Interview Minnow Mountain Founder – Craig Staggs

Hello to all readers of Animation Alerts. Today we have one of the exciting personalities in the animation industry, Craig Staggs. Craig recently appeared on our Animation Alerts interview series and his answers were very well appreciated by readers of Animation Alerts.

So, today he is here once again discussing another exciting project with Richard Linklater.

Richard linklater
Image source:-

Table of Contents

Interview – Craig Staggs 

Hello, Craig Staggs. Welcome to Animation Alerts. We are glad to have you as part of the Interview series at Animation Alerts one more time. It’s a pleasure to have you for the interview.

Craig: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. A pleasure to be back. Let’s jam!

Craig Staggs
Image Source:- Minnow Mountain

First of all congrats on your previous achievement on Undone. Your project Undone got an IMDB rating of over 8 and has got a lot of positive reviews. Please share your previous experience with Undone.

Craig: The first season was a wild ride. The production was hard and there was no guarantee that anyone would like this strange little story from Texas. When the series premiered on Amazon Prime we waited to see what the results would be. And they loved it. We have so much gratitude that our work was accepted and even loved.

A lot of businesses got affected by Coronavirus. How you got affected and what are your strategies to overcome this?

Craig: We quickly transitioned to a work-from-home pipeline. The safety of our team is our first priority, so we will wait for the right time to go back into the studio.

Your latest project with Richard Linklater also looks promising like Undone. Would you like to share some more information about your new project?

Craig: Apollo 10 ½ is written and directed by Richard Linklater and Minnow Mountain will animate the characters. It’s an almost autobiographical story about a boy growing up in Texas during the Apollo 11 moon mission in 1969. NASA headquarters are in Houston, Texas. But there’s a special twist that takes the story to unusual places. It’s a special film.

What is Rotoscope animation and what were your challenges while working on this project?

Craig: Rotoscope animation is an approach that involves using video footage as a direct reference and inspiration for animation. The two big challenges are capturing an actor’s performance and dealing with the volume required to make a feature film or animated series.

A great creative team can help you achieve great results. So, How much credit you would like to give your awesome Minnow Mountain team?

Craig: The team is everything. And we have a great team. My amazing business partner and studio co-founder Steph Swope operates the day to day of the studio. Our line producer Rachel Dendy and Christopher Jennings (my first AD and an amazing cartoonist) are responsible for much of our success.

Minnow Mountain Studio
Image Source- Minnow Mountain Studio

How do you explain working with tight deadlines in such a competitive industry of animation and graphics?

Craig: It’s tough and the schedules are long and unforgiving. But we are lucky to have the work and have gratitude to our partners and clients.

Minnow Mountain is surely going to achieve much success in the future, but what advice you would like to give animators who are learning by self and want to have a great career in the animation industry but are not having guidance by right mentors.

Craig: Don’t give up. I only have a high school diploma. I didn’t go to film school, art school, or any school. But, I had a long journey to get where I am. I started as a caricature artist, drawing over ten thousand people from life over ten years. I worked as a theater producer, set painter, and actor. And I have made hundreds of short films, how-to videos, wedding videos, fundraising videos, ads, and animated gifs. Keep going!

If anyone wants to join your team, what kind of expertise and specialization you are looking for in potential candidates.

Craig: I really look for classical drawing skills first. Life drawing and portraiture skills matter a lot in our studio. Next, I look for people with some understanding of performance, either in cinema or theater. Those two things together give you a good perspective for performance capture animation.

Where do you see the future of the animation industry after the Corona crisis?

Craig: Home studios will be big. And the audience will be hungry for something new. My hope is that we can respond to this horrible thing by making some beautiful art. I hope we can focus on that service of escapism we provide. Maybe a little more depth. A little more humane. For animators, this is how we connect. And we all need that connection now.

Any message for the audience at Animation alerts?

Thank you! We will do our best!

Thanks for reading the interview. We hope you love this interview. Stay tuned for more cool interviews with top animation guys from the animation industry.

I am a former Animator and Graphic Designer who has worked on many International and Domestic projects and Tv series and E-learning projects. I created Animation Alerts so that people who are struggling to learn animation can learn this craft and grow together.