When she’s not at her desk developing motion graphics, Nicole Bedard takes time to recharge by jumping out of planes. Nicole is the senior motion graphics designer at Matter and has been working out of our Newburyport office for two and a half years. Take a look inside the exciting world of competitive skydiving in this installment of Matter Out of Office.
Q: Tell us a bit about your passions outside of your motion graphics work.
A: When I’m not at work, I like to go home and cuddle my fuzzy cats. I love to cook and… I like to jump from planes. Skydiving is the only place that I can be truly in the moment and not think about anything else that’s going on in life besides what’s happening in those few seconds of free fall. If I am stressed or worried about something, one of the best things I can do is just put on my rig, get in a plane and jump out of it. That’s when I’m truly in the moment.
Q: So why skydiving? What excites you about it?
A: I skydive for many reasons. There’s a great community of people that look out for each other and are always willing to offer advice. Not to mention, they’re just a hell of a lot of fun to be around. I also skydive for the challenge. There’s always something new to learn or a new skill to master. Believe it or not, it’s hard to fall with grace, so I challenge myself and my team to be better. And finally, I do it for competition. This year I’m on an all-female skydiving team called Fly Girls. We’re training for the national competition in September and then the World Cup in October.
Q: What has been your favorite skydiving memory?
A: I have a few that have to do with my big firsts. My 100th skydive, my 500th skydive — those definitely stick out. I once rode out of the back of the plane in a raft and separately rode out of the back of the plane on a hot dog. I’ve jumped from a hot air balloon, which was a completely different experience as it is completely silent —no wind in your face. Joining my parents in freefall during their tandem skydives was also pretty special.
Q: Being a woman in a sport that’s mostly made up of men, how important is it to you to support other women?
A: Women are in the minority in the sport of skydiving (according to the United States Parachute Associate, we make up just 13% of members) and that can be a little intimidating to some newer skydivers. It’s important for me to be a part of events and organizations that build the female community in the sport, and provide encouragement and guidance to newer female skydivers. We have a really active Sisters in Skydiving group at the dropzone where I do most of skydiving and we actually set a new record for the largest female formation in the state of Maine last year.
Q: What are skills you’ve learned from skydiving that have helped your professional career?
A: First, I would say I’ve learned a lot about teamwork. Teamwork is so important in skydiving. You couldn’t be on a functional team without it. We help each other learn by understanding our faults and figuring out how we can be better. While we’re competitive, it’s not cut throat, which is similar to my work here at Matter. I want to support my colleagues and help them grow by helping them realize their potential and produce their best work.
Also, skydiving has helped me gain confidence. Every time I step on that plane, I calculate risk which has given me more confidence. In business, especially in this creative field, you need to take risks and have confidence in yourself. So anytime I feel really nervous about something, I think, “I jumped from planes. If I can jump from planes, I can do this thing. I’m total badass, I can handle it.”
Q: How do you balance your work with your passions outside the office?
A: There are definitely long days, but that’s to be expected when you work at an agency. Work/life balance is really important here at Matter and I think it’s important in general, because to do good work you need time to recharge. Matter recognizes that and gives us all a chance to rejuvenate, recharge, and come back the next day ready to go.
Q: What’s your favorite aspect of Matter?
A: That’s really hard to answer because there’s so much that I love about Matter. I love the work that I do. I love that no two days here are ever the same. We have such a diverse group of clients and every project is different. I love the people that I work with. They’re people that you want to spend your days with rather than you have to spend your days with. They’re fun, supportive and, well, a little weird. Also, you can’t get mad at the beautiful sea shore here in Newburyport.
Q: What do you love about your role here and what are some of your career highlights?
A: As a motion designer, I would say that I’m a jack of all trades. I’m often given the opportunity to champion all stages of a project — from scripting voiceovers to designing storyboards to animating and editing final videos. However, some of the most rewarding moments of my career have been when I’ve been able to collaborate on projects with other creatives. We have such a talented group of creative professionals here at Matter and I’ve been lucky enough to create some amazing work with them. I know my work is out there for the wider world to see, which when you’re creating things, you want to be able to share that with people. Some projects that come to mind are a brand manifesto for Serrala and an infographic turned motion graphic for Mavenir, both which happen to be award winning projects! I’m also super proud of a kinetic type animation that we just wrapped for a soon-to-to released typeface by Monotype.
Q: What advice would you give someone trying to make it in the Motion Graphics world?
A: It’s important to keep up with the industry you’re in. Follow your favorite designers and studios. Keep a collection of work that inspires you. And most importantly, never stop learning. There is a limitless number of skills, techniques and visual styles that you can explore. Continuing to develop your skills will not only make you a stronger motion designer, it will allow you to remain passionate about your profession throughout your career.