MORE

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