What is your name and your current occupation?
Vitor Lopes. Animation teacher and freelancer.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I was a security guard for three years and a field operator in a chemical plant for ten years. It is enough crazy?
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Unfortunately I cannot congratulate for having participated in many important and recognized projects. But there is one that make me proud of it: I’m one of the three directors that bring to life the first Portuguese animation feature film in 2008.
How did you become interested in animation?
When I was a kid there were no great entertainments for children, except the fields, the river and a small local cinema. Me and my brothers were lucky to be neighbors of the projectionist and we saw a lot of animation movies in prime time. Few years after appears on the national TV a man called Vasco Granja, an enthusiast of animation. He was responsible for the dissemination of film animation in Portugal, in addition to the film madein the US. He show us the movies made in all Europe and, at the time, the movies made in the socialist countries.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from a small village in the center coast of Portugal. I’ve the lucky of been neighbor (again) of an small animation studio based on a small village called Avanca. The studio name’s Cine Clube de Avanca. I started my collaboration with CCA, and my first steps in animation, in 1998. since then I have participated in several animation projects and created my own films. I started to be a traditional animator acquiring all the knowledge that I could get and keeping me updated with all the technological advancements that have emerged at this time, concerning animation.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Now days, teaching occupies me most of the day. Preparing classes and keep students interested robs me lots of energy. when I’m developing my animation projects or doing freelance illustrations, always reserve one part of the day to make them, often at night.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Sincerely, when I’m doing my personal work. Absolutely.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Teaching, definitely. Why? If you could meet my students … you were going to see why.It’s a long story. Too long.
Well, I use the computer every, every, every day. Nevertheless I draw all my animations or illustrations first.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The most difficult part it is definitely being in Portugal. In Portugal do not exist “business” such as a business has to be. In the recent past some people try to start companies that did animation work for other major located in Europe. They closed doors after one year or less. We don´t have tradition in making animation on a world scale and correspondingly we haven´t professionals to sustain those companies. Working as a freelancer is also a frustration. In a good year I can do two or three works of illustration, and badly paid. It’s our reality.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I do not travel a lot.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Some years ago, my producer sent me along with my film to a festival. When I got there I realize that the movie haven’t the sound added. I just panicked and phoned him to tell him what was happening. He send to me the sound tape by urgent mail, and I got this in ands: play de movie tape and the sound tape simultaneous at the movie projection! With the help of a colleague who was with me, we made the thing happens, and nobody seems to noticed, I suppose…
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I’ve finished a short film recently, and I’m distributing it myself trough festivals over the world. I’m working in a new animation project but it is in the very beginning.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I recently started to dedicate myself to the culture of urban gardens. My balcony is transformed into a small garden where spring radishes, parsley, tomatoes, coriander and so on.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Draw, draw, draw every day. Don´t stop to work in your portfolio and improve your skills.