Credit: "Scavengers Reign"
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Francisco Magalhaes 2D animator and Filmmaker

07 May 2024 Portraits
Published by Sophie JEAN
Viewed 136 times

Graduating from the Master of Arts in Character Animation & Animated Filmmaking in 2020, Francisco M.Magalhaes is now an animator, storyboarder and director. He has worked on various films and TV series, including some produced or directed by alumni, such as "Mars Express", "Scavengers Reign", "Love Death and Robots" and "Unicorn Warriors Eternal".




You graduated from the Master of Arts Character Animation & Animated Filmmaking program in 2020 can you tell us about your career since graduating?

Everything has been pretty organic, actually. I'd already worked with a couple studios before GOBELINS, so thankfully I already had some contacts. I worked for a while as a freelance assistant animator for The Line in London, straight out of school, and also as an animator for Wizz, in Paris, and Titmouse, in LA - they reached out to our team after watching out graduation film "Le Retour des Vagues".


I then worked for Studio La Cachette on "Unicorn Warriors Eternal" for almost a year - I had already worked with them on "Love Death and Robots" before joining GOBELINS - and after that I had the opportunity to work on "Mars Express".


While I was on the film, Benjy Brooke, at the time a supervising director at Titmouse, contacted me on Instagram and offered me to work on "Scavengers Reign", their new project. So, as soon as my contract ended on "Mars Express", I jumped on "Scavengers". I felt right at home in this project.


Up until this point, I'd been working as an animator, but for "Scavengers", I had the opportunity to work as a supervising animator. I worked with Diego Porral, who is also a graduate of GOBELINS (class of 2019). He was the director of the episodes I worked on.

As soon as "Scavengers" ended, I jumped on "Spiderverse" as an animator for two weeks, right as the production was wrapping up, and still with Titmouse.


I'm currently working on "Common Side Effects", a new TV series created by Joe Bennet and Steve Hely, at Green Street Pictures. I started as a storyboarder, then assistant director on a couple of episodes, and now that the storyboarding phase is over, we are doing retake animation, so I'll be animating until June.




You worked as an animator on Jérémie Périn's film "Mars Express". Can you tell us more about this experience?

It was great. I learned a lot. I recognised a lot of people of the team from previous projects, and also from GOBELINS. The talent was incredible, there was so much quality in everything. It was a great opportunity to progress.


It was my first time doing realistic animation professionally, which is what I wanted to focus on. Everything I learned there came in very handy for "Scavengers". It gave me a lot of skills I needed to take over supervision later on.


Also, I'd wanted to work on this project since the teaser came out in 2019, so I felt very lucky to be part of it in the end.




Can you tell us more about "Scavengers Reign"?

Oh absolutely, I really loved working on Scavengers! It was created by Joe Bennett and Charles Huettner, and I got to work with many people I already knew from my time at Titmouse and from GOBELINS, so I immediately felt very comfortable. Plus, I got to meet a lot of amazing people which remain close friends today. I can pretty much say it changed my life.


As I said, I was working with Diego Porral, with whom I'd worked before. I'd helped him on "Blind Eye", his GOBELINS graduation film, and worked with him on "Love, Death and Robots", where he was lead animator.


I got to be the supervising animator on his episodes on "Scavengers". It was a dream. Diego was an extraordinary director to work with. We were constantly communicating with each other, trying to find the best way to handle the episodes.


I was a big fan from the start. Joe and Charles had created something very special and they wanted to make a show different from anything that had been produced before.

Unfortunately, the show is not available yet in France, only in some countries in the American continent, I believe.




You worked for La Cachette studio Jérémie Perin. Was it your intention to work with alumni?

I did discovered a lot of people I wanted to work with thanks to GOBELINS. I discovered La Cachette through their graduation film. I met Diego at school and we became friends. I got to work with Jonathan Djob Nkondo on "Scavengers Reign", who also graduated from GOBELINS (class of 2011), even though we didn't get to work on the same episodes. I knew his work and had always dreamed of working with him.


It's always a question of who's working in the industry and what production you're working on. A lot of these people came from GOBELINS, it's an extraordinary school. There's so much talent, so many good people graduating from GOBELINS every year. They're everywhere right now.


In fact, I got into animation thanks to GOBELINS. The school has always played an important role in my path.




Why did you choose to study at GOBELINS, and how did you hear about the school?

I was studying mechanical engineering in Portugal and during my last semester, I saw "Myosis" on Facebook. It was a graduation film made in 2013 by GOBELINS students. I had no idea that students could make something so good. Then I saw "Le Royaume" by the guys from La Cachette. It triggered something in me. I'd always loved watching animated films, but I had no idea how to make them.


I finished my degree, went home and opened Photoshop, because it was the only thing I had at the time, and I started to learn animation on my own.


I worked for a year as an engineer. During that time, every day I would go home and learn on my own, trying to animate a bit until I quit my job in 2016. I decided to spend a year doing animation to build up a portfolio so I could apply either to jobs or schools.


I went to the GOBELINS summer school in 2017. It was my first time being surrounded by other animators. The following month, I went to London and knocked on a couple doors as recommended during the summer school.


Somehow, I luckily landed jobs at The Line and La Cachette and eventually applied to GOBELINS in 2018 where I joined the master's program. It's all thanks to summer courses and "Myosis". It was the first graduation film I ever watched, and it had a big impact on me.




What do you like the most about your job?

I love everything. I've always been a fan of what I've worked on. If I were working in animation on projects I didn't particularly like, it could be different I suppose, but so far I'm always thrilled to be able to contribute to the projects I'm part of.


When I was storyboarding, creatively speaking, it was fantastic to receive a script and imagine how it would work on screen. Likewise, when I'm animating and I see the characters come to life, it's amazing.


When I was supervising, I also loved working on Excel and just being able to manage the spreadsheets and try to organize the episode. I'm just happy to do everything.




Can you tell us a good memory of your time studying at GOBELINS?

The first few months were very inspiring. They were some of the best times of my life. Everyone was very kind. The teachers gave us very good feedback, very specific, I learned a lot.


Fred Nagorny, for example, was phenomenal at giving feedback. I remember showing him an animation I was doing that I wasn't super happy with, and he looked at it for a few seconds and said: "All the drawings are good, no need to change it. The only thing you have to do is change the timing a little". He then went on the timeline and changed very small things on the exposure of each drawing. Just like that, the animation improved a lot, it was magic.


That moment shaped everything I've done as an animator ever since. I think I keep searching for that same perfectionism with timing specifically, for example.




What advice would you give to a new graduate?

Don't be afraid to put yourself out there, and show what you can do. Getting feedback is very important. People need to see what you do in order to offer you a job. This industry is full of nice people who are very open to being contacted and to helping out as well.


Everything's going to be fine. There are ups and downs in the industry, sometimes there are more jobs, sometimes there are fewer, but once you get your foot in the door, everything's going to be fine. You just have to be enthusiastic about what you do, and it will reflect in your work.




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