Wino is the WRHC Open Media Award Winner for Scribendi‘s 2016 edition, created by graphic designer, photographer, and artist Kim Schneider. Wino tells the intimate, stop-motion animated story of a woman working to confront existential questions in her life with the help of tiny figurine people and, of course, wine. The piece also serves as a music video for a song by Val Emmich’s band, The Good Names Are Taken. I had the great pleasure of interviewing Kim Schneider briefly about her life and Wino.
So you grew up in New Mexico, but ended up living in Prague, CZ for a year. How did that happen? What was it about Prague that sparked your love of graphic design?
It’s been a mission of mine to move out of New Mexico since I graduated high school, and studying abroad for as long as possible was the best way I could do it during college. I knew graphic design was what I wanted to study, and the only available exchange universities for that were one in Rome and maybe London—but I didn’t want to go to a common study abroad city, and one in Chile, but I’ve been in South America and knew Europe was calling my name. And once I got to Prague, the people, the techno, the way my university and friends focused everything round art and good graphic design rekindled my love of design and helped me see it and work with it in really successful new ways.
You noted that you “responded to a call for a graphic designer from one of my favorite musicians of all-time, Val Emmich.” How did you end up directing the video for his song “Wino”? What was it like working with him?
After I saw Val’s tweet asking for a graphic designer, I emailed him some work samples and he reached out to me, asking if I’d ever done any kind of stop motion video work. Luckily, I was weirdly obsessed with the process of them during high school, had a bit of YouTube success, and was comfortable with making them, so I went for it.
Working with Val was awesome, and he was so reasonable with me—I was definitely more poor of a communicator than I wanted to be! He was patient, was really easy to bounce ideas off of during our Skype check-in sessions, and continues to be fun to talk to as merits of the video start to roll out!
What inspired the human/figurine narrative driving the piece?
All of my other stop motion video had dealt with dinosaur figurines, and I really wanted to get away from that. Originally, we thought about creating some kind of point-of-view video where my hands would have been the subject—but ultimately, the train people brought the whimsy we were looking to create.
Over 2,500 stills, almost over six months to complete. What was the process of working on Wino like? What did you learn form it?
The process of working on Wino was slow from an actual production standpoint—the actual amount of filming time consumed was probably under a week, but I thought about this project constantly. How to match the lyrics to the people’s movements without being too outright about it, how to make my people do things that looked cool and fit into certain windows of time. Not to mention they always fall over, ideas don’t come easy all of the time, and I was studying abroad—traveling a lot, in intensive design school, and not always able to dedicate my full attention to the project. I worked in spurts, and actually finished filming the ending of the film 45 minutes before my plane left Prague!
What’s next for Kimberly Schneider? Are more film-making projects like Wino a possibility?
I’d love to do another music video if it fits with an artist I loved and was in the same enchanting, magical realm—but I wouldn’t go out of my way to create something unless the time was right. Design is where I really stand, this is just for fun!
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you guys for the interview, it was fun to write it all out!