What is your name and your current occupation?
Philip Carrera, Animator/Digital Storyteller
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Before getting into animation, I was a third grade teacher, an advertising copywriter, architectural draftsman, and production layout artist. I managed to switch careers about every three years until I finally settled on this one.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Three big projects come to mind: (1) publishing my book: “Flash Animation: Creative Storytelling for Web and TV”. (2) Being nominated for Best Kids Short by the Kids First Animation Festival for my first short film: “Dan Mog”: , and (3) completing my first mini-documentary for a local music school.
How did you become interested in animation?
I used to make my own comics when I was a kid and always wondered how Bugs Bunny came to life, but my parents wanted me to be a lawyer or businessman. We compromised by having me study architecture in college. After so many years of post graduation denial, I finally decided to go back to school and study animation for about a year.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Originally from Chicago, but lived in LA most of my life with a couple of stints in New York and Denver. In my third year of teaching third grade, I noticed that my favorite activity was when I would read aloud to (perform for) my students. They loved the stories and I loved making the characters come alive. Especially Jon Scieszka’s book: The True Story of the Three Little Pigs”. I always gave the wolf a scruffy bohemian voice – something about his snout that begged for it. A fellow teacher told me about a local community college and after a year of animation classes there, I got an internship to work on a Simpsons DVD release as well as a couple of TV pilots. It was there that I learned lots of Flash Animation tricks that I still use today.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
The hours vary depending on how full my plate is. There’s lots of collaboration with others (writers, production managers, art directors, etc). Some days I’m designing, others animating.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I’ve been using After Effects for a little over a year now, and love it: the cameras, lights, nulls, adjustment layers. That program has opened up a whole new world for me.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
You really have to hustle to stay relevant in this business. Strangely enough, I thrive on it. The digital age is a great time to be in animation/filmmaking.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Flash, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, a digital tablet and stylus.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I saw Richard Williams lecture at DreamWorks many years ago. His passion for the craft is infectious. I bought his book right away and did all of the exercises in the book using Flash.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Probably deciding what I wanted to do in life. When you spend 8-10 hours a day doing something, you better love it. I don’t know how some people can separate their jobs from what they love to do. My hobbies always turn into enterprises, whether I intend them to or not.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
I’m always making short films, animated, or live action. Lately, I’ve been getting into video journalism. I just finished this mini-documentary this past weekend.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metalurgy?
I can read and write backwards. Does that count?
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Be sincere when meeting new people, and make lots friends. Enjoy the moment.