An Afternoon with Carlos Baena

Apologies for the delay. Life gets a bit hectic when you somehow find yourself on 13(ish) different productions. We've had quite a few events and amazing people come over the past month so here is the start of catching you all up on what's been happening! Carlos Baena has come back from Paramount Studios to AAU to be an onsite director for his film Market Street. Through the lovely people of Sasha Korellis and Becky Johnson, we got to schedule Carlos in, back on October 31st, to give a talk to Tea Time!

For those who don't know, Carlos Baena has worked at Pixar as an animator and is well known for his contribution to Toy Story 3 with the Spanish Buzz Lightyear sequences. Just as amazing is that he is one of the founders of Animation Mentor, now one of the largest online schools/community for animation.

Carlos gave an amazing talk on the 12 Principles of Animation which he loves as even though they start simple, they apply to everything. On top of the 12 original principles set by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnson, Carlos has an additional 7. The extra 7 aren't exactly certain laws to obey but rather things to remember to be a better animator.

Observation Visualization Blocking Simplicity Clarity Personality Have Fun!

What do these 7 new principles mean you ask? First off, study movement. Don't just be looking at what's happening but the reasons behind actions. While studying though, make sure you find your references from real life and not film as those are people acting and their own interpretations. Next is to always find the appeal of everything that you're animation. Make sure things are appealing and clear first instead of rushing to acting. Try turning on silhouette mode or turning your character around to make sure your poses and animation are able to be read on their own. Lastly, make sure to have fun! There will always be stress and you'll have ups and downs but there is a lot of time after school so make sure that the time you spend is enjoyable for yourself and others. While it's great sitting in front of a computer and all, carefully tweaking each and every spline, find a balance between doing "work" and going out to experience the world instead of burning yourself out.

Of course people always want to know about the industry and getting into it so we end the talk with a few tips from Carlos.

You'll be spending out hundreds of letters and reels trying to get internships and jobs and you'll get hundreds of rejections and no responses back but don't let rejection discourage you, let it push you forward. When checking in with a recruiter, just email to confirm if they received your submission ONCE; otherwise hands off. If they really want you, they'll contact you, usually within a few weeks. If you don't hear back, look at other places and take whatever you can get. Don't be that person who makes other people wait just because you're sitting there waiting to see if Pixar, Disney, Dreamworks, ILM, or whoever will respond to you.

Carlos unfortunately didn't get to finish his talk on the principles but was excited to come back in the spring to continue so look forward to part 2!