What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Paulo José and I do a lot of things … Character designer, animation director, write screenplays and draw comics.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I would not say crazy, but I was a radio announcer and voice actor.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I do prefer to believe that the work that I will be proud will be next job! Because I am still learning! But to name a few, I do like the comic strips I did for many years (see above) and some films that directed. See links;
And others who had the opportunity to drive in the studios Mauricio de Sousa.
I also like the Sapo Xulé (stinky foot frog) And pilot Oligoque where I also wrote the songs. (please listen the music! it’s mine!) It is likely that you do not understand anything because everything is in Portuguese.
How did you become interested in animation?
I always loved to draw. I entered the school of Fine Art, however just for fun. Grew reading comic books and watching the movies from Disney, UPA, Walter Lantz, Chuck Jones and Tex Avery etc.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in Recife city and am living in São Paulo, Brazil. A friend took me to see the studios of Guy Lebrun a French animator that emigrated to Brazil and I told the guy that I would like to learn to animate (at that time there was no animation schools, at least here in Brazil) so I started as an assistant animator. At that time we only do animated cartoons for advertising.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Varies greatly. I’m a freelancer, work at home because all I need is a computer, a drawing board and some pencils. When I’m not doing illustrations for advertising or for children’s books, work on my own projects. Next year I will make my first feature film with my Stinky foot frog character (Sapo Xulé) with Vera Cruz a major production company here in Brazil. So, there is always much to be done before. I need to revise the script, storyboard scenes redraw some props or sketching some background. I am also negotiating a TV series with a producer company Symbiosys Entertainment, from India. They are currently doing a pilot episode of this series that I created the “Madlokos.” So almost daily by skipe I’m talking with my friend Mr. Srinivas who takes care of the project in India. Madness does not? I am here in Brazil and them in India working on the same project, thanks to the facilities that the internet provides.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I like the challenge of creating. When you are in front of a paper or a white screen, challenging you … Come on! Fill me! It’s exciting and scary! But you laugh alone when you see the ideas in the screen! I won! I’m a hero! But little harsh! Soon remembers why you still have another 30 chapters to create. Damn!
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
After I have a project ready, comes the most boring … Find a producer who believes so much in the idea as much as you believe. Or raise funds for the project.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
If I’m drawing, irreplaceable pencil first, then Photoshop, Illustrator, Painter, Toon boom and so on. If I write … Word or Celtx
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
As I said before, raising money for the project, or find a producer that does it!
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Living in Brazil I only met great artists of animation known only by here. In the beginning there were no animation schools. We had to reinvent the animation because that was no contact with American animators. Had some books. Two Europeans animators immigrated to Brazil bringing his experience. From France came Guy Lebrun (with who I learned to animated) who used the “straight ahead” method, very difficult because the animator must be very good drawer. And from Italy came Mario Lantana. Lantana also knows how to read music, so he used a musical score to determine the timing of the scenes. And Ruy Perotti another great teacher from whom I learned how to animate the pose to pose method. When I was in Hanna & Barbera I learned a lot with the veteran layout man called Hack Fick, a Dutchman living in the United States and who had already gone through several studios. With Hack I learned how to layout a scene. P.S. The artists I mentioned the names above, no longer living among us. I send these animators, my gratitude for all that they gave me of their experiences.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
There was many. But we learn from mistakes. I’ll tell you a situation … Many years ago in the sixties; I had animated a commercial with the characters of the Flintstones that earned me an invitation from Art Scot vice president of Hanna-Barbera studios to work there. I went to Layout department. But there was a problem, I had no green card and I was illegal. They said I had to join the union, but to join the union had to be officially working. Moreover was in the process of divorce with my first wife in my country. I had no friends in LA and I felt very much alone. Putting it all, I went into a depression. My only friend was Hack Fick who wanted to live in Brazil, so we plan to set up a studio in Brazil to produce for Hanna & Barbera. It was a good idea. I give up the dream to work in the animation industry in America and I went back to Brazil and founded with my friend Hack the Thalia Films and we did some episodes of “The Snorks” first cartoon that was completed on the computer (for all I know) but this is another story…
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
As I said before, I am preparing to start my first feature next year. I am also negotiating the possibility of holding a series for TV with a big producer of India. Things run parallel. Furthermore I am looking for a producer who come to be interested in producing my project (see pilot) Oligoque which is a musical and educational series. In Oligoque we talked about the little mysteries that involve nature. Why does the rain fall? The thunder that roars? And from where the butterfly come from? What is the job of the worm under the earth? These are the issues addressed in the series. The pilot has participated in festivals that deal with the environment. If any producers are reading these lines, and are interested in knowing the concept and details of the project, write me.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Well .. Nothing out of the ordinary, but I love to cook and I like to read about spiritualism and meditate.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
I can only speak about my experience. At first I drew night and day, copying great cartoonists I admired. When I started in the cartoon my main concern was the movement. Studied frame by frame animations that liked and try to figure out how that animator solved that scene. Especially enjoyed studying the films of Chuck Jones. The timing of it was superb! But I am also interested in learning how to tell a story, after all that is what we do, we tell stories. So I started reading about cinema. I quote some books that was important to me, “of Mice and Magic” Leonard Maltin – “The americam animated cartoon” Gerald and Danny Peary – “Story” Robert Mckee – “Screenplay” Syd Field. Of course Preston Blair! Looking to watch many movies. And especially studying these movies to know why I liked it or not. If I consider the most important advice is … Be open to receiving influences! Everyone has something to teach! And most of all know that does not know everything.