Is procrastination something to be explored or excluded from your practice? Julia Sagar watches as the creative vice gets flip-reversed at Sauce 2
The second installment of London-based studio Animade’s new series of talks, Sauce 2, tackled a topic close to many creatives’ hearts – procrastination – when the team took over the capital’s Protein Studios on 15 November.
As Animade co-founder Tom Judd explained, procrastination often inspires a love/hate relationship: “It can be an enemy that tears us away from work,” he pointed out, “and it can be our friend, giving us opportunity.”
Studio AKA animation director Kristian Andrews took the latter position during an entertaining opening talk in which he introduced the audience to Gavin Paul – a pseudonyum under which he bombarded Comedy Central with a series of humorous stings, in response to an ‘exposure’ email from the company. “It was an odd journey of procrastination with these Comedy Central films,” he reflected as he walked through the animations, which became increasingly bizarre. “I was having fun so I kept rolling,” he laughed.
Procrastination also led Andrews to create his first videogame, Barbara-ian, which revolves around “a mythical badass with perma-rage and a penchant for smashing”. As he showed, good things can come from focusing on tasks other than the one in hand.
Another creative to flip procrastination on its head during the evening was sound designer Mutant Jukebox, who talked about the vice as a tool to progress – and had a wealth of advice for getting more from procrastination. “Who you procrastinate with matters, and where,” he explained. “Procrastinating with others can prevent you from stagnation.”
For him, procrastination has played an important role in the development of his work. “Messing around became an essential part of how I was experimenting with sound and music,” he explained, adding that “hanging out” with other creatives is a good way to get to know people really well, and can lead to better work. “Remember: don’t procrastinate by yourself,” he urged. “Get out there and procrastinate with others.”
Graphic designer and illustrator Bee Grandinetti also took a proactive approach to the issue. She described Hungarian psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s concept of ‘flow’, in which a person is completely absorbed in what they’re doing; before dissecting some of the issues that can prevent creatives from reaching that state. “You need enough skills to be able to do the task, but there has to be a challenge too, to get to the flow,” she said. “Once you find the trigger for your own flow and why you procrastinate, you can control your mindset.”
“I’ve learned to accept and embrace procrastination as another way of producing work,” said animator Sophie Koko Gate. Unusually, she managed to develop a new, highly clientfriendly style of illustration while procrastinating on developing a personal project – showing once again that procrastination certainly can lead to unexpected places.
For animation studio Golden Wolf, procrastination is a necessary evil: “Sometimes you need the space to let your mind wander,” said co-founder Ewen Stenhouse. It’s also a creative tool that can be used for good, as creative director Ingi Erlingsson pointed out. “We send stupid GIFs and things on Slack all day,” he laughed. “It really helps us bond as a studio and focus on our work – it gives us a common sense of humour and outlook on life. As creatives, we have to live with procrastination and embrace it.”
Left: Animade’s Ed Barrett and Tom Judd kick off a fantastic evening of inspiration.