What is your name and what is your position at TTF?
My name is Joanne Smithies and I am a Visualization Supervisor at The Third Floor London.
How long have you been with TTF?
TTF and I have been married for almost 7 years now.
What does your role look like day to day?
It’s like spinning plates in the air, which is thrilling and very fun!
Planning to achieve today’s goals but also planning for all the future alternative universes, making sure we are ready as a team for whatever comes our way!
There is no standard “day to day”, everything is fluid. It involves guiding my team, sharing all I know with them as well as learning all I can from them whilst also encouraging and challenging them. There is a lot of collaboration and beautiful, powerful teamwork that makes your heart swell with pride and joy!
What led you to work in the visualization and entertainment industry?
I started out as an animator and I loved it! But the greedy monster that I am, wanted more. I wanted to do the camera work as well, I wanted to be involved with whole sequences, with the pace and the mood.
As I stepped in the world of visualisation, it was like falling down a never-ending rabbit hole of learning opportunities; previs, postvis, techvis, virtual production and how everything beautifully ties together. I was hooked.
What is your favourite part about working for TTF?
The people. My weird, strange and eccentric extended family of artists, for whom I had to triple the size of my heart.
What advice would you give someone looking to get into this industry?
Immerse yourself in all kinds of art forms, composition is everywhere, learn what feels and doesn’t feel aesthetically pleasing. Then just practise, practise, practise. Animation skills are also absolutely vital, it will allow you to express yourself quicker and with much more ease.
Biggest milestone at TTF / How have you grown here?
There are too many milestones. The learning is constant. It’s like Obelix falling into the marmite of magic potion… But only at TTF, no one pulls you out of it. I have grown, and I have so much more growing to do.
What’s your favourite artform?
This is an impossible question!
If you hadn’t become an artist, what would you have been?
I realise, I would probably be unemployed.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Museums, exhibitions, books, films, paintings, sculptures, music, contemporary dancing, theatre, walks, nature, thoughts, feelings, conversations. Life.
What piece of media was the biggest influence on you as a kid?
I think of the painting “Autumnal Cannibalism” by Salvador Dali.
It was in my half-sister’s flat, hanging above the sofa. There was not much entertainment for us kids when we visited. So, I spent a small lifetime staring at it. I was absolutely drawn to it, I knew (and probably still know) every detail of it. It followed me for a long time and even influenced my first paintings as a teenager.
You’re on the run from a hoard of zombies, what do you do?
It really depends on how closely they are following me and their average speed.
I think going up is a popular mistake. Smashing them requires upper body strength that I do not have. Moving onto a small island feels like the best course of action, long term.
If not London/LA, where?
I truly don’t know- I would let another place choose me.
Describe what you were like as a 10 year old?
I was very bossy and hyper-active. I used to do weird things like driving bumper cars perfectly without bumping into anybody, thinking someone would notice I was a natural and give me my driving license. I would insist on being part of every important sounding adult conversation. I had many obsessions, house building was one of them (out of any materials, sheets, wood, bricks etc…). I was also an inventor, always telling my little sister that I had to try first for safety. If I didn’t die, then she could try. I spent a lot of time researching a cure for Cancer in snails, very niche. I didn’t like when different foods touched each other on my plate. I didn’t know how to dance and I was a terrible singer, but I was good at drawing!
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you?
Hugh Jackman but as Wolverine disguised as me.
People would be surprised if they knew…
I finished high school… in Cairo… Egypt.
Go-to karaoke song
Any of the French Celine Dion songs, obviously.