Watch dina A. Amin’s Pep Talk on starting out in stop-motion animation

Our latest Pep Talk featured stop-motion creator and maker, dina A. Amin, who answered all of your questions on starting out in stop-motion animation and carving out your own niche in industry. Hosted by Steph Fung, dina spoke about investing in yourself and creating your own market, as well as sharing how her product design background helps with her stop-motion projects. Plus, we’ve listed all the resources dina recommends for those starting out, including a range of courses, books and accounts to follow.

The big talking points:

  • Why it’s vital to create your own opportunities (4:00)
  • What stop-motion is, and how it differs from other types of animation (7:17)
  • How dina’s product design background influences her animation work (12:18)
  • Why it’s not essential for animators to have a degree (18:15)
  • The best websites, courses and books for budding stop-motion animators (22:14)
  • What you need to create stop-motion animations on a budget (26:18)
  • How to create the work that you want to be paid to make (28:00)
  • dina’s story of her first paid commission for the BBC (31:00)
  • How to create community by sharing your work online (33:27)
  • dina’s tips for looking after your health as an animator (38:58)

What did I miss?
After an introduction from our host Steph Fung, dina shared her own mini-pep talk with us: “To get clients who want to take the risk and invest in you, you need to take the risk and invest in yourself first.”

Based in Cairo, Egypt, dina currently works primarily in stop-motion animation – a pocket of the industry she seemingly came upon by chance. Having originally studied product design, dina was disheartened to find out that most broken products in Egypt end up being thrown away, rather than fixed. Intrigued, she began visiting scrap markets and started a side project on Instagram that used stop-motion animation to take objects apart – all the while working as graphic designer and social media manager.

Despite remembering her first experiments with animation as “horrible”, dina immediately fell in love with the medium. Posting an animation every Friday, her animations and ideas became more complex as time went on – with her growing online following even sending her pictures of their own broken products. Soon enough, clients also started to approach dina – the first being BBC Arabia, with companies like Adult Swim and Vodafone seeking her out shortly after.

“To get clients who want to take the risk and invest in you, you need to take the risk and invest in yourself first.”

Having switched paths from product designer to stop-motion animator, dina offered her advice to people who are contemplating a similar swap. Rather than thinking of this as starting a new career from scratch, dina suggested thinking about career switches as adding another career to an existing one – with one often informing the other.

Other topics touched upon include the difference between specialising or working as more a generalist in animation; the limits of experimenting within client work and looking after your health in a mostly sedentary job.

Finally, when asked about the tools you need to get started in stop-motion, dina reassuringly shares that all you need is your phone and a couple of lights: “You just need to know how light works”. She also shared a handful of resources, including Patreon accounts to subscribe to and apps to download, which are all listed below.

Resources recommended by dina for anyone looking to get into stop-motion animation

Courses

Social media accounts

Other

About dina A. Amin
Based in Cairo, Egypt, dina A. Amin is a self-taught stop motion artist and maker. Having initially studied industrial design in Malaysia, today, dina is the founder of Tinker Studio, which produces stop-motion videos for diverse clients and companies around the world, including Adult Swim, Ikea, Vodafone and Danone.

After moving back to Egypt, dina spent her weekends working on projects she was truly passionate about – namely, taking apart objects. Combining her passion for stop-motion and product design, she later started side project, Tinker Friday, in 2016. Initially using just her phone and sharing videos to Instagram, dina used stop-motion to deconstruct objects and investigate what’s inside the countless things we throw away. In turn examining just how wasteful consumer culture can be, it highlighted the potential to reuse and repurpose objects in a creative way.

Soon enough, dina began to grow a following online and attract client work, inspiring her to dedicate more time to studying animation using online courses. Now, taking products apart has turned into a full-time career.

Today, dina loves to explore the intersections between various disciplines, describing her work as “one big bowl of all the things I love mixed together; stop motion, making, junk, maybe food, culture among many other things.”

See more from dina on her website and Instagram.

What is Pep Talk?
Pep Talk is our monthly Instagram Live event to share relatable, easy-to-process tips in conversation with inspiring creatives.

Each session begins with a ‘pep talk’, where a chosen creative gets to share their ultimate advice for anyone who might be feeling a bit stuck, before answering questions submitted by you, our readers.

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Written by Creative Lives in Progress