What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Luis E. Saavedra and I work as a Director of AltairfilmsÂ ,Co – Founder of Antares Render related to Offshoring
services and Cinema from ChileÂ exporting Chilean films to festivals and independentÂ markets.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting intoÂ animation?
Excellent question!Â First at school I really enjoyed drawing and me and some friends had aÂ comic bookÂ magazine, well just a bunch of fotocopies put together !Â After that, I studied Industrial design and for a while I designed andÂ built desks for offices. I did many of them and it was a very physicalÂ job, I spent many hours at night in empty buildings finishing thoseÂ offices. After that, I worked in the printing bussiness as a GraphicÂ Designer in the pre-press process, which is very interesting regardingÂ the color creation for Offset prints. I learned a lot from these bothÂ experiences and I related them to animation years later.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have beenÂ a part of?
Through the years I have been involved in great projects, bothÂ animation and film but the one I always remember is the first one;
“Discovery”, because that was my first comission. In 2001 I wasÂ granted by a Government contest with US 6000 to develop a 10 min pieceÂ of animation in 6 month. I had never worked in animation before and IÂ had to work very hard to finish it. I even had troubles with my thenÂ girlfriend because I was spendig a great amount of time working dayÂ and night, she finally broke up with me!Â But the experience was great, drawing though the night and with noÂ worries about anything, just enjoying the oportunity
How did you become interested in animation?
My grandfather introduced me into the comicbook universe when I wasÂ little, classic stuff like Alex Raymond with “Flash Gordon”, “TheÂ Spirit” of Will Eisner and Jean Giraud mostly known as Moebius. I alsoÂ remember a lot of cartoons, Chuck Jones and the Bugs Bunny world. IÂ also remember watching the “Star wars Holiday Special” and the greatÂ animation that Nelvana produced for that show, Â but the main interestÂ came when I saw the film ” Heavy Metal”, It was a moment when IÂ realized that animation was not only for cartoons, the story, theÂ music and the designs were so unique that gave Â me the conviction thatÂ I could do some animation. I always watch that film from time to time!
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Chile, South America and I guess I was always attracted toÂ tell stories through animation. My first oportunity came with a
contest known in Chile as FONDART, where you can get money to produceÂ your own stuff. So I wrote this sci-fi story involving places of theÂ city of Valparaiso, where I live and they liked it. After that I keptÂ trying to develop more projects that involved more people;
illustrators, designers, animators, programmers and musicians.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
When we are on full production we start the day with early meetings soÂ we all know we are on the same page regarding the storyboards, designsÂ and music. Every two hours we stop to check on things such animationÂ and editing. We usually try to end the day with as much of animationÂ as we can and at the end pizza & beers!
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The creative team process is something that I really enjoy, how theÂ puzzle begins to take shape to form the final cut, how the different
pieces, storyboards, animation and music get together for the finalÂ product.Â Because that is the moment when you realize if you are doing a goodÂ job as a director, if you were able to transmit your ideas to the teamÂ and manage to create a good enviroment for work.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Meeting people that are not open to be part of a team. When you areÂ working in something that requires good comunication between everyone,Â sometimes you meet peolple that are not willing to let their ego goÂ and play for the team.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in theÂ business?
That would be getting any project going or finding financing for them. Â Sometimes you fall in love with projects that are hard to start andÂ you have to work in those that are not very fun but get the money going!
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
We work with G4 Mac computers and custom PC put together by myÂ brother, Computer Engineer and a in house render farm. Wacom tabletsÂ are always welcome also!
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I remember going to Anifest at the Chec Republic and meeting theÂ Korean director Moonsaeng Kim of the film “Beautiful days”, great guyÂ and with wise advices for animation.Â A highlight for me also was having the oportunity to visit SkywalkerÂ Ranch, great place and great people!
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
When I was 17 I did my senior year in Santa Clara, California and IÂ spent a year there. During that time my grandfather got very ill and
finally died before I could come back. He was always suporting me andÂ I felt very sad for that so as a tribute he is one of the characters
in “Altair and the light of power”.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like toÂ share details of?
We are trying to move forward on “Kren”, an animation series about aÂ small boy that arrives in a desolate world ruled by 4 species in fightÂ for water, he will become the hope for all species and return to peace.Â It is based in the geography and animals fron Chile.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with yourÂ tongue or metalurgy?
Playing guitar is very relaxing, I try to find time to play during theÂ day, George Harrison stuff!
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animationÂ student or artist trying to break into the bussiness?
Perfect your talent so you can show it in any moment, if you can drawÂ something fast during a pitch it always gives you extra points!
Travel if you can, get the oporunity to experience a different realityÂ from another country and culture, it will give you a different
perspective about your work and life.Â And finally, believe in what you are doing, believe that the worldÂ needs to see what you are doing and you will have to do the necessaryÂ to show it !