CG Chatter Episode 032: Run, Kick, Shout!

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Welcome to the CG Chatter Podcast episode #32! In this episode I chat with the founders and creative directors of Run, Kick, Shout!, Erik Jensen & Nick Hopkins.

They’ve created awesome work for some very prominent companies like NFL, Wells Fargo, Jolly Rancher, and Foursquare, and have some serious 3D chops. I’m excited for you to see the work we discussed in today’s interview, which can be found further down in the show notes.

This was the first time I interviewed two guests at once, and it was a lot of fun hearing their unique perspective on starting a company with a friend and how to make that work. They also offered some great breakdowns of how they approached technical aspects of various projects, as well as some late-night anecdotes that arose in a discussion about work-life balance.

Episode Guide:

  • 2:14 – Erik and Nick give a brief background on their motion design studio, Run, Kick, Shout!
  • 5:07 – Nick grew up in Indiana and got into making videos with his friends in high school
  • 6:33 – He went to college for a directing degree, and found himself playing more and more with effects and animation
  • 7:15 – He had set up a green screen in his parents’ garage
  • 7:24 – Following an internship, Nick got his first full-time job as a senior in school and was there for four years, then freelanced for five
  • 8:05 – Erik grew up in a Chicago suburb called Wheaton, and was introduced to video by a friend in early high school
  • 9:09 – He made lots of creative projects with friends in high school, using techniques like stop motion, green screen, and 3D
  • 9:44 – He went to school at Indiana University in Bloomington for Telecommunications with a focus in Design & Animation
  • 10:20 – After graduating, Erik found work at a local agency in Bloomington
  • 10:44 – Erik went to Chicago during the recession in 2008 to find work, and when it didn’t pan out he decided to go freelance
  • 11:06 – He met Nick when he freelanced at Protokulture, where Nick was working full time
  • 11:38 – The project they first worked on together was incredibly stressful
  • 13:05 – They had both been commuting into the city and decided to become roommates
  • 15:25 – Nick’s mom was very supportive of him pursuing a creative career, especially as she also had an art background
  • 17:11 – His school, Columbia College, had animation and 3D classes taught by folks from Midway Games
  • 17:57 – Nick loved the freedom of animation, and how easy it is to jump right into as opposed to film
  • 18:47 – Erik’s parents were very supportive as well, and knew how invested he was in creative projects
  • 20:18 – He appreciated that his college teachers ensured a well-rounded education, without simply letting him “go down a rabbit hole”
  • 20:46 Having even just one or two standout teachers can really help make for a positive and successful college experience
  • 21:31 – What are the qualities of a great teacher?
  • 22:55 – Nick had a very intense project toward the end of school that was a good intro to industry crunch
  • 23:53 – If you want to freelance or run a business, it’s very important to gain an understanding of basic accounting and business practices
  • 26:01 – How they came up with the name “Run, Kick, Shout!”
  • 28:21 – They got an office for Run, Kick, Shout! in December
  • 29:21 – Being able to work together in one space as opposed to remotely has been a really positive change
  • 30:52 – They do all rendering in-house
  • 31:48 – They built a particularly beefy machine called “The Beast” (see picture below)
  • 32:27 – Switching from Mac to PC
  • 34:49 – Erik & Nick wear many hats at Run, Kick, Shout!, and are working on work/life balance
  • 38:59 – Run, Kick, Shout!’s work for the NFL Experience (see video & images below)
  • 41:22 – There can be a tendency to always push your current technology to its limits
  • 44:35 – The fact that Erik & Nick have similar skillsets (as opposed to a business person + a creative person) has generally been an advantage
  • 49:12 – The pros & cons of being a generalist as opposed to a specialist
  • 50:52 – Run, Kick, Shout!’s work on the Reliance Entertainment Intro (see video & images below)
  • 52:54 – What it was like working on a 4k stereoscopic piece
  • 56:53 – Technical challenges of setting up an expansive 3D ocean
  • 59:26 – Run, Kick, Shout!’s work for Desert Schools (see video & images below)
  • 1:00:16 – This project led to the founding of Run, Kick, Shout!
  • 1:06:03 – Creating a piece with a constantly moving camera and seamless transitions
  • 1:09:19 – Run, Kick, Shout!’s work for Rocket Fuel (see video & images below), and why it has to be password-protected
  • 1:12:28 – This project was uniquely challenging because it was created in both 3ds Max and Cinema 4D
  • 1:18:31 – Run, Kick, Shout!’s work on the Monster Project (see images below)
  • 1:26:32 – Why long work days/late nights can occur, and how Erik & Nick work to maintain a healthy work/life balance with their new studio
  • 1:37:49 – Erik talks about how he balances Run, Kick, Shout! obligations with being a parent
  • 1:39:53 – They recommend checking out Greyscale Gorilla for C4D training, particularly their intro training series if you’re just starting out
  • 1:40:16 – The best way to learn and grow is to have a specific goal/problem to solve, and schedule it in your calendar
  • 1:44:04 – Erik & Nick share their thoughts on starting a company with a friend

Episode links:

Featured Work from the Episode:


NFL Experience
Learn more about this project on runkickshout.com

NFL Experience (Image 1/4)

NFL Experience (Image 2/4)

NFL Experience (Image 3/4)

NFL Experience (Image 4/4)


Reliance Entertainment Intro
Learn more about this project on runkickshout.com

Reliance Entertainment Intro (Image 1/4)

Reliance Entertainment Intro (Image 2/4)

Reliance Entertainment Intro (Image 3/4)

Reliance Entertainment Intro (Image 4/4)


Desert Schools
Learn more about this project on runkickshout.com

Desert Schools (Image 1/4)

Desert Schools (Image 2/4)

Desert Schools (Image 3/4)

Desert Schools (Image 4/4)

Rocket Fuel (Image 1/5)

Rocket Fuel (Image 2/5)

Rocket Fuel (Image 3/5)

Rocket Fuel (Image 4/5)

Rocket Fuel (Image 5/5)

Learn more about the Rocket Fuel project on runkickshout.com
Watch Rocket Fuel on Vimeo
with password “rocketfuel”

Monster Project (Erik Jensen)

Monster Project (Nick Hopkins)

“The Beast” Computer

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