Artist Spotlight w/ Hernán Lindenbaum
Jul 14, 2023
First, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I'm a former video editor (once a video editor, always a video editor though!) that evolved into motion graphics animation and then CG rendering & compositing. So, coming from the editing bay, I'd say in general I enjoy all things post-production (sound design included!)
I was born and raised in Argentina (world cup champions baby yeah!), down south in a Patagonian town called Bariloche (shout out) and I currently live with my wife in Portugal, up north in the beautiful city of Porto. Highly recommend it, we've been here for over three years now and my jaw still drops when the sun shines strongly and all the tiny house colors pop out. Gorgeous place to visit.
Let's see, what else: I'm a huge cinephile, podcast listener and music lover, I enjoy getting together with friends and just jamming (the amount of fun had is directly proportional to how much our music sucks) and I also run on a regular basis (it works as my main excuse for constantly spending on brand new sneakers).
Fridays always had a "let's get the hell out of here early" vibe, led and sanctioned by the boss. She even told clients upfront that we didn't do Friday WIP deliveries…
Can you tell us about your experience and the role you are primarily filling?
Nowadays I usually get hired either as a Cinema4D animator or as a compositor / color grader. In some cases I've been given an animation lead role, or a sort of co-direction if possible, when it comes to the motion side of things (especially if the project approach is more on the cinematic side and there's good CG camera work to be done, I enjoy that very much). I don't have a graphic design college background so my art direction capabilities are... let's say good-but-limited. I tend to gently decline those roles, as imposter syndrome spikes strong when I design. I don't know if you noticed but I'm trying to avoid the use of the word "generalist" as much as humanly possible!
It also happens frequently that, when the work relationship is established and solid, some studios bring me into the project to go along with it and flow from animatic to previs to animation and then from the rendering stage into compositing, grading and final delivery. I don't necessarily feel like I'm doing a technical direction / back-end job but I try to help the pipeline run smoothly with my somewhat limited knowledge, So I can make things easier for myself once we reach the finishing touches in high res.
If you could speak directly to the resourcing gods and powers that be, what would be your ideal project?
Motion picture title sequences. Or show openers (please don't press that "skip intro" button, friends). But movie titles first and foremost. I think those kinds of pieces strike a nice balance between an art project and a commercial need. There's usually less budget for them but they make it up with more room for exploration, and the shots and sequences don't feel so constrained by the need of a tight duration, you can let the camera motion and the action breathe. The editor in me hates to (all too frequently) see beautiful shots in motion videos that just go by too fast (usually because they're trying to follow a VO narration) and don't get their time to properly shine. So yeah, motion picture titles might be my favourite thing to work on, as it also brings me back to my love for cinema and my college background in filmmaking.
Do you have any dream clients?
Mr. David Fincher, my schedule is widely available for you. I don't have any social media but just ask around and somebody will give you my email or WhatsApp, I check it with obsessive frequency and will make sure to make haste in replying to you, rest assured.
Your films and tv shows are superb by the way, keep up the good work :P
Lastly, do you have any memorable stories, life lessons, or tall tales you can share from your adventures as a freelancer?
When I moved to Portugal, I made an active case of contacting the local agencies and creatives. I'd been always working remotely but never with Portuguese studios, and I didn't want to feel like an outsider in our new home or stay estranged from whatever might be happening in Porto. One of my first gigs there was with a duo of artists that needed help crafting animations for a video mapping, to be projected over a church during a light festival. I had been doing commercial work for ages, so of course I was craving to be briefed to a pavlovian response degree. And when they gave me just a few random concepts and the freedom to explore and come up with literally whatever I wanted (the plan being that they'd later mash and edit my animations with their signature style, doing color overlays and all sorts of video effects) I remember feeling just... elated. I don't think I'd realized until then how repetitive and "wow-factor-y" our daily work is. And how negative briefs and CTAs and moodboards and references can become sometimes.
So I put more energy and enthusiasm into that video mapping for a tiny art festival in the south region of a tiny European country than I was asked for, no doubt. And since then, I actively go looking for art projects as well as studio or agency gigs. The lesson being that we also need to make room for exploration and freedom in commercial work, which perhaps we usually don't.
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