Caitlin Jedski, a third year student on London College of Communication’s BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design course, recently spent three months working as an Assistant Graphic Designer on the upcoming Wes Anderson film ‘Isle of Dogs’.
When embarking on her Diploma in Professional Studies year, Caitlin Jedski was clear on one thing, she really wanted to work on a film. Deeply engaged in typography, print and production, Caitlin wanted to explore the role of a designer in the movies – so was delighted to be offered an internship as Assistant Graphic Designer on the new Wes Anderson film.
‘Isle of Dogs’ is the upcoming stop-motion animated adventure film directed by Wes Anderson and features an extensive ensemble voice cast including Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray and Jeff Goldblum.
Aside from working on ‘Isle of Dogs’, Caitlin worked for letterpress printmaker Alan Kitching and completed a 6 month internship at Apple before securing an internship to work at 3 Mills Studios in London as an assistant graphic designer.
We caught up with Caitlin to hear about her time working on ‘Isle of Dogs’…
What was it like working on a Wes Anderson film? Did you have a chance to meet with him?
Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to meet Wes in person. However, being an auteur, everything our department created was very much overseen by him in close detail.
He was in frequent communication via email, where we constantly received feedback on the graphics, their finishing, and how they looked after being filmed/photographed, as well as to discuss visual references.
What is the film ‘Isle of Dogs’ about?
Set in Japan 20 years in the future, there is an outbreak of dog flu which causes all dogs in the country to be exiled to a place called ‘Trash Island’. It follows the journey of a young boy, Atari, who is searching for his pet dog, Spots.
How did the opportunity come about?
Put shortly, through sending emails and bothering people! I contacted the Art Department Coordinator, Caitlin Fraser, asking for an internship on the film many months before I was approached with the opportunity.
I didn’t think anything would come of it. Surprisingly they got back to me a few months later as they happened to urgently needed an assistant with the technical skills I had originally offered.
What was a typical working day like on the internship?
I don’t think there was anything typical about a day on ‘Isle of Dogs’ apart from arriving at 8am and leaving at 7pm. The days were long, but exciting nonetheless – particularly when going for walks around the studios to speak with people and deliver props.
My jobs were primarily in the area of print finishing – they ranged from ensuring that the chosen paper stocks had a fine grain that would not show on camera, finding different ways of manipulating the studio printers to fake print aesthetics, assembling tiny items of packaging and even binding very small books.
All of these aspects contributed towards creating a more authentic feel on camera. It was a truly fantastic and valuable experience to be able to apply my practical ‘craft’ skills in this way.
What’s been the greatest highlight during your internship?
Rather typically, it was my colleagues that made the experience for me – they were a lot of fun and very encouraging. As far as the job went, it was probably the only experience during Diploma for Professional Studies where I could utilise such a wide range of different design and craft skills while working for someone else. This was a definite highlight.
What was the most valuable lesson you learnt through working on ‘Isle of Dogs’?
I had never worked on anything so large-scale before, so I started off feeling very daunted about various aspects of the job. Most importantly, I came out of it a lot more confident. I learned not to undervalue the skills that I do have, with knowledge that there will always be room to refine them further.
Did the opportunity change your perception of working in the industry at all? If so, how?
Certainly. It made me appreciate the tight collaboration that goes on behind the scenes in the film industry. Previously, I thought of graphic design as a stand-alone job role, whereas in film you have to consider graphic design beyond the computer and in relation to the needs of various other departments.
What are you hoping to do next?
My long-term ambition for the future is to run my own graphic design studio. Realistically, I’m not sure where I could end up after graduating – I’m aiming to gain further experience in the film industry and try freelancing for a while. However, I’m open-minded at this point.
How has your time at LCC helped you prepare for this experience?
Being able to incorporate the use of LCC’s workshop areas into the course’s project briefs has been essential to gaining a diverse range of skills which were integral to me obtaining the job on ‘Isle of Dogs’.
‘Isle of Dogs’ will premiere at the Berlin Film Festival on 15 February 2018