Written by Adreon Patterson
Attending SCAD is a mix of pleasure and stress
within the pursuit of a profession within the arts. Everybody’s journey has its twists and
turns as childhood goals develop into grownup actuality.
One such journey is that of story artist and character designer Federico Etchegaray who acquired a bachelor of superb arts in animation in 2016. After studying and dealing in his native nation of Uruguay, Etchegaray determined to pursue an animation profession within the U.S. Regardless of some cultural and linguistic limitations, he’s made a superb profession as an artist within the US.
The Connector: Rising up in Uruguay, what was your expertise with animation?
Etchegaray: Uruguay is a small and conservative nation. Rising up there did have its set of drawbacks on my goals of stepping into animation. At a younger age, most individuals round me didn’t look after animation, movies and even video video games, so I couldn’t assist however really feel totally different. I beloved drawing, enjoying Ocarina of Time and watching Pokémon simply as a lot as I favored soccer, in order a child I always needed to stability being an introvert and an extrovert. I’m grateful to the few family and friends members that shared comparable passions. Regardless that I grew up with a balanced consumption of animation and sports activities, I steadily stopped once I acquired to my teenage years — these darkish years once you turn out to be much less of a person and extra of a sheep. Briefly, I turned extra outgoing and let go of my reserved passions. I regrettably stopped drawing, watched fewer movies and performed fewer video games. It wasn’t till my late teen years that I considered the way forward for these passions, and I acquired again on monitor on attaining these goals.
Nevertheless, a brand new set of issues confirmed up. Individuals again residence often opted for extra conventional careers nearer to residence. There wasn’t lots of choices for a man who needed to work on animated movies in Hollywood. There have been no locations to review animation since Uruguay was too tiny to have an animation or movie business. On prime of that, there was a scarcity of respect for creatives and artists, which made it arduous for younger individuals to turn into one. So, for these very causes, I didn’t think about animation a risk at first. I seemed for different artistic careers that may be extra accepted in Uruguay. Graphic design got here to thoughts as a extra formal selection that aligned with the artistic industries in Uruguay. Quickly, I noticed I needed extra, so I ventured into the weird concept of aiming for a profession in animation that may mix my ardour for drawing, storytelling and creativity right into a neat package deal. Then I researched a bunch and located this pioneering tiny academy that taught animation referred to as the Animation Campus. I went there for a few years earlier than getting into the U.S. to additional my research.
The Connector: What impressed you to pursue a profession in animation?
Etchegaray: My early influences have been the widespread examples of Disney films and anime collection. However my actual fondness for animation began with Pixar once I was first uncovered to the work of Brad Hen. The Incredibles confirmed me the potential that this medium had whereas Ratatouille spoke to me deeply with its inspirational story of a personality who ventures away from his traditions to comply with his ardour and obtain his dream. Lastly, my newest inspiration got here once I was uncovered to Miyazaki’s work throughout faculty. I arrived late to the celebration and was blown away once I first noticed Ghibli’s movies. He impressed me all all through my education.
The Connector: What/who has influenced your method and elegance?
Etchegaray: My fashion is influenced by gifted artists from totally different mediums like Carter Goodrich, Nico Marlet, Shiyoon Kim, Al Hirschfeld, Mignola, Moebius, Toppi, Klimt and Schiele. I seemed into numerous stylistic avenues reminiscent of animation, illustration, comics and even advantageous artwork work. When it comes to my storyboarding, Hayao Miyazaki, Brad Fowl, Andrew Stanton, Isao Takahata, Pete Docter, Satoshi Kon, Akira Kurosawa, P.T. Anderson, Francis Ford Coppola, David Fincher and Ridley Scott have influenced my narrative fashion.
The Connector: What introduced you to SCAD?
Etchegaray: I had short-listed the universities that sponsored my dream to Cal Arts, SCAD, Ringling, Sheridan and RISD amongst others. As internationals, we don’t get authorities assist, so our choices are both absolutely pay out-of-pocket or getting good scholarships. I labored on my portfolio for a few months and utilized to the schools on the record. Most of them had no scholarships for worldwide college students, so I needed to scrap these. Others have been nonetheless too costly even with scholarships that I used to be provided. SCAD gave me the very best scholarship, slicing the fee drastically with out compromising on its strong animation division. After that, it had grow to be a no brainer to attend SCAD.
The Connector: How was the transition from Uruguay to the U.S. mentally, emotionally and culturally?
Etchegaray: Leaving the whole lot you realize and love and leaping into the unknown was each thrilling and very scary. The joys of experiencing the “new” lasts a few months, perhaps a yr max. However you then begin to really feel the actual punch of being distant from every thing you recognize. In a approach, it’s the identical feeling if you get again from trip for a very long time. You’re exhausted and now prepared to return to your consolation zone again residence. However the catch is you possibly can’t return. You’ve obtained to remain and hold working exhausting in your dream.
Since Uruguay is way away from the U.S., I couldn’t go go to typically due to how costly it’s to return. So often, I might return house every year to go to. I’ve an enormous household, and I’m actually near them, in order that made it even more durable. Apart from the issues I missed, the transition was smoother than I assumed it will be. Getting used to talking English comfortably took a short while, however you ultimately get used to it. When it comes to tradition, I used to be uncovered to the U.S. tradition at a really early age, in order that transition wasn’t exhausting in any respect. We’re extra comparable than we expect with some exceptions in fact.
The Connector: Who has been your help whereas pursuing your dream within the U.S.?
Etchegaray:Certainly, my mother and father have been my largest supporters. Regardless that they knew little to nothing about animation, they believed in me and inspired me to comply with this loopy dream of mine. I owe the whole lot to them.
The Connector: Having discovered and labored on two continents, what variations have you ever observed?
Etchegaray: When it comes to schooling, the distinction is large since Uruguay has few skilled professionals to study from. The U.S. has a legacy of being on the middle of the leisure world and thus has an unimaginable variety of professionals with tons of expertise within the movie and TV business. At SCAD, we had professors from DreamWorks and Disney that impressed us to do animation within the first place. So, it doesn’t get any higher than that. Again in Uruguay, I discovered lots concerning the technical features of animation however little concerning the inventive aspect, which is the aspect that me probably the most.
Working in Uruguay was additionally totally different than the U.S. In Uruguay, it’s required that you simply be a generalist with a large set of expertise because you primarily work on promoting tasks. Within the U.S., it’s anticipated of you to concentrate on one space to greatest serve an enormous manufacturing like an animated movie, which includes a whole lot of specialists acting at a excessive degree. Each have their strengths and weaknesses, however I loved specializing extra because it lets you actually focus in your craft.
The Connector: What has your expertise within the U.S. be like?
Etchegaray: I might say apart from having to cope with immigration points, my expertise within the U.S. has been nice. I spent 4 years in lovely Savannah learning, having enjoyable and assembly new individuals with the identical ardour I had. I got here straight to LA to work within the animation business the place I met much more individuals from different faculties. There have been a whole lot of challenges in the best way. Some are ongoing, like making an attempt to get a piece VISA to remain for the long term, however I can confidently say it was all value it.
The Connector: Identify one constructive and one unfavourable about post-graduate life.
Etchegaray: Submit-graduate life may be scary, particularly at first with all of the strain that comes with graduating and having to get a job ASAP. As a world, that strain is felt much more because you don’t have a house you possibly can return to. So, I might say that’s one unfavorable facet that provides graduating college students plenty of pointless stress and nervousness. Getting your first job takes time on this business, so don’t sweat it anticipating to get one thing immediately. Be affected person and hold working in your stuff.
A constructive facet is attending to work within the business on real-life assignments the place you possibly can apply the talents you’ve been training in class, however in knowledgeable setting and getting paid for it.
The Connector: Being so multi-faceted within the animation area, what do you are feeling is your robust go well with?
Etchegaray: I had a tough time deciding what to do, so I needed to attempt a bunch of areas earlier than I discovered the one I loved doing. In the long run, it wasn’t just one for me, however two: character design and storyboarding. These have been the 2 areas I loved probably the most and have become probably the most proficient at whereas in class. However of the 2, I might say storyboarding, since I nonetheless have a lot to study and develop to turn out to be proficient at it.
The Connector: The place do you see your profession within the subsequent decade?
Etchegaray: Proper now, I’m making an attempt to determine if I’m going to have the ability to keep within the U.S. for the long term. But when that goes easily, then I want to see myself storyboarding for function animation movies within the subsequent decade. Hopefully sometime I can have the ability to lead a challenge.
The Connector: What phrases of knowledge would really like you to impart on soon-to-be SCAD graduates?
Etchegaray: It doesn’t matter what you do in animation or another main, I feel focus is the important thing to success. I might advise anybody graduating proper now to obviously present that space of focus in your work. Make your work shine so that you simply’ll be eligible for a place doing that. I’ve seen lots of graduating college students nonetheless unclear about what they need to do. Studios will skim via your work as a result of they gained’t see a dedication to a selected space and that may harm you when making an attempt to get a job. Making movies is nice, however on the subject of touchdown a job, the precise work in your portfolio can be much more helpful than the movie.
Second to that’s to not freak out if issues don’t go your method or when you don’t get a job supply proper out of faculty. That’s regular and anticipated. Simply don’t cease working in your stuff. Continue to grow and don’t let your expertise stagnate. So whenever you land that job, you’re recent and prepared for motion.
Etchegaray’s story might be taken as a shining instance of what true willpower and work ethic can do in your post-graduate life. Regardless of his struggles, he’s forging a spot for himself within the animation business.
To maintain up with Etchegaray’s work, go to his web site fedetch.com and his Instagram @fedetch.