How do you succeed in a challenging animation market? Creative animation studio 23lunes might have a few stories to tell about that.
Operating in what CEO and Director Jordi García defined a pretty limited Spanish market, 23lunes works daily to bring incredible projects to life and has recently been experiencing a pleasant boost due to some video games companies moving to Spain. With resilience and a beautiful style of animation, 23lunes was one of the very few business ventures that was not affected by Covid-19 at all.
For this Company Spotlight, we are learning more about the story of a lovely company in Barcelona, and how a team's determination is slowly but steadily paving their way to success.
How was your company born and where are you based?
23lunes' current state resulted from merging 23lunes and Onpost, 2 companies (one animation studio and one postproduction studio) from Barcelona. Both were born in 2004 and merged in 2012 to focus only on animation content and direction.
What was the biggest challenge to the growth of your company?
Company growth and hiring talent is still somehow difficult here. A lot of good artists are leaving the country to work on bigger projects and it is complicated to get them back home. The animation market in Spain is very limited, with very few animation commercials every year. Thank god a lot of videogaming companies are moving to Barcelona and things have gotten much more interesting over the last 2 years.
Which was the first huge success that you can remember?
Well, one of the most rewarding experiences was our participation in the movie "Ender's Game" where, in collaboration with Digital Domain, we had the chance to create the "Mind Game" sequence, from concept art to Postproduction. This was one of our biggest leaps forward, because suddenly we stepped in with the big boys and we needed to improve our pipeline and general workflow in just a few months. The level of excellence that was asked from us was unprecedent and very demanding and we really learned a lot.
What’s the biggest opportunity for you and your company in the next year?
Well, we have some interesting things going on in gaming right now and something really interesting for streaming networks that we are currently developing, but cannot say much about it at this time.
Can you explain your team’s creative process?
It very much depends on the nature of the project, if it is a 23lunes project or commercial. But in all cases direction comes from my partner Bor and I (he's more dedicated to characters and Art Direction and I'm more in Direction and Animation).
I try to shoot all my ideas to our art director and from there we discuss and propose different routes. Usually, we are very aligned so this part is quite easy. From there we move onto concept art and we allow them to propose a lot of different things to widen our vision.
After that it's the usual standard process but with the difference that both directors have an artist background and are very involved in all processes from up-close, so we can optimise the time and effort of our artists.
How does your team remain inspired and motivated?
Well, this is a big secret!! I cannot tell about inner feelings of my team, you should ask them, but I can tell you how we try to do it.
Mostly we try to combine different type of projects that challenge them artistically and the ones that are could feel more like routine work we try to focus on them like they are the next Avenger's movie.
Aside from that we try to create an environment where everybody can say whatever they feel like, politically, artistically, and politically incorrect if you ask me.
How has COVID-19 affected your company?
Well I'm lucky to say it didn't affect us at all by now (fingers crossed). The fact is that we have grown during last year so we consider ourselves quite fortunate.
Which individuals do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
Miyazaki and Lasseter are 2 of my biggest inspiration for what they've done for the industry. They are like the Walt Disney of Modern Era. Also I've met very interesting people in my years in animation and some of them work with me and inspire me everyday.
There are a few animation studios of which I love the work that they are doing right now like Fortiche, Tumblehead and I also find the work of French directors MegaComputeur very interesting.
What is one tip that you would give to other aspiring creatives looking for work?
Well, I think if you are too original with this answer you are propably mistaken because it is all been said about this matter, but not always followed. Hard work, hard work and passion. I've been in this for more than 20 years and I think I'm more excited to work everyday that when I started.
What’s your one big hope for the future of the industry?
Well, idealistically more high quality animation productions everywhere. It is a sweet moment for animation content and videogames and I think as an Industry we should focus on keeping high standards of production and educating viewers to recognize quality.
Also the fact that talent is distributed randomly and the fact that you can learn animation without spending one euro, on your own, there will be a lot of interesting artist that will appear over the next few years.
Do you have any websites, books or resources that you would recommend?
Well, to be honest I don't see a lot of animation websites, of course I see most of the things that are being done, but I get shared a lot of content from my colleagues.
About books, I like animation classics like Illusion of Life and that kind of stuff, also a lot of Scriptwriting like Save the Cat.