We had the good fortune of connecting with Paul Hollingsworth and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paul, how do you think about risk?
Risks are everything! They’ve led me to the sweetest rewards. I moved to this country with an edit bay, and a massive LEGO collection. I took the biggest risk when I quit my steady job as a video editor cutting infomercials in OC and packed up my family and moved to LA. Freelancing life was feast or famine and with a wife and child, it led to some hard times. I would land small freelance edit gigs, but not with any huge payouts. We were living month to month and our savings were dwindling. With the new Jurassic World movie coming out and a lot of downtime around the holidays I started teaching my 8 yr old daughter how to make stop-motion animation by recreating our favorite scenes from our favorite movie Jurassic Park in our garage in Sherman Oaks. What started as a 3-week project evolved into an over 3-month endeavor. I called in every favor from every friend: artists, composers, voice talent, and animators to help create this wonderful 4 min creation we let it loose on YouTube.
The response was sensational. https://youtu.be/5KNMYi5MDhE
Just in time too since I was unsure how I would make my next rent payment.
The video exploded! We were featured on Good Morning America, Today Show, and in the New York Times. New clients came knocking and that led to getting a studio space running with 12 – 50 employees on any given project.
Now we’re making stop-motion animated videos for big brands like Harry Potter, Batman, Avengers, LEGO, Overwatch, Warner Bros and Disney, in our studio in Glendale.
Plus we’ve been developing our own IP and shooting a pilot that the talented Ryan Manley helped me write. Our pilot is being polished in post-production and is close to completion. It’s kinda like if Scooby-doo met South Park. We are very excited to get it out into the world!
I’ve also written a pilot about a teenage girl and her misfit friends hunting monsters and a Christmas Adventure Film.
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.
I love stop-motion animation because it is the perfect blend of fantasy and reality. A series of small choices made over many photos creates animation full of whimsey and delight The art we create at Digital Wizards Studios is magical! Our Art team builds tiny foods, costumes, puppets and sets.
I work with brilliant artists and together we build and play in fantastic worlds. One of our latest videos for Warner Bros is about a monster birthed from Batman’s stinkiest laundry wreaking havoc in the Batcave. The next week we are working on a shot-for-shot recreation of Harry Potter films, We get to play all day every day and it’s fantastic!
A couple of years ago we developed the first stop-motion animation in a VR180 for Google and it was a breakthrough.
As with any kind of film production, there are always struggles. Finding and keeping the best talent is always important to overcoming many obstacles.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
• Dog Beach in Malibu
• If it’s Dec- Jan we’d hit up Los Angeles Crest highway for some sledding in the snow
• Lake Puddingstone is a chill place to go for a Kayak
• Mann’s Chinese Theatre to watch a film in IMAX
• Momed Restaurant in Atwater Village – excellent chicken and they have tasty appetizers, and their weekend brunch is to die for!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My older sister Lesley has been a huge inspiration to me growing up. She’s smart, confident, led her Air Cadets squadron and was training to become a pilot. She battled MS for a few years and we lost her at a young age. To see someone who lived life fade away was really hard for our family. She showed me how short life can be. There was no way I was going to let life pass me by and not go for the things that I wanted.
I want to shout out to all the Digital Wizards Team members throughout the years. We started making films in my garage in the Valley. The O.G Wizards David Kelly, who’s composed original scores that add so much emotion and depth to every video we produce. Travis Prow, our cinematographer is a wizard of lighting and storytelling and has been an amazing collaborator for years.
I owe my success to my wife Amanda who encouraged me to leave a stable job in OC and to create my own content. She’s been my number one supporter and without her love and encouragement, who knows where I would be.
My daughter Hailee is a massive inspiration for me. I want her to be able to watch stories of powerful independent heroic women who won’t let anything stop them, so that’s what we create.
I’d also like to thank all the writers I work with Nathan Ondracek, Kenny Young and Ryan Manley.