Peter Nagy

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What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Peter, Peter Nagy. I’m a lucky animator, who is a two-time winner of The 11 Second Club and I edit an animation collection-site, the Living Lines Library. I’m currently working as lead animator at Gyár Post Production, in the field of commercials.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
After I got out of secondary school I had only one job before I found animation. I worked as an excavation graphic for a longer period. As a strong, young man, my work included several things, from precisely drawing the findings to more serious physical work, such as ditching. At such times we threw the soil together with the other manual workers, which I didn’t mind at all, because at least my muscles were kept in good condition.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
As I glance over the films I have worked in, I like the arch of my career entirely. I like that I started learning it from the very basics. I have always been proud that I started as an inbetweener in Corto Maltese: La cour secrète des Arcanes. I’m glad that I had an opportunity to work with the team of Digic Pictures at the time of Assasin’s Creed Revelations. Although that job was far from the character animation that is dear to me, they were the most professional team I have ever worked with, led by my favourite Hungarian director, István ‘Putyi’ Zorkóczy.

How did you become interested in animation?
I have been drawing ever since my childhood, but those were only still pictures, except for the stick figures moving at the corner of my exercise book. I’ve always been fascinated by the films, I watched a lot of animated cartoons as a child, but it never occurred to me that I would ever practice this as a profession. Only when I attended an animation course at the age of 21 did I became absorbed in this genre.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in the town of sunlight, Szeged, in Hungary. (If I had to tell you a famous person from Szeged, I would mention the Oscar-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond.) My mother spotted an ad in a local newspaper about an animation course which took place in a nearby town, at Kecskemétfilm. That is how I started out on this road. Presently I work in Budapest.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
In my present work, in a scene in a commercial I like to devise/animate the scene together with the camera movement. To find the right composition, movement, create the dynamics of the scene. By this, I have a little chance to be a cameraman as well.
The more significant character animation I could only practice in my hobby projects so far. I like the beginning phases best in these: when my brain starts to storm and the ideas come one after another, but still the best part is, when the reference shot is created and I can play the character.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Well, it’s a difficult question. To be honest, it happens sometimes that the technical matters cause a little trouble to me. 🙂 However, with a little help I always get through these trivialities.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Absolutely Autodesk Maya. And there has been some commercials recently which required 2D visualization, so I started using Adobe Flash at last, which, quite interestingly, evaded me so far in my career.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
It is not easy to find a steady job in this profession in Hungary. I’m very lucky with my present place!

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Not a long time ago, in the morning when I was coming to work, I was travelling on the same bus with Marcell Jankovics (of course I didn’t dare to address him). I also know some Hungarian colleagues who worked together with Brad Bird (in Do the Bartman clip), but that is all. :)  However, on Living Lines Library I got so many appreciative feedback on my entries, even from acknowledged professionals. These, may them be just tiny touches, always fill me up with good feeling.

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
At the beginning of my career, when I was a cleanup artist and a novice animator, I could only just make ends meet from my salary. There were two occasions when I wanted to leave this profession.

Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
I have plans, but I don’t like to talk about them, because I’m scared that after my chattering my plans will not come to realization. Earlier, I used to find it hard to harmonize my work with my private life. I neglected the latter one in the past couple of years, that’s how I got more successful in animation. Now I have plans in my private life. With a little luck, I chose the perfect partner for myself and I can stay productive in my work as well.

Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I can run very fast. This is just a matter of technique. So, if I want to be really fast, I run on my tiptoes and I nearly fly. (Of course this mainly works with short distances.) In respond to hobby: I’m interested in editing. One of its most important factors is the same which is also essential in animation, the sense of rhythm. I feel I could manage with the burden and I would have the necessary patience if I were to edit a film out of a bigger amount of shot material. Under the guidance of the director, the film is compiled to a whole in the hands of the editor. If I dug myself deeper into it, I would even be able to quit animation.

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?

Whatever small task they might have, take it seriously. If they are not happened to be in the field of animation yet, but they are dreaming about it and let’s say (this might be an extreme example I think) they are street sweepers at the moment, theirs should be the cleanest street. Once they’ve got that, they can start working to have the cleanest street in the neighbourhood, then the whole district, then the whole country. And so on. The most essential thing is, they should always do their work with devotion.

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