We had the good fortune of connecting with Carolina Sapena Lafuente and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carolina, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I was born and raised in Spain. I never lived so far away from home but I’m happy I took a risk and tried to look for my dreams. I’ve been very lucky that my family has always supported me on my carrier choices. I stated studying Fine Arts and while I was in my degree I realized I was passionate about animation. To be fair I always been passionate about it but I never thought I could live from that. I remembered the first time I went to see an animation exhibition from Pixar, that day something clicked inside me. For the first time I saw and understood how much work was behind all this animated movies and I immediately new I wanted to be part of this. After my degree I decided to do a Masters in 3D Character Animation in Madrid. On there I learnt so much about animating characters and make the actions look organic and natural. However, even though I finished my masters on time, I had issues finding a job in Spain and then the Covid pandemic happened, which made it more difficult for me to find my first job. I got fed up of waiting, so I new I had to do something about it. I knew how to animate characters but I didn’t had an overview on how all the animation departments worked. So, I thought it could be good for my career to have an understanding of the whole animation pipeline. So, in the middle of the pandemic I decided to move to Los Angeles to do another Masters in 3D Animation and Visual Effects at the New York Film Academy. This master gave the tools I needed to understand properly how the animation industry works. Now I’m currently working in a kids show in Los Angeles as an Animator. I had to go through all this to be where I am right now. When life doesn’t give you what you want, I think is important to look for another way and not keep waiting for something to happen. Not finding my first job in Spain at the begging was what pushed me to try harder, and by not giving up, now I have more than I expected at first.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve been always a very creative person and I can’t Imagen my life work without creativity. I always try to keep me busy with work but also with other side projects . I love to experiment and learn new things. So, sometimes I do personal work or I tired to get involved with other artists from the Film industry. Right now I’m working in two projects as a compositor, something that I haven’t done before, I’ve been always animating and this is something new for me. Is been challenging but also rewarding. I’ve been learning a lot and I think is crucial sometimes to get out of your comfort zone. I learnt during this years that is good to be scared, it makes you try harder and then, when you make it, the feeling of rewarding and success is incredible.
I remember it wasn’t easy for me to get my first job as an Animator but now that I have professional experience I think is going to be easier for me to move around. One day I will love to be part of a feature animated movie of Pixar or Dreamworks, but until I get there my main goal is to enjoy what I do for living. It’s very exciting not knowing what’s gonna happen next, where’s the next job going to take you, what’s the next project you are going to work on.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Normally when people come t visit me here in LA I take them usually to the same spots. Fists, I take them for a hike to the Hollywood sign, so they get an overview of Los Angeles. Then, I like to take them to Warner Bross tour or the Universal Park, so they get a small understanding on how the film industry work. Of course, we go and see the walk of fame and I alway try to take them to eat Mexican food. In Spain the Mexican food is not as good. Also, if my friend likes nature I will take them to The Huntington Garden. I love that spot, it’s so peaceful and beautiful.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I will like to give a big recognition to my parents for all the effort they’ve done to help me be here now. They always encouraged me in following my dream and they also tried to understand what I needed and gave me the freedom to do it. They’ve been there to pay for my whole education, so I can finally work in something I love doing. I can never thank them enough.
photographer pictures in Black and White: Julio Portillo