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Rising Stars Rupert Aspden, Paul Blatch and James Elkin: “Find things to make you smile and spend more time focusing on some of the good in a day as opposed to dwelling on all the negatives”

If we were to inspire a movement, I think it would be to do with generally being kind to yourself and others. Rebecca Elkin who plays a big part in our productions runs an account called The Smile Strategy. The overarching message being; finding things to make you smile and spending more time focusing on […]

If we were to inspire a movement, I think it would be to do with generally being kind to yourself and others. Rebecca Elkin who plays a big part in our productions runs an account called The Smile Strategy. The overarching message being; finding things to make you smile and spending more time focusing on some of the good in a day as opposed to dwelling on all the negatives. These days it’s easier said than done but it would be great to build on an initiative to help people build a more positive mental outlook. This would hopefully blossom and become a bigger ‘movement’ and lead to people being better as a community.


As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing The Animus Workshop comprised of, Rupert Aspden, Paul Blatch and James Elkin, three friends from the South of England. They have been releasing their comedic content under this name since 2016, though they discovered their passion for filmmaking and began pursuing their creative goals many years before. They are currently ramping up to the release of their first web series Lukulele.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. We all met at school in Southampton over 10 years ago and quickly learned we had a similar passion. We spent our weekends and summers making little skits and stupid videos. We have always pushed each other to be better, without losing the sense of fun that started us on this journey in the first place.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

For me, this career has always been a passion and an outlet to create something to purely make myself and friends laugh. Rupert’s talent for writing means he is in constant development with numerous projects and is involved in various capacities in the television and film industry. James’ developing talent for visual effects has driven him to change careers to a more creative path. He has recently left the Royal Airforce to enter onto a prestigious Visual Effects course at The National Film and Television School in London. At the end of the day, it was having fun and getting to realise our ideas that has kept us working together.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

An interesting story would be the day we decided to actually form the Animus Workshop. The name came later, but we had recently discovered the beauty of using a green screen to help with special effects, we were working with the premise of a character, played by me, who discovers he can move fruit telekinetically. The scene we were filming involved a banana flying across the room and into my character’s mouth. Not unlike the famous carrot scene in ‘Matilda’. Rupert was holding the green screen and James was holding a makeshift fishing rod with a banana hanging off the line. Cut to my mum walking in the room, looking at all three of us, then slowly backing away as if she had just witnessed a perverse ritual. That day we decided we should put our efforts into actually making something substantial to give us an explanation (or perhaps a convenient excuse) for our questionable exploits.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The funniest mistake we still make to this day is underestimating the length of time it will take to film a scene. For example, on our last shoot, we planned it all out, thought ‘only 3 hours and then we can go to the pub’. Cut to 2am we’re huddled in the dark, filming a cockroach eating a Cheeto. Our main takeaway is to always be flexible and even with planning, things can still go wrong so be prepared for anything.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

The projects we are working on currently are our trilogy of web series. The first of which being Lukulele. I play ‘Luke’, a Ukulele tutorial vlogger, whose life changes after an incident during a live stream. Following that we have an animated series ‘Fruit Punch and The Currant’, and ‘Grey Matters’ a series based on a hermit genius who invents history-altering machines from his childhood bedroom. We’re excited for the premiere of Lukulele on the the 6th of January.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Diversity within the entertainment is important for various reasons, I think that the biggest reason is to open audiences up to different ideas and perspectives on life. Through a film or a picture, people can open up to the idea that something they thought was ‘scary’ or ‘other’ is in reality completely at odds with their preconceptions. With that comes exposure to different cultures and lifestyles. This impacts the film from the viewer’s perspective, but also from the storytellers point of view. As well as this, I think it is helping force change within the entertainment industry, so diversity is very important in helping move things forward into a more equal and free culture. When talking about diversity it is important to understand that it is the diversity of thought that is important. Different stories come from different people with different experiences and perspectives.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Five things I wish we’d been told,

1. I think the most important is to have some faith in yourself. We were and still are at times uncertain what we’re making is “good enough”. But we often set ourselves unreasonable expectations. When starting out, make things that are good enough for you and worry about everybody else later.

2. Keep going, if you believe in a story or an idea, work at it to make it a reality, be proactive.

3. Knowing when an idea won’t work and letting it go is also a hard pill to swallow at times but sometimes it’s worth it too, with some ideas we get stuck in a rut but really love the potential of an idea that won’t work or have the desired result.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help either, whether it’s from online communities or from family or friends, people are always willing to help out with all sorts, we often involve our family, generally to act in pieces, sometimes they just bring us cups of tea when we lose track of time.

5. And for the love of Christmas, make sure Rupert has packed the camera lenses. I think this story speaks for itself.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Tips to help somebody not “burn out”? I would probably say, again, make things for you, don’t worry about pleasing everyone all the time. But in saying that, build up a good audience and rapport. It doesn’t even have to be a large audience, as long as they are engaged and involved, especially with everything you can do with social media it can really help to keep you from ‘burning out’.

You are people of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If we were to inspire a movement, I think it would be to do with generally being kind to yourself and others. Rebecca Elkin who plays a big part in our productions runs an account called The Smile Strategy. The overarching message being; finding things to make you smile and spending more time focusing on some of the good in a day as opposed to dwelling on all the negatives. These days it’s easier said than done but it would be great to build on an initiative to help people build a more positive mental outlook. This would hopefully blossom and become a bigger ‘movement’ and lead to people being better as a community.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

For us I don’t think it’s one person who helped. We are in the fortunate position of having family and friends that are all keen to see us succeed. Having the backing of a lot of people has really pushed us to be proactive and challenge ourselves. As well as don silly costumes and star in some short films at the last minute.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Our favourite life lesson quote is: “Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.”

― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart. We have all at some point gone through a hardship that we have no control over, but having projects to work on and focus our attention on, even for an afternoon is really beneficial and therapeutic.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

One person I would love to have a private breakfast with is Dave Grohl, although I’d probably be too starstruck and he’d leave. I’m always in awe of how talented a musician he is and I think he’d have some great stories to tell! His music has played a big part in my life so even just a beer to say thanks would be fine. I’m sure he’s a busy guy, but I have an open schedule, so have your people call my people.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

We are on all main social media channels. Just search The Animus Workshop and you should easily be able to find us. All links are available via our YouTube channel also.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

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