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Interview with Josh Janousky

Updated: Nov 7, 2021

Magicians Talking Magic Podcast chats with the incredible Josh Janousky!

Josh Janousky is not only is a creator, animator, and team lead, he is an awesome magician. In this episode, he shares a ton of amazing tips from virtual magic to an essential guide Tik Tok guide for magicians! Let's chat with Josh Janousky!

Magicians Talking Magic Podcast Audio Transcript Interview with Magician Josh Janousky

Graeme Reed: Welcome to the Magicians Talking Magic Oh boy, that's different. My name is Graeme and I left a full-time career on TV broadcasting to pursue my childhood passion of being a magician and welcome to this special interview series of MTM. We are so glad that you've been listening along through the past few weeks. This week, we have special guests Josh Janesky he not only is a creator, an animator, a team lead, but he is just an awesome Magicians and share so much amazing tips. Everything from virtual Magic to Twitch, to content creation. Plus we even dive into a little bit of animation that he has worked on some top movies that you have probably seen in the theaters. So without further ado, here's my good friend. Josh Jenelle scoring on Magicians Talking Magic we have creator, magician and animator. Josh Jenelle scape.

Josh Janousky: Oh my gosh. Thank you for having me.

Graeme Reed: Josh thanks so much for being on the show currently. Where are you in the world?

Josh Janousky: I am in Montreal, Canada right now. So the French parts of, of your, your neck

Graeme Reed: You're in Montreal. And currently right now in the background, we hear a little bit of a gizmo going on. This is one of your friends. This is your friend.

Josh Janousky: Yes, yes. This is, uh, this is my, my pet robot. It was just, you know, chilling around in the background. So that's so amazing. So it say someone else want to do a choir, such gizmo, is that, where would they get that from? So it's called a vector robot and I'm pretty sure you can get on Amazon. That's where I got mine. Um, but yeah, vector robot. So, so you said you're, you're, you've been basically at home for three weeks. So your workplace you're N you're not a full time magician, but you all kind of, in a way you are though, you kind of really are because you are an animator for motion pictures essentially. Right? Exactly. Yeah. So, um, I've been a VFX animator for the past two years, and then for the past three months or so I've been, uh, more of an animation instructor.

Uh, so for the company that I work for, uh, it is, it's a parent's company of Technicolor and Technicolor has multiple different animation studios. And so I was promoted to be the animation learning lead for that company. And so now I get to teach people, uh, how it is to work in VFX and then send them off to the different studios. So that's what I've been doing lately, which has been great because I can work from home. So that's perfect. So it kind of worked out timing wise on that. So in what, what kind of like, what would that entail in, um, it's a lot, I mean, it's like, I'm trying to figure out the easiest way to explain it, uh, to, to non animators. Um, but basically what I do is when it comes to animating for VFX films, it's very different than doing something like SpongeBob or a Pixar movie.

And so it's making sure they understand how to do that, how to work within a pipeline. So our specific set of tools that help make the film become a film. It's learning just also how to handle yourself on like a show floor. So being able to work with people have deadlines, going to dailies, which is our daily meetings and getting feedback. And so it just sort of helping them prepare to become the good, great animators that they are testing to be. So holding the minds, that's amazing, that kind of shows how large of project that you're working on, that you are almost training people to be like, Hey, this is what you have to be ready for. And this is kind of how it's going to go. Exactly. Which is amazing instead of just like good luck. Yep. Yeah, no, that's it. Cause like, for me personally, when I started, I, this was my first job was being a VFX animator, which is super exciting, but also was incredibly intimidating.

Cause like I didn't have a real reference point and literally it was like my first day and they're like, all right, you have a week to learn how to do all this. And then you're going to start working on a movie. And I was like, Oh God, like, I wasn't like prepared for that. So it was really intimidating. So this has been great, cause at least is helping other people not feel as scared as, as I was, but obviously it worked out because like I said, I've been here for two years. Uh, they haven't gotten rid of me yet. That's really cool. That's what was the first movie that you got to actually work on? And the first movie I actually worked on was one of the most recent ones that come out. Uh, but it was just these Noel, which is on Disney plus.

Um, but that was the very first movie that I worked on, which was incredibly exciting just because like, honestly it was just such a cool thing to be working on a movie that like people didn't know about. And it was kind of exciting to be like, Oh my God, I know, I know things what's going to happen. And then from there I jumped around to a bunch of different films. I've worked on Godzilla, uh, predator, Shizam, uh, detective Pika, Chu, uh, Artemis, fowl, Doolittle, which just came out and then, um, Sonic the hedgehog at the very end, I got to help with some marketing stuff on that, which was a lot of fun. Whoa. That is, um, and you've only been there for two years, correct? Yes. Yeah. That's quite the demo relate what out of all the projects that you've worked on so far, I saw your demo reel for do little looks.

Fabulous. Thank you. Thank you. Um, what was your favorite project to work on? I think honestly do a little was one of the, my favorites. I would say it's probably tied between Doolittle and Sonic. Uh, Sonic was unique just because, like I said, we did the, we worked on marketing stuff, so we did all the fun trailers and things like that. So that was a very different vibe to working on films because as opposed to being like, okay, we have to get this ready for the movie. It was a little bit more fun, but also equally stressful because we like, we have to get this ready for the Superbowl. We have to get this ready for this. Uh, so that was a fun project because of that. And then also, cause it was Sonic the hedgehog, which is just kind of like a cool thing to have worked, but as a whole, it was definitely do a little just cause it was a really fun movie.

Uh, I think there's like 84 different animals in there. I got to work on about 20 different shots. I think I, at one point I worked on pretty much every animal, uh, in that movie. So it was that one was definitely my favorite just cause it was, it was a cool one and it was also really exciting cause that's the first movie that Robert Downey jr was doing after being iron man. And so I knew a lot of people were like really interested to see that movie. So it was kind of cool being like I'm part of this, which is fun.

Graeme Reed: That's um, is a do little technically like, um, part of the Marvel universe.

Josh Janousky: Um, you know what I mean, Tom Holland is in it and so is Robert Downey jr. So maybe if you like take one of those multi-verse things you could say it is, but uh, not officially two different studios.

Graeme Reed: I bet you can find a couple of blog posts out there where someone has that

Josh Janousky: A hundred percent. Oh, a hundred percent. One of my favorites was there's this graphic designer who I follow on Instagram by the name of boss logic. And when they released all the different posters for do a little, it was do a little with the different animals and someone, or he edited the poster. So it was rocket, the raccoon was next to him instead of the squirrel Kevin. So it was just really funny because it was just like you saw Robert Downey jr. And then rocket next to him. And then you're like, wait, is this a Marvel movie? I don't know anymore.

Graeme Reed: That's awesome for me. I don't know that out of my interest because I know it takes a whole team to make all those creatures move and anything animated. So each person kind of has an individual job to make that whole thing function. What, what do you usually work on specifically? Or what were you working on before you were like,

Josh Janousky: So I'm, I'm specifically animation. So that's making things come to life. So I'm the guy who makes the characters move. Um, basically there's something in a movie that's not real and it has to move on the guy who does that. Um, so that was what my job was. And then there's obviously, like you said, there's tons of other departments. So there's people who actually make the 3d characters. There's people who've put bones into them. There's people who put fur on it. There's people who create virtual lights that way it looks as real as possible. There's so many steps involved. But my specific job, which I personally think is the most fun is the one actually bringing them to life and making them do stuff.

Graeme Reed: Wow. So do you, when did that, I mean like all the hair and cloth and material move, is that a separate animation animator or would that be,

Josh Janousky: That's a completely different department that would be under CRA or CFX character effects or tech annum. Um, and so those are the exactly right. They're the people who go ahead and add all that fun stuff. Uh, there's actually a really, really great video for anyone who's watching, listening who is interested from Dreamworks, if you search on YouTube, um, I think it's like Dreamworks pipeline explanation or something. It's a video that talks you through all the different stages of animation and in their case, they're doing it specifically for feature film. Cause obviously they're Dreamworks, but most of those departments are also used in VFX as well. So it gives you a kind of an idea of how many different things actually go into creating the movie is that you, you watch. So

Graeme Reed: I know what I'm doing to, uh, kill some time. Well,

Josh Janousky: Right.

Graeme Reed: Yeah. And you know, that, that would probably be a good one to share with like the family too, to even get kids into the idea of animation and how movies are.

Josh Janousky: Exactly. Yeah. And actually that one's really great because the way they did it is they it's with the, uh, the penguins from the Madagascar movies. He's sort of hosting the explanation. So it's actually perfect. If you want to have like a kid who maybe wants to get into that to watch it because they can kind of connect to it a little bit more because it's more accessible without being super technical, but still explains that technical side. So you understand like what's going on. Cause a lot of people think that like I just spend my day clicking a button and then it's just like, you hit the animate button and it's done. It's not it at all. So

Graeme Reed: Yeah. Now, um, I did see a post that you posted on FA and that was with your Doolittle, uh, real. And we're going to get to that in a second. Um, but you with animation comes probably a lot of research, right. If you're looking at, but making a tiger move exactly. Can you talk a little bit of research that you would do?

Josh Janousky: Yeah. So the thing is like you have to, when you're working in any kinds of film and especially for visual effects, like we know what things are supposed to look like. And that's why a lot of times when people see things and say it's bad, like CG, it's not necessarily because it looks bad, but because there's something just wrong about it and you know, something is wrong. And so when it comes to like working on different characters, you really have to understand how these creatures and things move. Because if you have this massive tiger, but he's walking like a mouse, like that just feels weird. Like you just know something's wrong, even if it looks correct, you're just like, no, that's not right. So you have to learn how to walk like a tiger. What things do they do? Which how did their shoulders go and the same thing for anything.

So even when you're doing like fictional things, uh, like, so when we were doing on predator, uh, I got to work on the predator upgrade who was this big, like 12 foot tall, super predator thing. And so you had to make sure that there's an, you can't go find a 12 foot tall man, and be like, Hey, could you act this out for me? So you have to imagine what it's like and understand the mechanics of the body, but also like what, something that big, how would they move kind of deal. So it's not going to necessarily be super fast movements because they're big and strong and they have lots of muscles that get in the way. So you have to have this more powerful kind of vibe to it. And honestly, for me, that's one of my favorite parts is like something reference for things.

I love that so much at work. A lot of times people would use me for reference because some people are very self conscious. On the other hand, I'm like, put me in front of the camera, let's do this. And, and probably I actually comes from the Magic world just because I'm used to performing. So I feel more comfortable making myself look like a fool, acting like a gorilla because it's like, for me, it's fun. But also I don't mind. And I love doing that. It's fun getting in the mind to different characters and it's great. Cause I'll watch movies with people that I worked with where I did the reference and we'll make jokes and be like, Oh, that's me. I'm that guy. And it's so much fun.

Graeme Reed: Do you have a sample clip of something like that that you could send me?

Josh Janousky: Unfortunately, I can't just because of the stuff is like NDA things. I'm trying to think. And I don't have any good clips from my personal shot. You know what? I might, I might have one from a shot that I'm working on right now, um, in my own spare time. So let me see if I can find it and I'll send you the reference for that.

Graeme Reed: Yeah. Because I got the idea from the way you move around, clearly you act out the thing yourself to understand personally how that would move so you can animate it.

Josh Janousky: Exactly. Yeah. So I think I have, there's a shot that I was working on of, uh, this like priest who has to kill a vampire and he just doesn't want to in the vampires, like what the heck's going on? Like what shouldn't you be able to do this? And so I played both the vampire and the priest, uh, which is great, cause I am neither of those things. So I'll, I'll see if I can find that footage for you and I'll send it over.

Graeme Reed: Now you did make a post on Facebook recently sharing your, do little reel of everything that you made, which is awesome. And everyone should check that out for sure too. Um, we'll have a link or something for that. And um, you posted too about how animation relates a lot to Magic and I relate to this because I used to be an animator, not at your level. I would do like motion graphics for commercials and station granting and things. So I would start, you know, like bounce balls around or just wiggle my hands to see how things would shake and move and dabble. But it's a study of movement. And like what you described before it's, if you notice something is standing out, it looks wrong. Exactly. It's noticeable, which is probably something that's comparable to Magic as well. Right.

Josh Janousky: A hundred percent. Yeah. And just a quick side note, I have so much respect for the motion graphics that you do. Just because a lot of times people hear that like, Oh, Josh, you're an animator. Can you do this motion graphics thing for me? And, and you know, this first and there's been tons of times where I said, I can't do that, but I have a buddy who knows exactly how to do it. Just cause it's totally a different beast. Like we're definitely in the same world. Cause like you said, it's with the motion and everything, but just once they've mad respect for that. I know I've told you this before, but I want it publicly on the record.

Graeme Reed: Thanks. It'd be similar to Magic is like there are escape Magicians and then there's medalists and there's different breeds of all of us.

Josh Janousky: Yes. And that's a perfect way of tying that in to that. Yeah. I mean, definitely there's different genres of animation. There's different genres on Magic and in that blog post that you're talking about, like I kind of compare what the similarities are between Magic and animation and how they work really well together. Because for those of you who don't know, uh, so I got into Magic 10 years ago now and I've wanted to be an animator since I was five. And so I never thought of merging these two things together. And then as I was learning more about animation and learning more about Magic at the same time, I started to realize like, Oh wow, these actually work really, really well together, which was definitely really exciting for me because it's always great. When you can combine two things that you love and like find ways of merging them together.

Could you elaborate more on how a little bit specifically Magic relates to? Yeah. So with obviously with animation, it's all about being able to bring life to things and telling a story. And that's super important just because obviously people go to watch movies, they go to watch a story and that helps so much with Magic just because it's, you know, Magic is when you're performing the best performers are ones who are able to tell a good story and whether it's a true story, um, based off of their own experiences or the story of a character that they've created, those performances are always the best and it's because they feel more genuine and then you're able to connect with the audience. And so that works really well together. And then on the opposite side, obviously as a magician, you always hear about misdirection misdirection, but I feel like that term is actually kind of not right, because I feel like it's actually direction because you're not misdirecting them.

You're telling them, I need you to look over here so I can do the secret stuff on this side. And so you really need to learn how the direct people's eyes, whether it's through little body movements, psychology, or actual things that you're doing, and that helps so much with animation because you want to make sure your audience is looking at the right thing. Like if I'm working on a shot on, in a film and the focus is supposed to be on the main actor, well, then I want to make sure that the animated character I'm doing is helping you look at that main actor. And he's not like doing goggles style on the background. That's not distracting you from what you're supposed to be looking at. So taking that knowledge from Magic on how to make people look where you want is really helpful for animation.

Cause now I can make sure that you're looking at what's important when you're watching the film. Can us, because we're all at home, uh, with time on our hands, can we expect either new creations from you or do you have creations out right now that we should take a look into that you would suggest? Definitely. Yeah. I mean, so I'm always working on new things. Uh, I have a couple of projects right now that I'm currently physically working on. I have a bunch of other ones that are lined up to come out eventually. I don't know when now obviously because of what's going on, but I just released a about a month ago, I think, um, a project called you can do it on my website, which is a collection of three, any car to any numbers, uh, which is the reason I like them though is because they're all completely impromptu with a borrowed deck and they don't require any memorization.

And I love the akin plot. Um, but I know one thing that really turns off a lot of people from doing it is there's normally a lot of work that goes into it and that work is obviously definitely worth it. But sometimes you just want to be able to perform the trick without having to spend like six years mastering one thing just to be able to do it. And this is exactly what it was for me. I, I actually have a horrible memory. Sometimes it's weird. I can remember tiny little details when it comes to like Magic history, but if you quickly named off six numbers, I'd forget it. After like three seconds, I'd be like, ah, Nope, I don't know. And so for me, that's part of the reason why I came up with these versions is cause I wanted to be able to perform the effect, but I want to be able to do it without having to necessarily think a lot when it's going on.

Um, and then also I want to be able to do it with a borrowed deck because as a magician, you know, there's tons of times where sometimes you're just hanging out with people and they go, can you do something? And they pull out either that like novelty deck of cards, they got at the airports that all sticks together, or they pull out that like beer stains, really thick deck of cards they use for poker night. That's like missing two cards and has like an UNO card in there with like the queen of hearts written on it. So like you have to be able to do stuff with that. And that was part of the thing for me is I feel like if someone's going to give me a deck of cards, I want to be able to do something really cool with it. So, uh, so that whole project is sort of how it came to be and that's out now.

Um, there's a bunch of different things that I have out. Uh, one that I, I really have been, uh, playing around with a lot again lately is actually the very first effect I ever released wide to the Magic community. Uh, and that is my credit card through dollar bill phase. Um, and so I've been playing with that a lot again, cause it's, like I said, it was one of the first things I released and it kind of brings back nice memories of happier times for the quarantine. Um, but also just playing with it. It's just, it's so much fun. Like the thing that for me is whenever I create Magic, a lot of people go, Oh, so you create that so you can sell it. And that's not the case. Like for me, I create Magic because it's something I want to perform. And it's because there either isn't an effect that does what I want or there is, but it's not the way I would want to do it.

And so everything I create, I create originally for me, I'm very selfish that way. Uh, but then I decided, you know what, I think I really enjoy this. I want other people to be able to enjoy it as well. And that's the whole reason I, I put things out nowadays. So yeah. So there's, there's that, um, you have all kinds of your where's your website that we can basically purchase all this stuff and support you as well. Thank you. Yeah. So my website is just Josh and Um, there's a store tab and it has links to everything. And if there's something that I don't have in stock, uh, you can definitely find it on penguin or, and you'll be able to pick it up there. So actually one thing that I've gotten a couple of tweaks from lately is a lot of people have just started watching my at the table lecture and my penguin life lecture.

Um, cause I know that's sort of right now is kind of the big thing is since he can't go out necessarily to different lectures, a lot of the online lectures are getting more popular and those seem to have been the two that have been more popular lately, just cause people are just like, I want to learn lots of Magic let's do this. So absolutely absolutely. One big thing that we like to talk about here is kind of a business magician business, whether that's showbiz, you know, like a product creation or scripting backend or anything like that. And I, I like to ask everyone right now, cause we have this unique downtime. Have you started focusing in, on one aspect of your business? The most like for me I'm doing more creative work scripting kind of free flowing ideas. I put all the business things kind of, you know, off to the side for now.

Yeah. Um, yeah, no, for me, I think the two that I've been focusing on lately and I sort of always been focusing on them, but now it's just, obviously there's a little bit more time that I can as creating new stuff, just cause like I said, I love coming up with Magic I'm constantly coming up with things and sometimes it's fun picking up a trick that you worked on a while ago and then kind of forgot about it and Reed discovering that. So I've been doing that a lot lately and then also just trying to build up social media because right now, I mean there was a bunch of means going on the internet about how like social media Magicians are super excited about everyone staying at home and it's a joke, but it's also kind of true that like if you have content for social media now is the time to be posting it because what else are people going to do if they're going, they're not going to do anything, but they're going to watch your tic talk.

They're going to watch your Instagram video, whatever it is. So I've been trying to focus on growing that a little bit more and having a content that makes me happy to share with people. Um, personally, I don't get ticktock I don't have it. Yes. Um, can you give me like a crash course? Like I'm, you know, an old millennial and I, and also like I've thought about this in my mind too, that my target demographic, maybe I'm not sure, but then part of me is like, well they're kids would, can you give me a crash course? Like in a, you know? Okay. So take talk is definitely very strange. It's it's taken me a while to kind of understand it. So that's also, like I said, I'm still trying to figure out how it works. Um, but basically take talk is kind of, do you remember Revine?

Yeah. Okay. It's kind of like vine in that randomness factor. Um, but also with the, the trending page of Instagram, if they had like a weird baby and basically the way tech talk works is as opposed to most social media feeds where by default you see the people that you follow on tick talk by default, they have a thing called the for you page and anyone can get on the, for you page. You could have zero followers on tech talk and you could have a hundred thousand people watch your video because when you post a video, it automatically goes onto that page. And so your entire like timeline is just videos that tick tock thinks that you would like. And so it's definitely really weird when you first start, because tick-tock doesn't know what you likes. So it shows you everything. So it'll show you like hot girls dancing to cute dogs to comedians.

So it doesn't really know. And then as you watch videos and you start interacting with them by like liking and stuff, tick talk starts to get smarter and goes, Oh, this is what you want to see. But sometimes it still gets things really weird. I'm like, I'll get a bunch of that makes sense. Like, I'm a, I'm a big nerd. So I love D and D so I get a bunch of Dean detail talks, but then also I'll get a bunch of like super religious tic talks, which is very strange because like, they're all be like super heavy Christianity ones, but I'm Jewish. So I couldn't hear Reed doesn't really apply with me. So sometimes it's mess. Um, but yeah, so that's basically the idea. And so it's strange though, because anyone can go viral on TechTalk. Um, which is kind of cool. So I had a video actually recently went viral.

I think it's at 750,000 views now, which yeah. Which is a video of me doing Magic for John Malaney. Yeah. Yeah. And I posted that video before on, on YouTube, on Instagram, on Facebook and it did fine, but it never like blew up. But as it turns out, take talk loves John Malaney. So everyone was freaking out because they're like, Oh my God, look at this video of John Malaney reacting to a magic trick. But also it's John Malaney, not in a situation that we're used to. Um, so that like exploded. And then I had another video that didn't really well. I think it's at like 30 something thousand views, which was just a compilation of me doing magic tricks that looked like camera tricks. Because as you know, as a magician, every time you post a video online, everyone always assumes, did you edit it?

And especially actually for you and me as people who are coming from worlds of like motion graphics and visual effects, everyone assumes that everything you do is just like a camera track. And so there was a trick that I got from Hanson Chen, a rollercoaster, which is the coin through glass and it just looks so good. And I'm looking at it like this, this looks like a camera track. And then it hit me. I'm like, ah, I should do a video that is called magic trick. That looked like camera tricks. But aren't, and so this is a little series where it was just me around my apartment doing a bunch of different visual magic tricks and people seem to really like it. And so I've done a, I just released the third parts yesterday, actually on the TechTalk. Um, so we'll see. But strangely, because like I said, that first one did really well.

And then the second one didn't do as well, but it still had just as good tricks. So it takes off, it's still something I'm trying to understand, but it's kind of a fun challenge. And is it, is it a hashtag thing? Is that what it is? Yeah. So w with there's a lot of hashtags, um, there's also sounds that you can use, so there's like popular songs that are going around. And if you use that sound as part of your video, people who search for that sound will find that video. So it's definitely very targeted in that sense. Um, and so it's using those hashtags, it's using those sounds shares are huge. So every time someone shares a video and then, like I said, with the, for you page, the way it kind of works is it shows your video to like 10 people initially.

And it just 10 random people. And then if those 10 people like it and now shows it to like 50 people. And if those 50 people, like it goes to a hundred people and keeps them building up and that's sort of how your video gets seen by a lot of people. Uh, but it's also, it really depends on who those first 10 people are, because maybe if you just happen to get 10 people who don't like, Magic, well, then they're not going to watch your video and it's not going to do well. So that's why it's like, it's kind of tough figuring out what those trends are, what sounds to use. Uh, but it's also kind of fun. And the app is weirdly addictive. Like everyone I know downloaded as like, ah, this is a joke or a, this is like, okay, I'll look at it. And then next thing you know, you're scrolling for an hour and you get a warning. Awkward tells you, Hey, you should take a break, even scrolling for a while and he'd go, Oh my God, which has happened. Like it's nuts.

I'm downloading tech talk right now. Oh my gosh. Josh thank you so much for all those incredible tips and everything I never knew anything about, but thank you so much for listening to this podcast. If you did enjoy this, please subscribe. It really means a lot to all of us. And if you leave one of those five star reviews and lets other people know about this podcast, stay tuned next week, we will have another incredible interview, special guests announcement. You can find out about that Friday on the podcast. Thank you so much for listening. If you want to see these videos in full, you can and join the inner circle for all this exclusive content.

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