Julia Pott
Julia Pott
Why She's On Our Radar:  London-raised, New York-based animator Julia Pott's brilliant animations have received over a million hits on YouTube, thanks largely in part to her web breakout "My First Crush." The film sets Pott's signature hand-drawn animals to recordings of people discussing their awkward histories with their first crushes.  Now, she's on the festival circuit with her heartbreaking coming-of-age friendship story "Belly."

Indiewire caught up with Pott after she screened this latest film at Rooftop Films in New York.

How did you get your start animating?

I guess I started like everyone else:  I went to school for it.  Then I went to Kingston to do Illustration and Animation.  I thought I wanted to be an illustrator, but the balance of both was nice, and I realized I wanted to do Animation.  I graduated in 2007, and I did my first short film, "My First Crush."  I was taking time off, and it got a million hits on YouTube, and I started to get people wanting me to do work.  So that was the start of my career. I was able to start animating as a career without having to do anything else after school.

I guess one can't assume how they're career is going to begin.

Yeah!  It was baffling!  

How often are you doing stuff that's self-directed and how often are you hired to do things?

I don't think I've ever been hired by somebody else more than a handful of times.  I helped a couple of directors while I was starting out.  I've mostly done self-initiated stuff.  With commercials, I'm given a lot of creative freedom, because they'll have seen something else that I've done and want something similar to that, which has been super lucky so far, because I don't think I'd be very good at taking direction.  It's good, because I pitch on those kinds of works-for-hire and I never get them!  I think my production company kind of hates me for that!

How does collaboration work for you?  Do you like working with certain kinds of people?

Because it's my comfort zone, I prefer to work alone.  With the music videos that I did, they just told me to do whatever.  They tell me simple things, like this should have a red shirt, this shirt should be blue.  But then, I collaborated with my ex-boyfriend on this Bat for Lashes music video and that was the first time I've worked with somebody else, and that's the thing I'm probably the most proud of because we had to write it together and compromise.  It's an important skill to learn!  

I'm working on something for Channel 4 right now, animating a poem from another writer. They found the writer, and I'm animating his poem.  It's about the end of the world, told backwards from the last day on Earth through the five days before.  It's not my writing for the first time which is liberating!  There's not that anxiety where you come up with the idea, and you say "Maybe I'm the only one who likes this..."