Harry Frank

In this episode of Unplugged, Harry Frank of Graymachine discusses how he went from button-pushing” audio engineer to accomplished motion design artist, and shares his belief that, with enough determination and time, anyone can learn to design. We talk about the tough times being faced by many in our industry right now and, on the lighter side, Β Harry givesΒ his opinion on who would win an After Effects expression shoot-out between himself and Maltaannon.

Discuss
  1. Izzy
    Reply

    It would be great to do a follow-up interview with Harry about The Motion Exchange when it reaches 1000 members or so:)
    (494 as of this moment)

    Thanks again for these John!

    Izzy
    ragecg.com

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Izzy, yes Harry mentioned a few days ago that The Motion Exchange was just an idea at the time of our Unplugged chat. It’s membership is growing every minute! Best, John.

  2. Craig Wall
    Reply

    Is it just me or is anyone else having problem with the popup videos not working when using Snow Leopoard/Safari4.04? None of them on popup videos on this site are working for me with this combo.

    I am having the same problem with jQuery/Wordpress pop up videos on my own site.

    i have to resort to Firefox or use my other computer to view the videos here.

    I’m having other issues (scrollbars not appearing when they should, etc). Anyone else seeing the same kind of behavior?

  3. Harry
    Reply

    Thanks John!

    Funny, The Motion Exchange was just a simple idea when we did this interview.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      You’re welcome Harry, thanks for taking the time to chat with me πŸ™‚

  4. Troy
    Reply

    John, Harry,
    Really enjoyed the interview! Thanks. Fun to learn more about Harry’s background. Both of you keep up the good work – you’re both a boon to our industry.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks Troy. We truly appreciate the work you and the team are putting in as well.

  5. Chrisbo12
    Reply

    Great Job John/Harry. Thanks again Harry for speaking at our AETO meeting. I actually didn’t know you had an audio bkg Harry. I`m sure a lot of us are glad you chose Motion Graphics as a profession (myself included). Thanks John for taking the time to do these interviews. They`re golden.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks Chris, I’m sure we’ll hook up sometime soon too πŸ˜‰

  6. Steve
    Reply

    This is so good!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      What did you find most enjoyable Steve?

  7. James
    Reply

    The back stories are always amazing for me to hear. How these people got started. It kinda brings it down to earth for me. I am amazed that someone like Harry would be having challenges getting work in the industry! My imagination I suppose, leads me to believe all you guys are rollin with huge paychecks, and more work then you could possibly handle. I have a small group of friends here in NYC that use Flame and Smoke, and they were saying the other day, that guys like me are shutting down there facilities. No longer is there a need for million dollars computers and software packages.I have been fortunate in following my passion in life, and obtaining a level of expertise that the money/dayrates just followed.But because I have always followed my bliss, I have rarely had to work.It seems specialization is dying as a whole. If you only have one trick pony, somebody else will drive by you, in their SUV, honking the horn to get outta the way.Thanks again John for bring more insight into the life of the motion Graphics industry. And thank you Harry, for being one of the guys who’s shoulders, so many of us stand on.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi James, thanks for your input. I agree totally that one can no longer be a one-trick pony. Every day I feel lucky to be doing this stuff for a living and have to pinch myself.

  8. Jim Hines
    Reply

    Put another feather in the cap Jon. I like the new camera position/framing.

    Harry you look so different from your avatar.

    Rock on guys!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Jim, new backdrop coming next episode too πŸ˜‰

  9. maltaannon
    Reply

    I’m NOT a freak! Not a MATH freak πŸ˜‰
    Great interview. I totally agree with Harry. You can learn to design, but I believe that there is something you have to be born with. Thats passion (that you also mentioned). But I believe that there are very strict rules in the design process and that they can be described as a formula. This is something I was born with – passion and ability to see formulas everywhere πŸ™‚

    Anyway… great interview, and thanks for a honorable mention of me πŸ™‚
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYfgAVGAyBY

    Thanks

  10. James Wicks
    Reply

    Hi Harry/JD,

    I love the concept of Video Rock.
    Some title/subject suggestions for the next ones:
    Corporate Rock (corporate)
    Commercial Rock (commercial production)
    Church Rock
    etc.

    Great products, and great interview, thanks for opening up Harry.

    Best,
    J

  11. Luispostfx
    Reply

    Good interview, John … But I think important issues have been touched, I think that is always the debate in this business about being a freelancer or being an employee. Being freelance the pay is good but sometimes it’s good and sometimes not that good. Being employee you have stability, but are bound to layoffs. John you’re working in a large company, you have never been free lance? If you were, why you are now an employee?. I hope to hear your response. Greetings.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Luispostfx, I chose to work full time at Foxtel about 8 years ago because I was starting a family and wanted the security of the position. I could go freelance anytime but have enjoyed my work at Foxtel and not found the need to leave. Best, John.

      • Luispostfx
        Reply

        Thanks for your reply… Its good to know little things about the man behind this cool web site. Now im thinking who is gonna interview you when the time comes… πŸ™‚
        Greetings… from South America…

        • John Dickinson
          Reply

          How would you feel if Andrew Kramer interviewed me? πŸ˜‰ Best, John.

  12. Chris
    Reply

    Thanks for another outstanding interview! Your openness gives me hope. Until today I’ve told everyone I am not a designer. I absolutely thought it was a gift you are born with. Now I’ll go with Designer in training!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Chris, there’s a designer in all of us. It’s taken me a number of years to find mine too πŸ™‚ Best, John.

  13. Jason
    Reply

    An objective viewpoint on media is impossible at this point! πŸ™‚

  14. Steven
    Reply

    Hey John,

    thx 4 your work and sharing it.
    Where is your MAX HEADROOM background?
    πŸ˜€

    Greetings from Germany

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hehe, that new one will only get one single appearance Steven. I have my “long term” background making it’s debut in Unplugged 15. Best, John.

  15. Aharon Rabinowitz
    Reply

    Harry is one of those people that is constantly doing fantastic animation work, and still finds the time to help people. He’s easily one of my favorite trainers because, like John D. spends time focused on both form and function and produces fantastic results.

    Thanks for the interview John.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks Aharon, always an honour to see you on Motionworks. Best, John.

  16. Todd VanSlyck
    Reply

    I love these interviews John, thanks for doing them. It’s great to get inside the minds of these designers and see how they got to where they are today. I love the fact that Harry basically got where he is by working hard and spending tons of time doing it. Gives us all encouragement!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      You’re welcome Todd. It’s amazing where a little hard work, passion and commitment can get you! Best, John.

  17. Hardy Segall
    Reply

    Fantastic Interview. As one of those struggling Detroit post houses that Harry spoke about, I had to make some tough decisions. I found it refreshing to hear how passion for his interest in design, function, and creating challenges keeps a designer focused and moving positively. Keep it up Harry!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks for dropping by Hardy.

  18. James
    Reply

    That would be cool if you could get Kramer to interview you, or even Seinfeld himself:O)… Would we be able to submit questions?
    Like what kinda beer do you drink? What did your father do for a living? Does the water really go in the opposite direction when you flush down there? How do you create a hold keyframe? What is the longest time you have spent on a single After Effects Project? If you were not doing this what do you think you would want to do? What would be the three key things you would say a person getting into Motion Graphics would need to know? How do you find the time to wear the dad hat/ Husband Hat/ Brother Hat/ Have a site with so much stuff on it and keep it all together? Just a few ????

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi James, I’ll answer those now: 1. I gave up drinking a decade ago and have never drank a complete can of beer 2. My father was a chiropractor 3. No 4. Right click the keyframe and choose Toggle Hold Keyframe (that’s one way ;)) 5. Be a home dad 6. how to use after effects, photoshop and Illustrator 7. By working in the evenings, on weekends and on the bus on the way to work. Best wishes, John.

      • Leo
        Reply

        John, you rock dude, you truly are my favorite motion graphics expert out of the 4-5 I learn from, congrats on such a successful career you’ve created for yourself πŸ™‚

      • James
        Reply

        I guess what i admire as much as or more then your talent, is your ability to have created balance in your life. I am an extremist in everything I do. I either have an overwhelming passion for something that consumes me or I just don’t care.
        Did you give up drinking after the video came out :O)… Kidding!
        So the company “Foxtell” you work for allows you to work from home?
        And what is a timeline for the longest you have worked on a single project? I thought all of this stuff is done in a few minutes, But once a guy mentioned working on a part of his reel for several weeks! is that true? I have to work for many days to get something to happen, but I am still a noob. But I am tenacious and inspired by all that you guys do.
        Best of holidays, to you and your family from every creative person in the United States!
        Hey how can I put a picture on my avatar?

        • John Dickinson
          Reply

          Hi James, my job at Foxtel is full time, I don’t work from home. The longest project for me was probably about 4 weeks, the shortest is a few hours. Best wishes, John.

        • John Dickinson
          Reply

          You can set up your avatar at gravatar.com πŸ™‚

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