Dante Zaballa, Animator
Animator Dante Zaballa tries to avoid the internet often and draws inspiration from almost everything surrounding him – even watching his neighbors showering.
Well, I’m Dante, an animator from Buenos Aires, Argentina – now living in Neukölln, Berlin.
Can you remember your first intense experience with film?
The first intense experience was my first short film, I think. Because before that, I was studying graphic design and I was working in motion graphics in the studio, I got every time more and more interested in doing animation, I really wanted to do it. One day I left everything, I left the career and the job. And I started doing little loops on my own and in this time I met Matthias, he is a friend of mine, he is an illustrator, and we decided to do things together.
We did little loops and then we thought to put it together into a short film and we put it online, without really knowing what was gonna happen, I didn’t have any experience in animation at this time. It was crazy, we put it online and start receiving invitations to festivals and stuff like that. Like Email from people saying that they like what we did. I don’t know, for me it was really amazing. And thanks to these short films we had the chance to travel and we had material at Pictoplasma. My short was there and one in London and here and there. To me, it was really amazing with this short film, we were not expecting that.
When was it clear that you wanted to become an animator?
I guess I thought that I wanted to do animation while I was working. So I was already working in that. I start working like long time ago. First doing flyers and then I entered the studio to learn how to do “After Effects”. It was a studio doing post production things but also motion graphics and this was some kind of school for me because I learned everything there. Like how to use “After Effects”. And I was surrounded by people who knew to do other stuff so they teached me a lot. There was a guy who was doing traditional animation and he told me how he was doing frame by frame and I started learning a little bit with them. Also, a friend told me maybe I could a bouncing ball on after effects, so I was doing like basic animation exercise. I mean 2D animations with digital tools. This is how I started, playing around with these things.
What was your most intense moment in your job so far?
I think it was Pictoplasma, for sure. I came to Berlin in the end of 2012 and I didn’t know many people. I have some friends, but I didn’t know much people doing animation or whatever. I didn’t know anything. Afterwards, like around January, I got invitation to work for Pictoplasma. It was a festival that I really like, it was definitely intense. Intense is the right word.
Because I went from zero, from not doing anything, just doing my own stuff, to do suddenly something in a very short period of time, because I had like two months I think. It was on the big screen and showed like three times a day during three days and it was on the flyers. You know, when you do something and after a while you think like “maybe I could change that”. It was right in my face like all the time. I don’t know, it was really intense. I also gave a lecture there, first time I had a microphone and I was talking about how I got into animation in front of a lot of people. It was fun, but scary at the same time.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I don’t know. Now I am doing a short film about people looking at other people through windows. And I think this is something that I see every day. I am really surprised in Berlin, some people just don’t use curtains. So I come back to my house and everytime I see the same neighbours and they are cooking or having a shower. I see everything, everything. I don’t know, personal experience maybe? Being far away from my house as well.
Some words to future animators?
So the reason why I started to do animation by hand was because I wanted to be outside the computer for a while. And I really enjoyed this moment, When you turn off the computer, and put some music on and you are just drawing, no one sending you any message, no internet. This kind of meditative moment, I really like it.
Don’t be too much on the internet, kids!