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CREATIVES SPOTLIGHT- LARA SALAM (PRODUCER, ILLUSTRATOR & ANIMATOR @LARASALAM7

My Twitter Handle @larasalam7

My Instagram Handle  @larasalam

Video link 

Tell us about your creative path so far and any milestones that you have? 

With a Bachelors in Animation, I have been working in the industry since 2008. I started freelancing full time in 2012, not just as an animator, but as an illustrator, graphic designer, storyboard artist, etc. I would say yes to everything that came my way! In 2016, after working in Canada, Germany, and Malaysia, I left freelancing for a role as a Senior Creative Manager at the Bengal Foundation in Bangladesh, which focuses on supporting the arts and culture of the country. Here I started producing, art directing and writing original content – not just in animation, but live-action, photography, and so much more. Two years later I went back to freelancing, with a focus now as a producer and writer. My animation background is the foundation on which I stand, but writing and producing felt like a natural progression for me – the next step in the right direction. However, I still love to draw and frequently take illustration projects. Currently, I am writing stories for UNICEF, having just wrapped up on a documentary that I wrote and produced called Woven Air ( https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=3125331274242481&id=105264142915891)

What are other creative art forms that you enjoy? 

I love ballet. I am absolutely rubbish at it but it’s my happy place. 

Tell us about one piece of work you are not proud of, and what did you learn from it? Just one? 

When I first started out as a freelancer I took a lot of jobs where the client wanted things done cheaply and quickly. These situations did not allow for a lot of quality to come through. It’s a tale as old as time: you can’t have things done well and done quickly without adequate compensation for the time and effort involved. 

What is your best self- care technique?

 Excercise. Most of my work doesn’t involve much movement, so it is vital that I get in some kind of physical workout to keep things in balance 

What are some platforms that creative’s and freelancers should be using right now and why? 

It depends on what kind of audience you would like to reach. But posting regularly on social media platforms like Instagram, Linkedin, etc, really helps put your work out there. I have to add that I am not good at this at all. 

If you were on a desert island and could only take one piece of creative material to help you with your work what would you take and why? 

A sketchbook with something to write and draw with (does that count as one?). It would be essential to put my thoughts to paper to stave off going mad. 

How do you seek out opportunities?

Networking and reaching out to people. Generally staying in touch is not just good manners, it can be quite helpful! 

What does support mean to you?

Friends, family, and faith. I couldn’t keep going without these pillars holding me up 

What are two useful pieces of advice that you have received from people about your career?

– To focus on creating things that make you happy, rather than on what you think would sell.

– Don’t undersell yourself

What are the next steps with your work that you are looking to take?

When I began as a freelancer, I had to branch out quite a bit to keep the work coming in. I am now at a point where I want to narrow that focus to a few things and put the rest on the back burner. I would specifically like to focus on producing, writing and illustrating. 

Could you share with us some support materials that you have found useful during this period? 

A dear friend of mine has been hosting yoga classes on zoom almost every day for a few of us which has been wonderful. Another friend has been hosting scriptwriting sessions, also on zoom, once a week. This kind of isolation is tough on anyone, even the most introverted individual. Video sessions with friends online can be fun and productive. Even just having the camera on with a buddy while you chat and draw together can make a big difference to your day. 

Also here is a podcast that I quite enjoy:

https://johnaugust.com/scriptnotes 

Other things that cheer me up during lockdown 

Sir Patrick Stewert reading a sonnet a day is lovely: https://twitter.com/SirPatStew/status/1241871592700993536 

Jennifer Ehle reading Pride and Prejudice is delightful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVbLdOWjfhg&list=PLL84Aw12nRu1NHMOltb9n7ca8XaYlnU77 

These guys creating songs in quarantine are fun: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-E58dEIw10/

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