An illusionist, conjurer, and artist, Salman Sajun based in Montreal Quebec, is a director that specializes in bringing the inanimate to life. Through a blend of stop motion and live action, he has created content for high-profile clients including Google and Nickelodeon. With a true artistic passion and an eye for perfection, his work evokes the nostalgia of childhood, when imagination could bring toys to life. Salman describes his work as being a journey of discovery frame by frame, inspired by the ability to use raw, physical objects to tell a story. His studio’s vision is, “we strive to make the world a colourful, more aesthetically pleasing place where imagination runs wild and creativity drives all content”.
When I first saw Salman’s work, I instantly wanted to know more. How did he develop his vision to create such unique, playful content? And, how did he make this magical content happen? Who was behind it? After working with Salman as an online customer of The Camera Store, we had the opportunity to quiz him about his roots, work, team, and vision.
I was surprised to learn that his career did not begin in the world of art, at least not in the way one might expect. When I asked Salman about his roots as an artist, he talked about it in jest. “With a start to my professional career in economics, history, and anthropology at the University of Toronto, it was only a natural fit to leave it all and jump to the other end of the spectrum and dabble in the dark arts of the creative industry.” Filmmaking was always something that intrigued him. Before landing there, he spent a few years absorbing Concept Art. “This is where I learned a lot of my base and got familiar with how to creatively think and problem-solve as a designer while training very rigorously in techniques of representational art. Being someone who is always hungry for the next challenge, I wanted to tell these stories with multiple images. This landed me in the film industry where my focus was around creating work for brands and clients who needed help telling their story, and selling their message with fun visual content.”
Salman started his studio as a one-man show. With a focus on content that blurs the lines between stop-motion and live-action, the teams he was working with were generally made up by the same crew. His team eventually evolved to include a few more people who they call the Core Team. Keeping the team nimble and diverse is extremely important to Salman, allowing them to easily expand depending on the project, with enough oomph to be able to create some “kickass content” that they love sending out into the world. They are currently a team of 5, that Salman describes with pride. “We have an extraordinary Producer (Fahad) who handles our day to day and all client relations, Lead Animator (Anna) who makes sure all the magical motion we cook up comes to life, Editor (Simon) who specializes in really working with our footage, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy, Sound Designer (Mattia) who puts as much detail in his sound design as was taken in crafting the shoot, and yours truly (Salman) who takes care of overall Creative and general Direction on projects.”
When it comes to their all-encompassing vision, the goal is to create short-form content that pops out and keeps you wanting more. “We believe with shortening attention spans, we get a very small window of opportunity to connect with audiences, which means that it is critical to ensure that we have very impactful content that catches their eye immediately when they see it.”
The studio’s overall mantra is “KEEP IT IN CAMERA”. They go the extra mile to make sure that everything they create is done “for-real” in camera and almost all of their projects are 100% what you see is what you get. They have even gone so far as to drop a 3-inch knife 12-feet down frame-by-frame to create a knife falling visual, and once they froze real goat brains to create this fun image.
Here are some images of a series we created that was showcased on the main page of Snap Chat: http://www.salmansajun.com/#/punday
Although Salman’s favourite project is usually the one they just finished, “THE PROCESS” has a special place in his heart. It speaks to who they are as a studio, what they do and how they do it! Salman says, “since this was a self-initiated project, without a client, I think the team we had, and their motivating dedication to the project, made it my favourite. The process of creating this project had a talented band of magicians including the core team, and it was such a collaborative effort from each department with so much work that really just flew by! It also doesn’t hurt to be recognized by Vimeo, Fubiz and a bunch of film festivals where THE PROCESS has been pre-selected and recognized.”
Like many artists, Salman says that the biggest challenge is breaking through the industry and finding clients that actually allow you to put your best creative self forward. He says, “this is still a challenge and one that I feel every creative probably struggles with. But, I do feel we have covered some ground on this as we continue to push forward. Starting up it was very difficult to be trusted by clients when you do not have a lot of other big clients behind you, and what helped was not losing sight of the end goal, and continually pushing on. I really think as a Creative Studio we still have a long way to go, to hopefully reach a place where imagination runs wild and creative drives all content!!”
Don’t forget to stay up to date with what the Salman Sajun Studio is Cooking:
If you want to see how they do some of the in-camera trickery you can get a sneak-peek on their BTS Instagram profile.