We had the good fortune of connecting with Victoria Livingstone and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Victoria, how does your business help the community?
The goal of each Optic Monster project is to inform, educate and inspire viewers in order to challenge established world views and personal misnomers through content focused on unique individuals, remarkable circumstances and illumination of the misunderstood, while imbuing a bit of fantastic into the mix. Essentially, to expand the understanding of ourselves and our world in-order to expand and embetter the world for all, while creating a bit of magic.
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.
We start out with intentions, but life will offer a path and timeline of its own as to when we may actualize that intention. For me, I started out with the intention of being a storyteller and filmmaker. I made an award-winning student film, but being offered a dream job in animation at ILM right out of school, I excitedly jumped at the chance to work on feature films and learn from the best in the business. For the next many years, I focused primarily on animation, setting aside my original aspirations. Then my professional role in feature films started to expand into pre-visualization of films, supervising teams, brainstorming visuals and narratives… And, in a full-circle, my initial intent was sparked back into play. Enter Optic Monster. Having amassed an impressive toolset and oodles of experience, I rejoin my initial intention – and it is exciting! Optic Monster is my playground where I may take all of my skills as writer, fine artist, animator and filmmaker and wrap them into new creations. Innumerable call outs to all of those whom I have grown professionally with and who have bestowed positive encouragement and/or honest feedback at all stages of my creative development (even if that feedback was hard to give). Honest constructive remarks are invaluable to receive! They are also important to give. It is important to remember that there will always be both cheerleaders and naysayers to one’s endeavors: hear the critiques so you may target for excellence, but keep focus on the positives – the solid soil from which to grow. Visit often the ember in your heart to stoke the flames of your personal goals and intent. And… give back! To those who have helped you in your endeavors and to the world you belong to.
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.
Enjoying the ocean and wide beaches. Meandering in the Venice Canals. Cruising the miles of beach bike paths. Hiking the Canyons, Griffith Park, Palisades. Marveling at the Woolies in the Tarpits. Ah! Pre-covid?… Having dinner at hidden gems like The Wolves, Trois Freres, Black Rabbit. Sipping wine in the olive grove of the Otium. Paradise Cove for a brunch with sandy feet. A mini-vacation to Catalina Island. Summer nights at the Hollywood bowl. Strolling the museums. Stumbling across those small pop-up gigs, art openings and underground events across the city… allowing the opportunity to endlessly marvel at the immense talent amassed in this small corner of the world!
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?
To shoutout one specific thing that has affected my career life in an extraordinary manner: the incredible public middle school that I had attended – Kent Middle School! Very grateful to the school for being astute and open-minded enough to offer an elective class in animation (when animation was still fringe) to the little 6th- 8th graders. Not only was being given a super-8 camera with a sole directive of “make things come alive!” incredibly engrossing, but it ended up being the base inspiration for my life’s direction. So important to introduce young students to careers and concepts outside the norm – the world is full of possibilities! Ironic side note: 15 years later, during my 10 year tenure at the vfx company Industrial Light & Magic, I was asked by HR to do a “Career Day” talk … and by sheer chance, it was at Kent Middle School! The school was still teaching the same animation class, run by the same teacher . The students eyes lit up when I showed the them the work I had done when I was their age, at that same school, in that very same class with their teacher… and then showed them the work I was doing currently at ILM on movies such as Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean. An intangible career in film/animation was suddenly an absolute tangibility to these students and accessible through a class they were in at school!