We had the good fortune of connecting with El Ogorodova and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi El, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
Being the best person I can be with everyone I work with.
By reacting positively to a situation, I can guide myself into a healthier state of mind. This produces higher quality work and healthier professional relationships. It makes work easier for everybody.
Jumping to a quick conclusion is tempting. We experience a temporary feeling of self-righteousness when we let ourselves be irritated with a client, or judge a coworker to be incompetent. It’s a momentary high, which does not serve us beyond a quick relief. With time, we learn that almost every situation we are presented with has been evolving behind the scenes, making our conclusion often incorrect and unfounded. It pays to hold off on judgment and control temperament. Learning how to maintain a positive attitude in turn evolves into favoring an optimistic outlook. This approach to my professional life has helped me gain repeat clients, recommendations and referrals.
We often don’t get to choose our projects or team. However, we do have control over how we can approach the challenge. This can mark the difference between a mediocracy and success.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Over time I have adapted to wearing several professional hats at once. My oldest hat is that of a motion designer. I design and animate imagery and typography using 2d and 3d programs. This type of work can be used for film and tv title sequences, advertising, music videos, concerts, sport events, and pretty much anything else that uses a screen or projection. Second, I am an Art Director, meaning that I can be hired to lead a team of artists, or that I can hire my own team to complete a project. My newest hat is that of a co-founder and representative of a production company. As of February 2021, I launched Goat Knight, a production company focused on motion graphics and documentaries.
I started as a freelancer right out of school. I worked in studios all over Los Angeles, never spending more than two months in a row with a client, always eager to move onto the next new thing. As time passed, I started to notice that many of the peers I had graduated with were becoming Senior Designers or Art Directors at prominent companies, while I was still bouncing around like a pinball. My insecurities started to creep in, and I began considering a staff position. I see now that there are equally great opportunities both in being a staff member of a company, as well as being a freelancer. The tricky part is to recognize the opportunity and act upon it when it arises.
While I advanced in my career, I began to pay closer attention to how companies operate. This was when things really started to click for me. A freelancer has the advantage to observe and compare a large assortment of workplaces, picking and choosing what works and what needs improvement. I picked the brains of anyone who was willing to share their professional experience.
I worked on everything from film to corporate branding, to live events and advertising. Having this variety was the reason I enjoyed my job. While I didn’t have a big title, I had accumulated repeat clients and a good reputation which consistently provided me with several new customers a year. I had a flexible enough schedule that allowed me to take time off to rest, in turn fueling my energy and creativity. I was taking advantage of the opportunities my career path offered.
When the global pandemic hit in 2020, like many others I found myself thinking about the future, weighing possibilities and priorities. I still had all my clients and knew that once the pandemic resided, I could get back to my work. And then what? Get aged out of the market?
I had experience, reputation, and restlessness: The perfect cocktail to try something new. I joined forces with writer and producer, Erik Martínez Westley to co-create Goat Knight, a production company focused on creating documentary content. After years of absorbing as much as I could, I am excited to put my learning into practice and own my work. In a way, I’m still a freelancer, only now, I come with a fleet.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Two of my favorite clients are in Culver City, so I spend a lot of my time there. Cerveteca on Venice Blvd makes one of my favorite breakfast burritos in the world. After a long day of work, I absolutely love to stop at Kayndaves with my co-workes and have a Smoky Margarita. Then, the beach of course. I discovered the NBVO beach volleyball league in Santa Monica, which turned out to be a great way to meet new people while enjoying a healthy lifestyle.
My favorite pass time of all. Hiking. LA is surrounded by countless fun trails. Some of my favorites are, Eaton Canyon, Coldwater Canyon, and Topanga canyon. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have been very fortunate to have had several incredible teachers and mentors, some of whom have become close friends over the years. I am forever grateful to these professionals for having guided me with their advice and propelled me forward with generous opportunities.
Denise Buren (American School of Milan), for introducing me to the depth of visual expression, and opening my eyes to a career in a creative field.
Nicola Guelfo, (Italdesign), for introducing me to graphic design and for pushing me to study the discipline at a deeper level.
Joel Lava (Art Center College of Design), for giving me my first motion design internship, marking the beginning of my career in motion graphics.
Carla Barr (Art Center College of Design), for giving me the opportunity to teach and learn my first class at her side. And for having been a priceless mentor and a true friend ever since.
Ming Tai (Art Center College of Design), for having been my most trusted career advisor, as well as teacher and mentor. And for facilitating some of my very first connections with the entertainment industry.
When I am asked about my career path, these names have a permanent spot in the story.
Bio photo: A’Design Award Ceremony