We had the good fortune of connecting with Jack McCaffrey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jack, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
The idea to start an animation company had always been in the back of the mind, but honestly seemed like a bit of a pipe dream. Then in the middle of 2020 when all film work transitioned into being fully remote, it suddenly appeared more and more possible to found a studio entirely from my home. So with the power of a strong Wi-Fi signal, I created “HelloJelloShip,” where I provide animation services for clients as well as independently produce animated shorts. I’ve done animation my whole life, so I’d say the business is just a natural extension of that. The process of collaborating with others to bring ideas to life through the whole production process is very cool and rewarding.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Since I was a kid, I made animated short films. My older brother showed me at a young age how you could create animation by starting and stopping the camcorder, while incrementally moving an object each frame at time. It was super rudimentary, but it really did feel like magic to me. There is something about finishing a project, and then seeing people react to it that has always interested me too. I grew up not knowing any other animators in real life, so I owe a lot to online animation communities where I could share my work and get critiques from other hobbyists or occasionally professionals. I think it’s vital to get honest feedback, even if it doesn’t feel good going down. In my current work, I try to focus on concepts that are universal. I like that animation is, by nature, so visually-driven. It lends itself well to stories that can be understood no matter your background. The challenge of blending different artistic mediums together is a big motivator too. Like mixing traditional hand drawn animation with 3D computer-generated backgrounds. There is so much a single animator has at their disposal nowadays, that it can be both inspiring and overwhelming. Despite all the growing up I’ve done, when I’m animating I feel the same as I did when I was just a kid. Except now I have bills and facial hair.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I recommend biking down the Ballona Creek path in Culver City all the way to the ocean. There’s a wonderful view the whole way. That’ll bring you near the Ballona Wetlands in Marina del Rey, which is a beautiful nature preserve with a wealth of unique wildlife that’s hard to find in other parts of Los Angeles. Great for bird-watching. There are some organizations that do volunteer work to restore and protect the wetlands too, which is a fun activity to meet new people as well as make a small difference.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family, my many teachers, and my dog Riley.
(The one with LAAF award) Sean Eric Pavon, XP Photography