UPDATE: Thank you for making my first AMA fun. I hope you enjoyed it. If I have time, I'll dip back in tonight and answer more questions, but for now I need to wrap it up.

I'd like to ask YOU something. We need your help.

Check out our IndieGoGo page for La Noria. We have 10 days left and we are so close to our goal. If you can, every donation large and small goes a long to help pay to complete our film. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/la-noria-film/x/6882186#/ You can also follow our progress here: http://www.lanoriafilm.com/ https://www.facebook.com/LaNoriaFilm https://twitter.com/LaNoriaFilm https://www.instagram.com/lanoriafilm/

I will also be at CTNx next week for the Collaborative Filmmaking from your home: Artella on 11/21/15 at 6:30pm http://www.ctnanimationexpo.com/

See you there.

Thanks again for all your questions and support!

Carlos Baena is a filmmaker/animator. He’s worked at studios such as Industrial Light & Magic, Paramount Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios, on films such as Jurassic Park III, Star Wars: Episode II, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, Wall-E and Toy Story 3. For his work in the film Cars, Carlos received a 2007 Annie Award nomination for Best Character Animation. Carlos is also a co-founder of Animation Mentor, the Online Animation School.

Proof: https://twitter.com/LaNoriaFilm/status/662707251665219584

Comments: 203 • Responses: 58  • Date: 

CaptainDickfingers39 karma

Animated horror eh? That's cool, but do you think you can create a similar emotional response from the audience with animation compared to real life? I have never seen an animated horror film, but if done well I think it could be good! What age rating will the movie be?

carlitosbaena122 karma

People get excited when watching The Incredibles action scenes, people cry when watching the opening to the movie UP, and people laugh when watching SouthPark or the Simpsons, and that's all animation. We are trying to do the same with horror. In terms of the age, the film gets intense and dark at one point. We are working on something we ourselves would like to watch. Ultimately, movies are movies regardless of the medium.

BugsBunnySan44 karma

Though it's not a horror movie, check out 'Grave of the Fireflies' and messure your emotional response to that against the saddest real life movie you know of...

carlitosbaena48 karma

"Grave of the Fireflies" is a fantastic film. Highly recommended.

DragoonDM18 karma

Coraline isn't quite horror, but it definitely borders on it. If you haven't seen it, I would highly recommend it.

Marthman5 karma

Yup. And Nightmare Before Christmas? Some really unsettling imagery there too. Both movies are awesome though.

carlitosbaena1 karma

Coraline and Nightmare Before Christmas are both fantastic and very memorable movies directed by the great Henry Selick.

hulkdestroyerxxx24 karma

What is the hardest part about being an artist?

carlitosbaena39 karma

On my case, it's been always the self pressure of am I trying hard enough, am I pushing myself and my work, am I learning, am I trying new things. Every day you go through similar things. But at the same time, you have great things that come with it. Art serves a great purpose of allowing you to explore different topics both externally (as you see them) as well internally (as you feel them). Also all the creative people you get to work with, the wonderful projects...even the failures have become great things to experience through art.

pixarfan951020 karma

What was your favorite scene to animate during your time at Pixar?

carlitosbaena52 karma

There has been many scenes/shots that I enjoyed very much when working at Pixar. One that stood out was a scene in ToyStory3 that was added on the later stages of animation in the film. Director Lee Unkrich trusted me with a long shot that had no dialogue and two main characters Buzz Lightyear (spanish mode) and Jesse. I spent christmas working on this shot because it was an important one that I didn't want to mess up. Learned a lot through it.

MChez11 karma

If you could pick one work of yours that you are genuinely the most proud of, what would it be and why?

carlitosbaena13 karma

I'm very proud and excited with what we are doing with our current short film "La Noria". It's a very special film for us for many reasons. Both working on the film and the crew I get to do that with, have been incredible experiences that I would repeat at any time.

ManuelBejarano10 karma

Hello from Spain. If the shortfilm is a success (as it seems to be the case) are you planning to create your own animation company for bigger projects?

carlitosbaena16 karma

For now the priority is completing the shortfilm. We haven't discussed what we'll do afterwards. Making an animated shortfilm is already a big enough of a project for us.

19449 karma

Hey Carlos, huge fan here :)

Have you seen any of the Blender open movie projects, like Big Buck Bunny, Sintel or Cosmos Laundromat?

What's your take on the "open movie" concept in regards to animated movies?

carlitosbaena13 karma

I'm familiar with Blender because of the great work my spanish friend Daniel Lara has been doing with them. It's a fantastic concept.

quollism2 karma

I met Daniel and saw his movie "Alike" at Blender Conference 2015 a couple of weeks ago. He did a great talk on rigging too. A very clever guy doing awesome work.

carlitosbaena2 karma

Yes, his shortfilm "Alike" is very recommended to everyone to watch. Keep and eye for it. I had the pleasure of watching it and it really is a great example of simplicity, wonderful story/characters and fantastic execution.

choviwan6 karma

Hello Carlos, any advice for artists trying to put their foot in the door right now? It is not the best time to work on movies VFX...

carlitosbaena16 karma

Honestly, take whatever job opportunity you can get. Don't wait for that special place for too long because the opportunity may not present itself and you could be losing another great opportunity of working with great people on other projects. That applies not only to movies, but commercials, videogames, apps. I was going to go work on "Monsters Inc" back in 2000, but because of a visa inmigration issue, that didn't work out. I worked both at Wildbrain and ILM with a great group of people I'm still good friends with.

Frajer6 karma

How did you get involved with Pixar?

carlitosbaena25 karma

Hi Frajer, I was in School back in 1995 when I first learned about Pixar and what they do. Toy Story came out and started submitting my animation reel once a year. As my work wasn't ready, I kept practicing animation and working in other companies until they hired me in 2002. It's an amazing company that strives for quality in their stories and characters and couldn't be more proud to have worked there.

Johnny173695 karma

What is your favorite Pixar film?

carlitosbaena20 karma

"Toy Story". It's one of the films that inspired me to want to become an animator.

krystynlo5 karma

Are there any movies that you just can't channel-surf by?

carlitosbaena7 karma

Given the time spent working on this project I haven't found the time to even channel-surf for a long time. I try to watch movies/documentaries/TVshows I find interesting or I can learn things from.

burningeraph5 karma

Hey Carlos, We emailed back and forth about joining La Noria. I'm so glad it's going so well. A friend and I are currently deep into preproduction for our own short and we were wondering what unexpected obstacles you came up against and how you got around them? We also can't wait for Artella to go live.

carlitosbaena5 karma

On our production, the biggest challenges have been finding a line between stylization and realism in the film/look/animation, making the film off the cloud and in many cases the lack of resources and troubleshooting through them. We take it day by day. You may not have an answer to a technical issue or story point on the same day, but when you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything. Follow Artella.com for upcoming updates.

glassfjords4 karma

Great work! I can't wait to see the final result of La Noria!

If proven to be successful, do you think it might be possible to garner interest from big studios to create a feature-length horror animated film, like La Noria?

And approximately how long do you expect La Noria to be?

carlitosbaena8 karma

We are creating La Noria as a shortfilm. Once it's completed it's always difficult to know what will happen and what results it will have. But we love what we are doing, and would love to continue working on stuff like this if budgets and audiences interest allow it. La Noria will be about 10 min long.

choviwan3 karma

Hi Carlos, you have been working in La Noria for several years now. How do you feel seeing that it will be finish soon? Are you excited? Impatient? Nervous? When is it expected to be finished?

carlitosbaena5 karma

We are expecting to complete the film by Spring 2016. I'm enjoying the process very much every day as hard as it gets sometimes to make a film on the cloud.

duckalucka3 karma

Did you drive Route 66 to get some inspiration for Cars?

carlitosbaena8 karma

I believe director/story crew did early on on pre-production as they were working on the story. I think they bring it up on the BluRay.

this-n-that3 karma

If you had a choice of any superpower you can have from any character in the Incredibles, which one would it be?

carlitosbaena9 karma

Dash's powers.

gbizarro3 karma

Hi Carlos thanks for doing this. What's your opinion on the Trojan Horse was Unicorn festival, and what is the biggest piece of the advice you can give to up and coming artists? Thank you again

carlitosbaena3 karma

It's a fantastic Festival. I was fortunate to go there in 2014. I got to meet with artists I've been wanting to meet for a long time and even got to collaborate with them on our film.

Lowtiersteve3 karma

Animating can be tedious work. What do you do in your off time to decompress?

carlitosbaena5 karma

Sleep. As much as I can.

gimpisgawd3 karma

When at Subway, what do you put on your sandwich?

carlitosbaena8 karma

Subway sandwiches. Lots of options. I start with the bread, you have a few to choose from. The Italian bread with herbs is my favorite. Then I can't have a subway sandwich without adding oil/vinegar and mayonnaise. Those are critical. Once you've had the turkey breast and other good things...the main part for me are the pepperoncini. After that, my life is complete. I hope that answers your question.

Shuradem3 karma

Do you remember your first job? How did you get your first chance to get into this industry? Do you think nowadays it's harder for people who want to start in 3D for cinema?

I'm asking this because I went through this myself, and now, after being rejected many times, I just accepted my fate, and I work for commercial studio

carlitosbaena18 karma

Hi Shuradem, I went through something similar. Didn't get into films for 5 years. And that's ok. Like you, I also went to work at commercial studios...and that worked out great because I learned about other things. Now, the thing to remember is just because you are getting rejected several times doesn't mean you have to give up your passion and dreams to do whatever you want to do. Always save a corner for those and don't let go. I guarantee you didn't get rejected as many times as I did. Instead of letting that get you, use it a motivation to try harder next time you apply.

Phermaportus2 karma

Tenés algún favorito de animación hispanoamericana?

carlitosbaena3 karma

pelicula? o animador?

I_AmA_Zebra2 karma

What would you recommend learning and doing at school and at home to possibly open up this career path for myself? If it helps I already do art

carlitosbaena1 karma

That's a great start as everything we do is related to art, even on the technical side in many cases. So I guess it depends on which area you want to focus on. That will help me understand better and possibly point you in a specific direction.

I_AmA_Zebra1 karma

I would really like the get into the design/animation of the movies, thats something that's always interested me as i like to be creative

carlitosbaena1 karma

Design and Animation can bring you in two different paths. Design wise I would focus on studying the work of great designers/illustrators. Also these days there are great character design blogs from people in the industry as well as terrific concept development artists. I'd start by looking them out and asking questions about specific places where you can go find out more about how to study it, etc. In terms of animation, currently there are great animation schools everywhere. If you ask me which School I'll tell you the one I'm involved with. But what I recommend instead is to research on the different schools, and ask their students what their experiences have been. What they have learned and how much, how was the support, etc. It's a lot of money to invest, so be sure to take the decision that's right for you. I hope this helps.

mechanate2 karma

Hi Carlos, love watching your lessons on AM. Glad to see the horror genre is getting some love from the animation industry.

My question is, as an animator, what do you do when you feel like you have trouble "meshing" with supervisors? I'm kind of a rebellious sort and while I do my best to be positive and follow instructions, I always get the feeling that my supervisors don't really appreciate my attitude anyways. I don't think I'm necessarily doing anything wrong per se, but sometimes I feel like I'm a "difficult" employee/student without meaning to be. How do I improve on that?

carlitosbaena3 karma

Supervisors are there to help you. They have more experience than you do. So while it's good to listen to your gut and do what you want to do, ultimately this medium is a collaborative one. Listen to what they have to say and see if it helps you improve whatever it is that you are working on.

mechanate2 karma

Thank you very much for your reply. AM is unlike any school I've ever attended, thanks for the great lessons!

carlitosbaena1 karma

Thank you for the kind words. I'll be sure to pass to the rest of the AM crew.

jinjamaverick2 karma

How difficult it is for one transitioning from a programmer to animator?

carlitosbaena3 karma

Tricky question. I've never been a programmer. I took two C++ classes in college, which I failed miserably. So on my case, the transition from programming to animating went amazing.

palejackhare2 karma

Short films are awesome, but usually don't make money, which is why it seems mainly students make them. Have you been living off of savings while you work on it, or is there a trick to getting paid to make a short (Prior to your indiegogo)?

carlitosbaena8 karma

Yes. My savings have not been very happy with me over the last 4 years. You do this because you love it. It's as simple as that.

Arrines2 karma

What parts of the Incredibles did you work on and in turn, what was your favorite part?

carlitosbaena3 karma

It's an amazing film in so many ways, story, acting, cinematography. Hard to pick a favorite part.

SirKendizzle2 karma

Do the actors have to match the mouths of your animated characters or do your animations have to match the recorded dialogue of the actors?

carlitosbaena2 karma

Depends on the context and circumstances. Usually for dialogue scenes, the audio comes first, then you animate to the audio. But I've seen cases where the other way around has to be done because of deadlines and not being able to reanimate full shots.

mihachris2 karma

Hello Carlos,

Aspiring concept artist here hoping I can work in the industry one day.

Do you think Art School is necessary nowadays? Also, any advice on how to break into the industry?

Thanks in advance!

carlitosbaena3 karma

There is so many things that Art School shows you, that yes, if given the possibility I'd recommend. Art History alone is worth the learning.

Nghthawk72 karma

What is your best advice to someone who is about to graduate with a computer animation/interactive media degree on how to start in the industry?

carlitosbaena9 karma

Network. Try to get your foot in the door in any way. Constantly talk to other students as well as professionals. Research the places, what they are looking for. Never hurts to ask. You also have no a wealth of information on the internet that wasn't available 20 years go. Use it as much as you can. Also help others along the way, as they'll ultimately help you later.

NikkiCat282 karma

What advice can you give to artists who want to work at Pixar?

carlitosbaena10 karma

Depends on the department. I worked there as an animator so I can't talk for other departments. In terms of animation, be patience and practice as much as you can. Also, ultimately our goal is to entertain audiences, so acting/performance play a big role in what we do in animation. I'd study people, friends, family, behaviors, actors, comedians, etc to see what makes their choices different from others. At the time I worked at Pixar, that was always important.

carolinax2 karma

Hola Carlos! Thanks for this AMA.

I'm exiting production management and getting back in to production art/design. I'm basically building a brand-new portfolio from scratch over the next year, then go after those awesome studios you worked at. My question is this: Is my age (oh no 28) and lack of production art experience more important than a stellar portfolio that fits a project?

I don't really care about starting as a junior artist, just want to make art a priority in my life again and get out of schedules and bullshit politics.

carlitosbaena1 karma

Sorry to hear about your experience. Politics will be there at some point or another. I would not focus on them and concentrate on what you want to do and what you love. That's what I've done in 2 particular experiences where the politics became a challenge. Why did you get into this industry in the first place. The seed that was planted initially is what I've found to keep me going over and over. Also, age shouldn't matter. I've seen people switch careers to animation on their 50's-60's. I think working on your portfolio and getting it to a strong place is a good place to focus. I hope this helps you Carolina.

duckalucka2 karma

Is is harder to animate people, animals, or made up creatures?

carlitosbaena17 karma

All of them. Regardless of the external look of a character (be it a fish, car, superhero or a toy) at the core you are still working on a relatable performance that brings out feelings. And no matter what the performance is, it's always hard regardless of how long you've been animating or not.

ChrisFromGSG2 karma

Hi Carlos! I had the pleasure of graduating Class 8 from AM. I got to hang out with the three amigos several times over the course of being involved with the school. The energy and love you guys put into the school had a big impact on me. You all cultivated an environment where, when I finally met some fellow students in the flesh for the first time, it was as if we were all already old friends. Thanks for that. Plus Buzz Lightyear dancing is some of the greatest animation ever on the big screen. So any new personal projects coming down the pipeline you are excited about?

carlitosbaena1 karma

Thank you Chris. For now, my focus is to continue working on La Noria. That's keeping me plenty busy.

PhaedrusAqil1 karma

¿Eres español?

carlitosbaena2 karma


Soccerskillz131 karma

How much does your work consume your life back when you're home? Do you just have an On/Off switch for work or do you become so obsessed with your work that it follows you home and you continue there?

carlitosbaena2 karma

Always a tricky balance to have. Haven't been able to properly use that On/Off switch well over the years. Still working on it.

Tubaka1 karma

I'm going to school to learn animation. I suck at drawing (but working on it) but I really enjoy using programs like blender. Are there any other forms of art/programs that you think a young animator should know?

Also how different is it to work on cgi for movies like Star Wars Ep 2 (the first movie I saw in my now favorite franchise) vs a fully animated movie like finding nemo

edit: if I got grammar the first time around I wouldn't be an art major

carlitosbaena1 karma

In terms of your first question, many software packages available. I'd research, use trial versions, ask people. Some software packages are more geared towards character animation whereas others may be more suited for architecture or product design.

About your second question, in terms of performance, both are similar. You are creating a performance on a character that will live either on a fully digital environment or an environment where live-action is merged with digital characters. The processes are different, limitations are different but you are still creating a performance.

ignacioherrera31 karma

Whats the most difficult thing about animating the expressions on faces or body language?

carlitosbaena5 karma

Everything. Each have their own challenges. Both deal with performance. Both have their own complexities. Both deal with connectivity, shapes, clarity, texture, etc. For me finding clear shapes that remain simple visually, but have a complexity to the performance you are trying to bring out always remains a big challenge in what I do.

MaximusAnimus1 karma

What advice would you have for anyone trying to start an animated short film?

carlitosbaena2 karma

To prepare for anything. It's a lot of hard work. You are not being driven by deadlines or a paycheck, so you have to really dig deep to find your personal motivation to keep at it every day. Even when people that have done it prepare you for it, it's still not as difficult as when you are doing it yourself.

choviwan1 karma

How do you feel or what do you think when you watch your first student projects now?

carlitosbaena3 karma

I feel the same way as when I watch what I did a year ago. Lots of things can be changed, but lots of things were learned.

Kapiorange1 karma

Hey Carlos. If you could pick an actor to work with dead or alive, who would it be?

carlitosbaena2 karma

Gene Wilder

dasheekeejones1 karma

Jobs like yours seem like pipedreams. How does one get into it and actually move on up?

carlitosbaena1 karma

It's always encouraged to have dreams. But be careful to be expecting they will always happen. They may or may not happen. It's good to be realistic, especially in an industry as unpredictable as this one. One day you may be in a fantastic place working on something great, and the next day you could find yourself looking for any job opportunity you can find. My own experience has been to enjoy whichever opportunity you have but find ways to keep motivation, goals and dreams alive.

Dudelbaum1 karma

When and how did you know what you wanted to do in computer graphics? Or did animation lead you to CG?

carlitosbaena3 karma

Unfortunately when growing up I was never familiar with computers. I think it was 1994 when I started playing with early version of Photoshop and learning that doing art on the computer could actually be fun...from there I started playing with old 3D softwares such as Strata Studio Pro and Alias/Wavefront. From there I started focusing on character animation.

Kylethetrashpile1 karma

I've never heard of an animated horror film, is it aimed at adults?

carlitosbaena3 karma

It's aimed at whoever would like to see a horror film.

doublin231 karma

Do you think that making it animated will alienate some of your audience who think animation can only be childish? I could see this being done very well and you could do a lot of things that just wouldnt be possible with human actors.

carlitosbaena6 karma

It's a risk we were willing to take. Our goal is to change that misconception that animation is childish. Animation is a medium, and what we are doing are movies.

marveloriddle1 karma

Thanks for doing this Mr. Baena. Any suggestions for someone who wants to get into animation but is terrible at actually drawing?

carlitosbaena2 karma

Yes. You should look at my drawings. Guaranteed they are worse than yours. Don't let that stop you. While I can't draw well, I focused on animation in terms of performance/acting. Many tools out there in addition to drawing that will help you get there.

nevertosoon1 karma

Since you are an animator, do you have any cool animation glitches or bug you can show off or have saved? Also do animation bugs occur often?

carlitosbaena2 karma

In different studios they keep fun glitches or bugs like that. We've had our fair amount of them in our film very often.

po0pdawg1 karma

Hey! I'm a latino film and animation student who's passionate about films, any advice specifically on making it as a latino?

carlitosbaena1 karma

I feel like even when I was an animation student, I would have so many aha moments when something would click, or when a friend would teach me something I've been struggling to learn for weeks if not months. I felt back then I was already making it. You get to fully enjoy what it is we are trying to do and discover with animation. My advice would be enjoy the learning. It's a fun one and never ends.

Also stay passionate. Keep learning and keep sharing with your peers as you keep moving forward in the industry. If there are cultural latino themes that you've always wanted to explore, art/animation are great mediums to do so.

Hidrogen1 karma

Hello! I hope I get an answer.
First off I'd like to congratulate on the work so far. Teaser content looks impressive. So impressive indeed one of my first thoughts when I saw the content and artists involved was "I need the art book".
So I went looking for the artbook, arrived at the indiegogo campaign and started reading the rewards. I was fascinated when I read below the 35$ bar about the art book, but when reading again I realized it said eBook. I can't explain how much I appreciate books over ebooks. I don't dislike ebooks, but I just adore the sensation and feeling a physical book has, that is why I need to ask if there is any way, any way at all, I can get a printed copy of the art book? or is it going to be released as a printed version after the release of the movie?
I hope I can get an answer so I can decide wether I want the ebook or not.
Again, thank you and best of luck!

carlitosbaena2 karma

We are a small team with very limited resources financially. To create a physical book, requires a proper budget. It's something we may be doing later if time and money permits. For now we didn't have the means to do it and save money from it to invest into the film.

Hidrogen1 karma

Ah, I feared this answer. I understand. I'll think about the ebook, but I fear I might go for a lower donation in the end.
I would be so very grateful if you were to contact me or announce when and if the printed art books will ever exist. Thank you for the answer, I wish the best for your project and hope to see more amazing content, regards to all the people working hard to do so :)

carlitosbaena1 karma

Any donation will be appreciated by me and our crew. Every bit of help counts. Thank you for your kind words.

ElmariachiMX1 karma

¿Como fue tu experiencia trabajando en Paramount?

carlitosbaena2 karma

I got to work with an incredible group of artists, many of whom I remain friends to this day. I was fortunate to have that opportunity. They are working on very interesting projects.

Luchavox0 karma

Why do you want to make a horror film for kids?

carlitosbaena3 karma

Hi Luchavox. Our goal is to make a horror film period.

weelittlebabyforme0 karma


carlitosbaena6 karma

In favor. If you can find ways to get there sooner, let us all know.