An­i­ma­tion Di­rec­tor, Car­men Sandiego, WildBrain

Animation Magazine - - RIS­ING STARS -

“I learned ev­ery­thing on the job and gained a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence from the an­i­ma­tors and su­per­vi­sors around me,” says Flávia Güt­tler, the dy­namic an­i­ma­tion di­rec­tor of WildBrain’s Car­men Sandiego se­ries for Net­flix. Born in Petrópo­lis, in the Rio de Janeiro mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Brazil, the 33-year-old artist says she was very for­tu­nate to find her first job at a small stu­dio which had a tra­di­tional an­i­ma­tor as its leader.

She re­calls, “We al­ways talked about how cut-out an­i­ma­tion could be more and how much po­ten­tial it has, should only tra­di­tional method­ol­ogy be ap­plied to it. That has for­ever stuck in my mind and it’s a phi­los­o­phy I carry with me to this day, in­flu­enc­ing my work en­tirely.”

Güt­tler says she was deeply in­flu­enced by the clas­sic live-ac­tion Bat­man se­ries from the 1960s when she was grow­ing up. “That se­ries ba­si­cally shaped my silly sense of hu­mor and right­eous­ness to­wards the world. It also made me love neon-bright char­ac­ters and he­roes, plus that crime fight­ing frilly bike that Bat­girl had was just too ridicu­lously awe­some not to make a last­ing im­pres­sion. It was the per­fect syn­the­sis be­tween power and ac­tion with fem­i­nine aes­thetic, and it stuck with me to this day!”

Not sur­pris­ingly, she fell in love with Bruce Timm’s Bat­man: The An­i­mated Se­ries when she was a lit­tle older. “With great char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment and sto­ry­lines, it used silly vil­lains and hero archetypes to ex­plore big­ger themes of the real world, so­ci­ety and even psy­chol­ogy. All that in a car­toon for kids! I was hooked and, again, for­ever in­flu­enced by it,” she notes.

Güt­tler al­ways loved to draw but was of­ten told that she couldn’t make a de­cent liv­ing through art, so she dropped out of fine arts school. She worked as a de­signer and web pro­gram­mer for a few years, and when she was as­signed to de­sign and draw an­i­mated web ban­ners, she re­al­ized she wanted to pur­sue an­i­ma­tion as a ca­reer. “I was do­ing a few doo­dles and ex­per­i­ment­ing with Flash when an on­line friend (from De­viantArt, of all places) told me about an an­i­ma­tion stu­dio he worked at. They were des­per­ate, so I went there with just a hand­ful of draw­ings un­der my arm and got a job as a junior an­i­ma­tor!”

She says she loves her cur­rent job at WildBrain be­cause it al­lows her to de­velop a show’s an­i­ma­tion style, find­ing the char­ac­ters’ per­son­al­i­ties and build­ing the rules that make the show look uni­fied. “As the an­i­ma­tion di­rec­tor, it’s re­ally great to be the one wit­ness­ing it all, tak­ing those ‘a-ha!’ mo­ments and shar­ing with oth­ers, elect­ing the ones to be fol­lowed, scooching ev­ery­one to­wards the di­rec­tion you en­vi­sioned and what fits the show.”

Her spe­cial ca­reer tips? “Work, work, work! Hard work pays off and is rec­og­nized,” Güt­tler ad­vises. “If you are at a re­ally small stu­dio and you are ei­ther not be­ing rec­og­nized or too good for it, move on. Find a big­ger, more chal­leng­ing one, change coun­tries in search of op­por­tu­nity. Also, do any­thing you can to keep the draw­ing flame alive and keep prac­tic­ing. What many new an­i­ma­tors fail to see is that, even though we have very styl­ized car­toons and a lot of cut-out an­i­ma­tion on the mar­ket, your work will be a thou­sand times bet­ter, more cre­ative and orig­i­nal if you draw and have strong tra­di­tional skills to back it up.”

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