10 Questions : Pedro Eboli

Pedro Eboli is an amazing Brazilian animator. We’re big fans of his work here at Cartoon food and featured his animated short Waterslide, which Pedro was cool enough to thank us for in the comments. Talented animator and all round good guy…He sounds like the perfect candidate for our second round of 10 Questions.

1. First up – for anyone who doesn’t already know you are can you tell us a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

I´m a director, animator and designer living in São Paulo, Brazil.

I´ve been working for the past five years at Birdo Studio, where I´ve met some of the most talented and awesome folks ever.

My usual work includes doing commercials, music videos, shorts, etc. Mostly for “other people” – meaning ad agencies, corporate clients and other studios. But we´re always chasing after doing our own thing, and it´s always fun when we get to do that.

2. Can you tell us how you got into animation?

I used to be an advertising copywriter. Which means I used to spend my days writing about exciting things like toothpaste, beer and oil companies. Woo hoo. After five years of that, I decided to chase something I was really passionate about. And so I spent a year at the Vancouver Film Schoo, where I met a bunch of great teachers and classmates. It was an amazing year, where I learned enough to at least get cracking at a real studio. It was probably the best decision I´ve made in my professional life ever.

3. What’s the best thing about your job?

Well, you get to draw all day (on a good day). I know it sounds cliché, but it´s true. And it´s by far the most supportive, collaborative and creative work environment I´ve ever been in. It doesn´t matter if you´re animating, directing or assisting, everyone is in the same page. It’s 100% cooperative work, and that´s really refreshing after working in the breakneck, dog-eat-dog world of advertising.

Oh, yeah, and then there are the day s when you´re worrking on something personal, that means something to you. Like a pitch for a TV show, or a pilot of said show, or a music video…there´s no rush like it.

4. What’s the most frustrating thing?

Whenever your hobby or passion becomes work, well…it´s work. There are bad days. Days when the client hates something you spent hours and hours working on. Days when you don´t feel like drawing but you have to. Those kinds of things. But I guess that´s with every work. Somedays it´s just work, and you have to push through. And then it gets better.

That. And the crushing self doubt whenever you start on a scene or a project. Feeling like you’re a fraud about to be discovered. But maybe that´s just me. 🙂

5. Do you have any words of wisdom for any visitors to the site starting to take an interest or study animation?

Study animation. There´s such an enormous wealth of avaliable information out there. Go bug people online, on tumblr and stuff (just don´t go psycho-stalker on them, ok?). And most of all don´t be afraid to try shit at home, post it online. Doesn´t matter if you think it´s bad or amateurish. Stick your neck out there. You need to get you bad animations out of you before you get to the good ones.

And don´t believe in instant gratification. It takes years. Stick to it. You´ll see that, in 5 years the stuff you´re doing now will look horrible to you. But it´s a process, you have to get through that first. I can´t watch my graduation film now. All I can see are the mistakes. But I learned so much from doing it. The same with show pitches, if that´s your thing. On the last 12 months I´ve sold 3 pitches to different places, but I´ve been doing them for almost 5 years now. I did a lot of bad ones, lame ones and unprofessional looking ones.

Oh, yeah. And finally, look for inspiration outside animation. Stop copying Disney stuff (you know if I´m talking to you here) and go search your own style. Go look at classic live action movies, fine arts, whatever. If you only feed yourself animation, you´ll just be stuck in a loop.

6. Can you take us through your process how you go from an idea all the way through to the final animation?

This is really subjective. I don´t believe there´s a right way to do it. Nothing that´s set in stone. But you can save tons of work if you plan your animation right. What do you want to showcase with your piece? Awesome, full animation? Or do you just want to tell a story, no matter how limited the animation?

I believe in storyboards. Big time. When you board is when you´re actually directing the film. The rest is just polishing up. If you´re doing live action, then ok. Whatever. Go shoot “in the moment”. But there´s no such thing in animation. Soo if you wanna be a director, learn how to board. Learn about the axis, and hook ups, and pushing the angles and what not. It will make you a much better director, even if you go into live action at some point in your life.

7. What piece of work are you most proud of?

You wanna be proud of whatever you´re doing now. In my case, i´m co-directing a pilot for one of the big cartoon channels, based on  a pitch me and my Canadian friend Graham Peterson developed together. And I´m really, really happy that we convinced the network to have the short made here at Birdo, with all my friends animating and helping out. So it´s like a dream come true.

Of what´s out there, I´m really happy with the last music video I directed and animated, for the Brazilian band Gloom. We made it on shoestring budget, we shot the BGs totally guerrilla style and animated everything in a couple of weeks, with total creative freedom from the band to tell whatever story we wanted to tell. But it was a blast to make, even though we had little time. I love tight deadlines. Working without a deadline is a total productivity killer for me.

Here´s the link for the video: https://vimeo.com/80263371

8. If you could pick another animators work that you wished you’d made what would it be?

David OReilly. Big fan. And Paul Robertson. I wish I knew 3D and I wish I knew how to do good pixel art.

9. How do you think animation will change in the next 10 years?

It´s changing already. If you dream of working on the big pencil-and-paper Disney feature, good luck. This is dead. Fortunately, a much, much richer and cool world has emerged. Now you can have something that looks and feels like classsic animation and never leave your Cintiq. You can show your work in the biggest animation festival in the world, free of charge, anytime. this animation festival is called the internet.

TV shows are becoming weirder and more niché. Well, there are still the conventional ones. But now there´s more choice, something for everyone.

Traditional advertising is (thankfully) dying. Now brands are looking fo fun, cool content. So there´s a growing market there.

Bottom line is: go do what you love and stick to it, because the future seems bright for creative people with a passion.

10. Who or what inspires you? Tell us about specific directors, shorts or animations that you love.

For animation I think the short that has inspired me the most is from Russian director Konstantin Bronzit. It´s called Au Bout Du Monde (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XN0_zYivTh0). It´s such an animation tour de force. It tells the story through animation only, it doesn´t try to be live action (and it could never be). And, of course, It´s really, really, really funny. Even though, at the same time, it feels meaningful in a weird way. Maybe I´ve stared at it for too long aand I´m starting to see things that aren´t there.

If you´ve never seen it, take some time to watch it. And other things by this guy too. He´s amazing. Such a fantastic, kinda bitter but silly sense of humour. He taught me you don’t need to be grumpy or self-important to be meaningful and actually important.

Apart from that, I´m a huge fan of live action directors who are masters at telling a good story. Though clear, concise and precise direction. Folks like Scorcese, Kubrick, good ol´ Spielberg and Edgar Wright.

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