We had the good fortune of connecting with Luis Naranjo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Luis, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Being creative has been a natural part of my life for as long as I could remember; growing up an only child taught me to create my own fun, so I’d take up drawing, making music, which all eventually led to my current occupation of motion graphics and video editing. Everything leading to this made sense, ultimately.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My life in art has been a series of winging it until I’m suddenly no longer winging it. It all started with wanting to be a comic book artist, which has nothing to do with where I’m at, really, but it got me drawing every single day and creating terrible stories for made up super heroes. Animation/motion design would’ve started by my “learning” frame by frame animation in Mario Paint for Super Nintendo, learning “non-linear” music composition in MTV Music Generator for the PlayStation One. My Mother was too afraid of what would happen to me if we got a computer with the internet, so I didn’t get a computer until about two years after I started working in motion design. Which is pretty crazy when I say (type) it out loud. That being said, starting work in this field with minimal knowledge meant many, many late nights to get the job done. I started with creating Bar Mitzvah montages, you know, the videos they show of kids growing up? Basically a really fancy slideshow. It was essentially After Effects bootcamp. 120, 7 second long animations every two weeks. It was insane, but I learned a lot. I didn’t have a choice, really; it was either learn more quickly, or go back to my previous, 5 year long job of being a cashier at Sizzler Steakhouse. That has always been a threat in the back of my mind to keep learning, keep working hard, and always know when to take a good opportunity when it rears its head.
All this hard work has taken me from a cashier at Sizzler all the way to a head of post production and beyond.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’ll try to make it quick. Every morning we’d go over to Magnolia BLVD in Burbank for some cold brew; hard to start a day without it. Followed up with a visit to Coral Cafe, also in Burbank. Tuna melt with fries would be what I’d recommend them. Perhaps a visit to Museum of Jurassic Technology in L.A.; that place is amazing, I can spend hours there walking around, reading the descriptions of forgotten facts and truths, and topped off with some tea and cookies. Perhaps we’d catch a movie after, or visit Amoeba Records/Barnes & Noble to browse some physical media. End the day with a visit to either Marche wine bar or the Roguelike tavern for some drinks and some kind of dinner!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My being able to make a living off of motion design and editing is greatly in debt to my good friend Matt Sessions. Our long friendship has always been based around being creative, whether it be making skate/bike videos, music, silly short films, etc, his encouragement and having the equipment needed to learn such things made it possible to be in my current position. His recommendation for me to be an intern at a wedding videography company got my foot in the door of this industry, however lowly as that was, haha. While in the company, I decided to learn After Effects in order to make my own music videos and he helped out by teaching me the fundamentals which put me in a good position to start learning on my own.
I also owe a debt to David Robin, who took a chance on employing me full-time with extremely limited knowledge in what was needed for the job of motion graphics/animation.