What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Julio Díez, I am character animation director/supervisor, as well, animators team coordinator.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
When I was fourteen I worked in a printing works as apprentice, but it was not my path, so , when I was seventeen I decided to work in an animation studio in Madrid as traditional animator, against my father´s opinion that considered that animation was not a
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
As traditional animator I enjoyed working in “The Flinstones”, “Tom and Jerry”, “The Jetsons” ( Hanna Barbera), and in a lot of american and british Tv series and specials, the feature film “Asterix” (Gaumont) ,etc., as production manager and co-supervising animator in ” Count Duckula”, ” Foxbusters” (Cosgrove Hall), “Captain Star” (Filmworks), “Rhinegold” (Hibber Ralph). After some years working in traditional animation, in 2000, I was hired as character animation director to work for CGI productions in several 3D feature films such as “The Living Forest”, “A Midsummer Dream ” (Dygra Films), etc.
How did you become interested in animation?
From I was a child, I remember that I used to draw in the corners of my school books for them to become in “flip book”, so I consider that animation to me is absolutely vocational.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I am from Madrid. I got my first animation job through a newspaper ad, I was very lucky because with seventeen years old, and not much experience, I was selected between 200 people for a new animation studio in Madrid as character animator. At that time
animation in Spain was not very advanced and everything was new for me, I had to face with lots of errors that I had to solve myself, but that teached me very much.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Early in the morning I revise the work of the freelance animators from several parts the world that collaborate in each film as a support for the production. I communicate with them through the internal messaging system of the company or mail, it
takes long time to revise the animation and indicate, if necessary, instructions for the retakes, or in its case the approval. Also, I send all the necessary stuff, scene files, characters files, etc., via FTP folders. After, I start to revise the animation of the in house animators team, that take much more time since, depending of the film, I have had teams with an average of about 20 animators.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
When I supervise animation and find how to improve it, also, to explain to the animators the necessary corrections trying that they understand perfectly what I want, getting finally a good result.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
When an animator does not get with the right result and I have to supervise the scenes ten times, being the production schedule too tight. Also, when an animator is against the indications of the animation director and works according to his preferences instead of the correct instructions.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
PC, Maya, Playblast, FTP, and frequently a pencil for drawing thumbnails as an indication for animators.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
When the producer ask for the best animation of the world within a very tight production schedule, to be obliged to hire beginners due to a limited budget, instead of experienced animators, become a teacher for the animators, more than an animation director, and always, be compared with the major studios.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Yes, I have worked for years for animation celebs such as William Hanna, Paul and Gaetan Brizzi, Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall, Jimmy Murakami, Jose Luis Moro, and also I had some meetings with Joanna Quinn, Bill Plymton…and many more.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
When the work in the movie ends and the team start to go looking for other productions once we have become friends.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
After my last project already finished , a 3D feature film titled “Holy Night”, not released yet , and several small collaborations, currently I have been asked to read a script for a new animation movie of a very important american film company, but by the moment, I can not speak anything about that , it is top secret.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
They are not unusual, even I think they are very simple ones, sorry,traveling in exotic countries, editing my own traveling videos,
drawing, cooking, enjoy of good restaurants, movies, the making of musical video clips…..
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
The best advice is to be prepared as much as possible. Today the competency is huge and when a company ask for modelers, animators, concept artists, vfx, etc., lots of people apply for these job positions at the same time, and many of them are really good, so you have to be very good in your speciality to be competent. There are some good animators that never have studied in animation schools, they are autodidacts, but in general this is a minimun proportion . If possible, it is necessary to learn from the best animation specialists, they can guide you on the right way to become a good professional according to your skills and can teach you the basis of the profession over a shorter path and with better results.
I hope you remember me. I thought I would take a chance and look you up on the internet, to see if you were still doing the lovely animation you do. I spent a day at my parents house yesterday (Bank Holiday here!), and Dad and I were discussing the book he is writing about the history of Cosgrove/Hall. Of course, you are included!. It reminded me of the wonderful working relationship we had. I know it is now gone, but I loved the faxes we had! I hope you and your loved ones are well, and it would be lovely to hear from you. Dad has a publisher interested in the Cosgrove/Hall book, but he’s only got as far as the chapter for Duckula. Which is why we got talking about you!
Lots of Love
Dear Laura, I am so sorry that I did not read your message before, today by chance and looking for other information in internet I found this interview from time ago and I found the wonderful surprise of your message, it gave me a lot of joy. After working with you I have had a long career outside of Alfonso productions as animation director that it was a job closer to my skills since I was always animator but also I was very happy working as production manager with Carlos Alfonso and with you during all those years.
When Cosgrove Hall changed to the new company they asked professionals for the new series and I sent them my curriculum but they weren´t interest in me, I would have liked to continue working for Cosgrove Hall.
Well Laura, it has been a real pleasure to hear from you, give my memories to your father and to all those who collaborated at that time, it was a wonderful time.
For anything you may need, If you want to contact me more easily you can do it through Linkedin.
Wow! I did not expect to get a reply! What a lovely surprise. I hope you and your loved ones are well, and there seems to be so much to catch up on and explain to you what happened with Cosgrove/Hall all those years ago. It changed very quickly, and was the main reason I left, because it was no longer the happy atmosphere that I hope we had in our working relationship. Despite the different companies and countries that we worked within, I can safely say that you were one of the best people I ever worked with. Talented, funny and sane!!!
I’m going to make sure you get a good review in Dad’s book. Just out of interest, do you happen to have any photos of you and the team around the time you worked with us? I’m searching for others at the moment for the book, as I’m sure I have one of you, me and Jon Doyle from the trip when we came to visit you and Carlos, somewhere. Well, hope to hear from you soon. Keep in touch!
Hi Laura, nice to receive your reply. I will look for some photos that I have from that time and I will send them to you. My e-mail address is : firstname.lastname@example.org for anything you may need.
Please send me your e-mail address in order to send the photos.
Glad I worked the reply ok! My address is email@example.com I’ll put together a proper reply for you tomorrow. It’s a bit late here now. Work tomorrow. Catch up tomorrow evening hopefully? Glad I got in touch with you!