Monday, April 30, 2007

Carlos Baena Interview

Check out the whole interview @ cg-node

  • I did back in 98 I believe a little acting test with a dialogue from the movie "The Godfather". I remember closing myself in my room for hours, pretending to be Vito Corleone, and touching my chin in a thousand different ways while saying the line, to see if I could do something different using the dialogue, or trying to caricaturize the action to make it even more entertaining. It was definitely one of those moments that you realize the potential of whatever it is that you are experimenting with, and I had the best time doing that early test and those that followed.
  • When it comes to walks, I believe locomotion should serve the acting of the character. So therefore, you try to find ways so that your cycle doesn't just look like a cycle...but instead, it is the personality, the character, the age,etc, what's motivating the character's walk.
  • How can you animate the character so that it feels like lives in the same world surrounding him/her? The moment a character seems too cartoon in a realistic world (without a reason) or seems too realistic in an animated world, then there is something that's not quite right. It's a fine line. With each character you have to take advantage of the opportunities you are offered of the world this character is in from an animation/caricature/entertainment point of view.
  • In terms of tricks from one film to the next, for quite a while now, I try to learn as much as I can from my video references, combined with references from other places. I try not to watch much animation to be honest, and I try to learn as much as I can of real life stuff. Then I plan the animation using video, sketches, thumbnails and things that come to mind about the shot, notes, etc. Since Nemo, that has helped me tremendously.
  • It also helps to get on character as deep as possible, from an acting point of view. A lot of things come up that way. So for example, if a character is an angry character, and being upset is an important aspect of his/her personality, what other qualities can complement that personality? For example, he can be upset but almost acting like a little kid about it....or he can be upset and have many insecurities...or he can be upset and pretend he's not, with the following acting possibilities a situation like that would offer you. One of the parts I personally enjoy very much of this whole process is exploration...whether it's exploration of the character, the acting, the story, the to say something cinematically or acting wise without it being something that we've all watched 200 times before somewhere else. Exploring things that don't seem repetitive or haven't been done as much keep things and learning going, as opposed to being stuck.
  • The main thing for me is the acting, so depending on the personality of the character and its state of mind, you animate the character taking into account the physical characteristicsof it.
  • Carlos, if I ask you to share a point of view which has helped you to achieve your goals, what would be your advice for all CG-Node users?
  • Mostly patience and motivation. Things do not arrive from one day to the other, especially when it comes to animation. I've seen cases of people that show you things right off school with the intention of getting to Pixar or ILM right away. In many cases it's not about getting to a particular place what matters, but instead to try to have a great time whatever it is that you are at. Because if you are always waiting for that special place to arrive without enjoying the day to day, what a pain that'd be. So if you can find things or people in whichever place you are at, or have a good time doing whatever (even though sometimes it's not stuff we might enjoy as much), I think at least the process will be a lot more interesting than waiting to this or to that. We have all been there.
  • For a few years I had all my Pixar rejection letters by my bed, as I didn't want to give up. I knew I eventually would love to work there, but at the same time, I had some serious good times and made some good friends along the way, who I'm still in touch with. Now it's those places and those friends what I remember the most, not the fact that I made it or not. Also with time you realize how much you still have to learn in many ways...whether it's experience wise or knowledge wise. If things don't come at the first try, you try again in the future. If a short film, a shot, etc doesn't come out ok, it really isn't the end of the world...and you learn from the mistakes. Don't throw the towel and continue doing and learning more things.