Leigh Lahav is an animator, writer, and all-round creative genius who runs the YouTube channel OnlyLeigh. Famous for producing parodies such as Frozen is the New Black, Mean Elves, and more superb content such as the animated pilot Bell & Tina are Time Travellers, Leigh kindly set aside time out of her week to answer my questions.
How long have you been animating for, and how did you get started?
I've been animating for a good 10+ years now, graduated art school in 2010. I've never had a dream of really becoming an animator. I've wanted to do loads of things. Act. Sing. Draw. Edit. Write. And upon reading the curriculum for animation studies, I realised as an independent animator I'll be able to do all of those things. So here I am!
How did you get started on YouTube?
I've always wanted to make silly little animated sketches, and YouTube was always a great big inspiration to me back in the days where sketch comedy was still a thing on the platform. At some point I had some free time between jobs, and I decided to give it a go. I've never really wanted to be a YouTuber. It just seemed like a good platform to publish through.
How long does it take you to produce a video, from idea to publishing it on YouTube?
Between a week and a month or two. Depends on the length of the vid, how many characters it has, how complex is the animation going to be, etc. Overall pretty fast in terms of animating, since the cut-out-flash style is relatively easier compared to full on frame by frame, and I like working quickly. So I'm grateful for that!
What are the benefits of funding your channel through Patreon?
Money to pay people I work with, money to help a little when a video doesn't do that well.
How did the idea for Bell & Tina are Time Travellers come about (and how did New Form Digital get involved)?
Belle and Tina actually started as a Bill & Ted tribute/parody. As I kept writing it I fell in love with the character and decided to give them a world of their own, separated from Bill & Ted.
I pitched the pilot to New Form Digital and they decided to fund the pilot.
As for now New Form Digital is no longer involved in the project.
How big was the team that worked on Bell & Tina, and how long did it take to make?
The funding for the pilot wasn't great, so we decided to keep it small- I animated with the help of a friend, around 2-3 background artists were involved, and 3 voice actors for 3 characters. Yoav Landau (the livingtombstone on YouTube) wrote the theme with me, and all the rest is yours truly!
Do you have any plans for future pilots?
Of course. I'm currently working on pitching some stuff. Stay tuned!
What advice do you have for people who would like to pursue a career in animation?
Be patient, be true to what you love doing. Animation is tough and boring, and you'd better be working on something you love or you'd lose your mind.
Thanks for agreeing to this interview! Where can we go to see your work?