Ingredient to Know

Meagan Cignoli

Let’s talk social feed. If funny, charming, stop motion video makes your day then you need to know about Meagan Cignoli. Though you probably already do! Meagan’s the award-winning director and producer who—no hyperbole—helped pioneer stop motion video in social, a dramatically different way to engage and delight in 60 seconds or less. Now, she’s collaborating with Clinique to celebrate the launch of The Wink. Keep an eye on our Clinique UK Instagram to catch Meagan's amazing videos inspired by The Wink. Want to know more about Meagan? Read on to find out what inspires her and how she got started.

The Wink: Do great ideas for videos pop into your head, or do you find inspiration around you?
Meagan Cignoli: It’s a lot of both. Sometimes ideas keep me awake at night. Some inspiration comes from the world. I tend to make my life experiences into a fantastical version for video.

TW: What drew you to stop motion?
MC: I fell into it. Playing around with Vine, I realised that the photos made motion. I did it for a few weeks before someone told me it was stop motion. I try to shut my eyes to what other people are doing in my field; I’ve always done that. I don’t watch other stop motion if I can help it. I like a blank canvas. I’m sure it hinders me in some aspects and helps in others. My employees do love to watch other stop motion and learn a lot from other animators’ work.

TW: Does having such a large following on social media hold you to a higher standard? Make you feel more supported or more pressured?
MC: A large following is amazing because it gives us opportunities and, of course, exposure. And there is so much pressure with it. I only really post portfolio-worthy content; and, if I don’t LOVE it, I remove it after a few days. That way I can post fun, in-the-moment things but also have our best work at the forefront.

TW: What’s your best tip for anyone who wants to create stop motion videos with just their phone?
MC: Shooting stop motion with your phone is so much fun and really quite easy. The most important thing is having a stabilised phone. You can either buy an istabilizer or go the DIY route. Stick it in a mug so it doesn’t move, or use books to hold up your phone!

TW: Visual Country has grown to a team of 16. What are the best and worst parts about being a boss and an entrepreneur?
MC: Being a boss is great, because I get to hire people who are talented in different ways. I feel like we’re the video version of Project Runway: "You have 48 hours and this plastic bag. Make magic!” The worst parts are telling someone you don’t like something or saying, "Why didn’t you listen to me?" It’s uncomfortable, but necessary.

TW: You clearly have a great eye for colour and composition. Does your artistic taste carry into your fashion and beauty choices? What are your favourite trends right now?
MC: I studied fashion design and art, not that it means I have good taste, but I like to think I do! My style is classic now that I’m in my thirties—I used to wear crazy stuff. So for me, the trends are always a dark eye, maybe a red lip, black cashmere sweater and blank pants or skirt. It’s my uniform; I stay away from trends. For our fashion campaigns, we stay natural and casual with elegance and a hint of “cute.” My art director, Erin, and I try to find balance in dressing our models too trendy or too cute.

TW: Are there any women—whether personal acquaintances or public figures—who you find inspiring right now?
MC: Jenna Lyons is always my inspiration for style, career, and decor. And I’m really inspired by Iris Apfel’s energy and love for life. She’s busy but makes time for laughter.

Photos courtesy of Meagan Cignoli

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