Buñuel and animation as a technique, not as a genre.

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Buñuel and animation as a technique, not as a genre.

26 April 2019, premiere of “Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles“, the latest film co-produced by Hampa Studio, with Sygnatia, Glow and Submarine.

This film is the maximum Spanish exponent of the argument that animation is not a genre but a technique. This is how they understood it at the Malaga Film Festival where it was nominated for best film, winning the critics’ award for best film, best first film and best music.

Official banner of the film “Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles”.

Brilliant animation

The animation of the film is exquisite and refined, nothing strange knowing that it has been directed by the great Manuel Galiana. From the beginning Manuel knew exactly what he wanted. “A very sober animation, with no fuss or useless movements”.

The animation, sometimes in “twos” (a drawing every two frames), “threes”, even “fours”, reduces the fluidity of the movements, moving away from the style of children’s animation and towards a style more typical of films for adult audiences. The effort of the animation is invested in achieving very powerful poses, expressions and good acting, which gives a lot of strength and life to the characters, reinforcing the story itself. This style of animation is the key for the spectator, from minute 1, to stop paying attention to the animation and focus on the wonderful story directed by Salvador Simó.

Thanks are due to Manuel Galiana for treating Spanish viewers as a culturally mature audience, capable of understanding the animation style and at the same time forgetting about it. This puts us on a par with French and Japanese cinemas. Impossible to achieve without the generosity and humility of Manuel, who clearly puts animation at the service of the story.

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Critical acclaim

We are very happy because the public and the national and international critics have not only understood this, but have been full of praise for the film and the animation. It has to be said that among the hundreds of good reviews there was one that defined the animation as “not very fluid” and “clumsy”. It amuses me to think that there must have been someone who thought that the animation of Spirited Away was not very fluid and that Sorolla‘s brushstrokes were rough, but we can’t ask everyone to know everything, can we?

We’re looking for a new 3D Team.

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We are looking for a new 3D team!

Hampa Studio

Good News!!

We are looking  for a new 3D team for  the 2nd season of Cry Babies/series 26×5’

What’s Cry Babies?

It’s a current and successful 3D animated series. It is an exclusive for Youtube, created by Hampa Studio SL for IMC Toys.

 Send your CV & Reel

If you’re interested in working with our team, please don’t forget to send us your CV & Reel. Click the link below from our Website.

https://hampastudio.com/contacta/

We looking for: 

IN HOUSE TEAM

Production assistant  · Script Writer · Story · Concept · Modeling · Generalist ·Layout · Animation · Lighting · Compo · VFX · SFX · Edition · TD

Important!!!

If you are interested you must detail your profile in the box: Job position…
… Please note that you need to be available for approximately one year (depending on the position).
Don’t forget to share this good news! We can do a great team all together!

The Premiere of Black is Beltza will be next October 5th!

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The Premiere of Black is Beltza will be next October 5th.!!

Black is Beltza will be released in cinemas next October 5th. This project directed by Fermín Muguruza is an adaptation of his own graphic novel. Set in 1965, during the parade of Pamplona’s giant’s troupe on New York’s Fifth Avenue, this film creates a story of action and espionage that combines music, love and revolution.

Black is Beltza is an animated film aimed at an adult audience. In a titanic 9 month production at Hampa Studio, we gave the best of our team for this challenging project!

We celebrate the next release! … see you there and we leave the trailer as an advance.

We celebrate the next release! … see you there and we leave the trailer as an advance.

Andreu, in Japan!!!

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Andreu, in Japan!!!


Our colleague Andreu has returned from his intriguing vacation in Japan …

Our colleague Joan Andreu Quiles I Rhodes has returned from his intriguing vacation in Japan …

And… the best (besides of the return to the work:)) … is that he brought gifts for all the team of Hampa Studio!!

He has brought us “Here I stay” for the books, but made with original photos of Studio Ghibli movies … It’s Great !!

Studio Ghibli is one of the most acclaimed animation studios in the world, and home to some of the most acclaimed and loved animated works that have appeared on the screen.

When referring to this Studio it is impossible not to recommend, to those who still do not know him, to see one of his most revered animation films in history, My Neighbor Totoro, written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

 

Thanks Andreu!!!!

 

Hampa Team 🙂

Cry Babies, Magic tears reaches 20 Million views!

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Cry Babies, Magic Tears reaches more than 20 Million views!

The new 3D series of Hampa Studio SL for IMC-Toys: Cry Babies, Magic Tears reaches more than 20 Million views on YouTube less than a month after its premiere!

On last July 18th, the series, Cry Babies, Magic Tears premiered internationally. This 3D animation series is aimed at an audience of 5 to 7 years old. It is a fantastic universe, in which tender characters live and invite us to discover a world full of adventures. These babies accompany, have fun and help overcome small difficulties through mutual support and teamwork.
Don’t miss it!

Only on YouTube:

Cry Babies, magic tears: https://www.youtube.com/user/imctoys2010/videos
Cry Babies, magic Tears: https://www.youtube.com/user/imctoysuk/videos

Is there sex discrimination in the animation world?

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Is there sexual discrimination in the animation sector?

I’ve been thinking about this issue for a long time. Is there sexual discrimination in the animation sector?

It’s a subject that raised quite a lot of controversy in a talk at 3D Wire 3 years ago, where they talked about the difficulty of incorporating young people into the world of work. Some women attending the talk, in their turn to speak, denounced the lack of female talent in animation studios and this led to the existing salary gap in the animation sector.

Brave, a Pixar film in which there is no love relationship and the main character runs away from being a princess. In fact, co-director Brenda Chapman had her ups and downs with Disney when the studio wanted to turn Brave into a little princess.

Is this a reality? Well, I’m sorry, I don’t have the answer. All I have is my experience with Hampa Studio, where there has never, ever, ever been wage discrimination based on gender, nationality, race, religion or age. By species there is discrimination. We have tried monkeys, but they did better than me and were fired immediately. (You’ll see, for this joke, I’ll get a lot of shit from the animalists).

Why is there no discrimination in Hampa Studio? Basically because of a question of morals and personal convictions. In addition to this, we at Hampa Studio, as a medium-sized studio, have our salaries stipulated for each position of junior, medium, senior, supervisor, director, Master Jedi and Master of the Universe, and the amount varies depending on the department and above all on the project. There is no “human person” (as Cañita Brava would say) reason to pay a woman less than a man for the same job.

Currently in the studio, just by eye (I’m not doing the maths, I’m lazy) we have the same number of women as men and, as far as I can see, more women are going to join the production department now.

We also have and have always had women in different managerial positions and positions of responsibility.

When we do recruiting we only look at experience, skills, talent and attitude, we don’t look at anything else. We don’t even look at qualifications. (If you are a minor and you are reading this, just kidding, we do look at qualifications…study!)

Moana. The film stars a woman with no princess aspirations and there is no sentimental relationship.

In order to contrast opinions and experiences, I have obtained the opinions of a few artists and producers who have wanted to get involved in this issue and I thank them for giving us different visions, although it must also be said that there have been great artists from very powerful international companies who have refused to give me their opinion. In the purest “Let’s not get involved in this…” style. – Rajoy style 😉

Talking to Nathalie Martinez of Wise Blue Studios, a producer with an international reputation, a long career in the film industry and an expert in stumbling on the Annecy stage, 😉 she comments – “…the existing inequality, in my humble view, is more due to a general trend of late access of women to eminently technical professions than to a will of the industry and its members…”.

She, like me, believes “…that ours is a sector with a creative spirit and, therefore, mostly open-minded, where a greater female presence is not only welcome but expected and demanded”.

Lorena Ares, a great animation director with more than 13 years of experience, agrees: “I haven’t particularly suffered from discrimination. I suffered more when I dealt with builders who thought I was the girlfriend of one of my partners, or they told me I had to wear my hair well groomed and dress in a skirt suit instead of trousers. In animation I was always treated like a human being with ears, not tits”.

Along the same lines, but more forceful, is Belli Ramírez, from Mr Cohl, the producer with more animation productions behind her: “From my work experience, I don’t think there is wage inequality. Jobs are remunerated by experience, not by gender. But I insist, this is my experience, I haven’t seen it in our sector, but in most sectors there IS, we can consider ourselves lucky. It should be noted that there are other types of inequality, such as the fact that we are often invisible and they prefer to choose men for positions of responsibility. ”

She also agrees with Nathalie that there are no women in management and supervisory positions due to their late incorporation into the sector or into these types of positions. 

Ink & Paint, in the past, was the only job that women could access.

But no, not everything is rosy. Elena Gobernado, the sector’s most important script editor, does not mince her words and is much more blunt: “Yes, there is discrimination, not so much because of being an animator but because of the obstacles and social prejudices of Spanish culture. Management and positions of responsibility are usually occupied by men who prefer complicit colleagues to experience and talent. I must say that this is changing, or maybe it’s because I already have a CV to back me up. On the other hand, investors are usually men and for some strange reason they prefer to entrust their money to other men…”.

Elena’s point of view, and one I agree with from things I have heard, is that a woman’s salary has always been treated as a household supplement, not a livelihood. In fact, she recounts a situation that highlights this reality:

“I asked for a pay rise (the reasons I won’t even discuss, to this day I don’t even know how I kept up the pace). He didn’t answer me. He asked me what my partner did for a living. I told him that he was an engineer. He replied that I was covered. He told me to wait a bit, that there were people who needed that raise more than me. No comment. I left”.

Belli adds that “…at conferences and round tables, men are almost always invited exclusively. In few animation conferences do you see as many men as women. I think that women continue to have less visibility and those who organise the talks don’t spend time looking for them. One year, at Animayo, we were only women, but this should not be an isolated case and we should find people of both sexes at the conferences”.

…This phenomenon, rather than gender inequality, referred to the education that had been received until then, as there was a mentality that a woman had more sensitivity, precision and delicacy when colouring drawings. The woman had more patience or was more organised than a man,” says Ignacio Meneu, a real animation dinosaur (in experience, not in mentality or age…, because as big as he is, he catches me and bursts me!) And he continues… “Luckily this mentality is changing and nowadays I think that in animation there is no inequality between men and women. But as I said, that old mentality or education is changing, I mean it still hasn’t changed enough and we are still surprised or make news when an animator is a woman or a developer for videogames or simply directs animation”. This statement fits in perfectly with Belli’s appeal to all women: “Women, you have to be more active, in general, encourage yourselves to study more technical positions. It would be great to see more women on the technical side, in CTO positions, technical management, networks and systems, etc…“.

Mulan, a woman who becomes a warrior and although she finally has a romantic relationship, the roles are changed.

On an optimistic note, Nathalie, Lorena and Ignacio point out that, in one way or another, we are seeing more and more women occupying important positions throughout the audiovisual pyramid and they are highly valued. A statement with which I totally agree.

Elena, as a good creator, gives us some indications as to how we creators can help this change: “I think that, as generators of content that reaches millions of people and especially children, we have a major social responsibility. It is in our hands to take on the commitment to create content without harmful gender stereotypes (unless they are mercilessly parodied), with well distributed roles and dialogues that exclude phrases like ‘you cry like a girl’. The message we send out can contribute to improving girls’ and women’s rights in the world, or at least to reflection. This is how it should be. As Flavita Banana says, they don’t want us at their feet, they want us at their height.

Let’s grow up!”.

… and finally Elena invites us to test our content with the Bechdel test, analysing whether our productions meet these three requirements to overcome the gender gap:

At least two female characters appear.

These characters talk to each other at some point.

This conversation is about something other than a man (not limited to romantic relationships, e.g. two sisters talking about their father does not pass the test).

A variant requires that, in addition, the two women are named characters.

Look what film passes the test!!! Frozen, written and co-directed by Jennifer Lee.

Holy cow!!! I’m telling you, it’s been hard for me and some of our productions (I say some, if not almost all) don’t pass this test, so we have to improve… and a lot!

Look!, what movie passes the test !! Frozen written and co-directed by Jennifer Lee.

I know that women face many obstacles at the professional level (especially 100m hurdlers), but it seems that this is changing, although there is still a long, long way to go. Together, we can do it! Lots of strength!

Final note: As all the above are just opinions and not categorical statements, we leave the comments of this post open, without any kind of censorship, so that you can comment, debate and share anything you want, as long as you don’t get us into trouble (we know each other), accusing someone, insulting and those things that are so “cool” on social networks ;).

Big shits in the world of Animation vol.I

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Hello, people! Here we are again. This time I’m going to talk about the biggest fuck-ups in the world of animation vol. I. And not to be less, we’ll start with us, HAMPA STUDIO, because I’m a member of the famous and private Brownderberg Club (for those of you who don’t know what it is, you can check this post where I explain it), and also to give an example to the other members, to see if they’ll tell theirs. This section is going to be a real laugh, I tell you!

Biggest screw-ups in the world of animation vol.I

LET’S START FROM THE BEGINNING

I go back to the year 2011/2012. At Hampa Studio we were discouraged and tired of trying to get funding and co-productions for our series “Laika” and not succeeding. The reality is that we weren’t doing well and now, looking back, I realise that I’ve seen more realistic role-playing games than that financial plan. But back then we thought there was a conspiratorial plan against us, a black hand. Come on, typical dumb-as-ever behaviour!

Grandes cagadas en el mundo de la Animación Hampa Studio Tonto-pa-siempre

Representative image of a fool-for-ever.

 

So we came up with the brilliant idea of making a series by skipping all the orthodox channels of fundraising and co-production, we were going to show the animation world that it was wrong and that we knew how to do things… This is promising, eh?

OUR PLAN…

  1. Conceive a super-mega-mega-hyper-low-cost TV series that is beautiful, good, nice and cheap.
  2. Look for private investment, we don’t need TV stations and co-productions! Olé!
  3. Lock ourselves in the studio with sleeping bags and have the series in a year.
  4. Give it a lot of visual quality, so that you don’t notice that there is misery!
  5. Once the series is finished, start selling at a bargain price, with little investment and a lot of profit!
  6. With this money we can self-finance the following less low-cost projects and thus gradually make money and in the end have enough money to make a feature film, like the big American studios do. And with the profits from the first film, continue making more films. Pixar, get out of the way, the smart guys from Hampa Studio are coming!
Grandes cagadas en el mundo de la Animación John Lasseter Pixar se rie Hampa Studio

At that moment Pixar found out about our plan.

…AND WE SET OFF

  1. Low cost series idea. If there’s something we have plenty of at Hampa Studio, it’s ideas (I won’t go into whether they’re good or bad…, I can see you coming!) and the desire to tell stories. In 1 month we had the series perfectly structured and conceived. It was going to be called The Shadownster. (Done!).
  2. Private investment. We found a private investor who, although he came from another investment world, found the animation sector attractive. (Done!).
  3. To have the series in 1 year. We formed a very cool team and started working very hard. People were super motivated and our producers had a seven-pronged whip. Everything was on schedule! (Done!).
  4. Visual quality. For the series we did not deprive ourselves of anything, beautiful animation, bestial lightning, Fur (hair), Cloth (clothes), Fluids, Fx… Hey, everything, so that nothing is missing here! (Done!).

Everything was going great, and I already looked like Uncle Scrooge McDuck!

Grandes cagadas en el mundo de la Animación Tio Gilito descendiendo Hampa Studio

Scrooge McDuck giving it his all.

 

… NOW REALITY COMES ALONG AND GIVES YOU A HULK HOGAN-LIKE FLYING PAW

The private investor did not know our sector and suspended the financing. (For the ESO students; we ran out of money!).

The worst thing was to have passed the halfway point of production, then a thousand doubts arose: do we continue even if we have no money or do we stop production, everyone goes home and we resume it at another time?

If we continued, we ran the risk of getting a huge crash, although on the other hand, if it worked, we could make a success of it.

If we stopped the production, we didn’t run any risk, but the most likely thing was that the production would never be resumed and would remain in a drawer forever and ever, like my mother’s tupperware.

 

HERE BEGINS THE SUCCESSION OF EPIC SCREW-UPS…

Screw-up #1 – Faced with the problem of running out of money we had a general meeting with all the people in the studio to tell them about the situation and we asked them if we would continue for 4 more months, which is what was left to finish, or if we would close the production. They were told that if we continued we would not be able to pay for these four months and they would be paid later with money we expected to receive in 5 or 6 months (We were too optimistic. We didn’t count on the fact that coming from the administration, it could take like… 1 year?) The team decided to go ahead, one of the greatest gestures of generosity I have ever seen. We finally finished the production and on schedule.

Screw-up #2 – If there was no money to pay the people, there was no money for Montoro (for the ESO students; I mean taxes), social security and loans from our friends the banks. But as we are like that, we didn’t care, in 5 months everything would have been solved, everybody would have been paid and we would have a lot of money and we could even start our new series (thought the milkmaid on the way to the village).

Screw-up #3 – The series didn’t sell, why? Well, it’s very easy, as we were doing the series alone, without co-production and without any television as a partner, we were totally isolated. TV stations either broadcast their own co-productions and thus get a return on their investments or they buy other people’s series, but they have to be really powerful and/or with a long run. Of course the assholes at Hampa Studio were not in either case.

 

… THE SHIT BALL STARTS ROLLING

After these 3 screw-ups of note, it was only a matter of time.

Grandes cagadas en el mundo de la Animación Indi intentando esquivar la bola de mierda de Hampa Studio

The big ball of crap in actionThe money to pay the team never came. The IRS, social security, banks and creditors harassed us on a daily basis. (If you’ve never thought it was a good idea to drink baileys and coke when you wake up, you’ve never known the true meaning of “harassment”). We sold personal belongings to pay the taxman; we melted our families’ savings to pay the social security and the banks; week in and week out, meeting with the labour inspectorate to explain why people had not been paid for 4 months; and to top it all off, the expected sales were still not coming in.

We needed to make animation services urgently to be able to face a total and imminent seizure by the tax authorities, but the biggest joke was that having spent a year behind closed doors making the series, we no longer had any clients! We had nothing!

Total ruin (personal and professional). It was all about problems, lawsuits, lawyers, threats, notaries, inspections, people cursing me (and rightly so), and the odd court case. All this without a euro in my pocket and the little money I had, I spent on Almax.

THE DENOUEMENT

As I’m such a tiresome person, I kept on working non-stop, looking for clients, looking for a new distributor for the series, etc. I refused to let Hampa Studio die.

With a lot of effort, during two hard years I was getting new clients, doing everything. We became the whores of Spanish animation, and I would say that also European (with all due respect to the ladies whores/men whores, for the sake of equality), and in this way I was solving all the problems that came every day.

Suddenly, one day, I don’t know why, but when we least expected it, the series The Shadownsters was a “success” and several possible clients started to be interested in it: Disney, Cartoon network, Nickelodeon…etc. The series began to sell: Finland, Arab countries, North Africa, Portugal, China, Hong Kong, Israel… And then came the super news, the all powerful HBO loved the series and bought it. We were saved! Although we have not yet recovered the money invested in the series, we are now in a good situation.

CONCLUSIONS…

  • I will never again skip the normal channels of looking for funding, it’s a pain in the ass, I know, because it can take me years to raise the funding, and if I get tired of it, I will dedicate myself to socio-cultural animation (with the utmost respect for socio-cultural animators).
  • I will always look for co-production, if possible with TV stations, to ensure the broadcasting from the beginning.
  • I will use public aid for production, that’s what it’s for, I will NEVER mortgage my life 3 times for a project.
  • I will NEVER involve part of the team in my own screw-up. It’s not their fault.
  • I will never again start any production without having at least 70% of the financing closed.
  • And this, by way of advice, without you asking me for it: Be persistent, it can take many, many years to get a production off the ground, but if the project is cool and you’re getting good feedback, be patient, because it will come in the end.

I hope our screw-ups are of some use to you and don’t even think of emulating them because in that case “…I’ll come back and kill you all, you sons of bitches“. – Clean Eastwood – Unforgiven.

…AND THE FINAL MORAL (Get lost, you big bore!)

Faced with such a succession of huge screw-ups, the normal thing was to have died. We were saved by the support of our families and friends, and of course by the beastly effort we made, but above all by the infinite generosity of the series team.

The most important thing when something like this happens to you, since you’ve screwed-up, instead of regretting it, it’s better to open your eyes and learn from everything that happens to you and why it happens to you.

Right now we are working on our new series, called COLORICS, with a normal budget, nothing crazy low-cost.

We started with a teaser (a couple of years ago). With this teaser we got money to make a pilot (less than a year ago), with this pilot we have started the search for funding in a normal and orthodox way. In fact, after trying last year and not succeeding, we have improved the project and this year we have already secured TVE (Spanish Television) as co-producers, the new Valencian Television has also entered into co-production and we have obtained a public aid from the IVAC (Valencian Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts) for production.  We are also negotiating with other European countries to finalise the financing and shortly with Latin American countries. At the rate everything is going we hope to close the financing this year and start production in 2018.

CHIN PUN! and so far, Great screw-ups in the world of animation vol. I (I hope to bring you more volumes, but this time we’ll tell the miseries of others!)

This post is in honour of the members of The Shadownsters team for their enormous generosity:
– Diana Rodriguez, Marcos Muñoz, Deneb Sabater, Manuel Gonzalez, Fabio Carmona, Gabriele Ranfagni, Merj Nesi, Antonio Alvarez, Hector Barea, Rafel Bernabeu, Alex Nikitin, Javier Perez, Ramón Giner, Marta R.Sobrecueva, Manuel Sanchez, Monica Rios, Cristina Hernandez, Irene Llopis –
Grandes cagadas en el mundo de la animación vol.I Grandes cagadas en el mundo de la animación vol.I Grandes cagadas en el mundo de la animación vol.I Grandes cagadas en el mundo de la animación vol.I Grandes cagadas en el mundo de la animación vol.I Grandes cagadas en el mundo de la animación vol.I Grandes cagadas en el mundo de la animación vol.I Grandes cagadas en el mundo de la animación vol.I Grandes cagadas en el mundo de la animación vol.I
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Brownderberg private club

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Brownderberg Private Club.

Hello again, people! I’m going to tell you about the Brownderberg private club.

We start the year with a new post. Not to wish you good projects or anything like that, this post is about Failure.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly get hives in my perineum when I listen to talks by animation professionals who only talk about their success (envy?, full stop!). Besides, these talks are a real danger, because you come out of them all grown up and wanting to eat the world, until you go back to the studio and you have to finish an animation for “Mattresses Bubblehead, if you see our prices you’ll drop dead”. At that moment you’re so down that you forget to put on the mattress the Spongebob’s mouth  that the client wants.

That’s why, in the last 3D Wire, a small group of irreducible pOfessionals (without “r”) created a private club called Brownderberg private club (please allow me to omit the name of the other 12 founders, because it’s not right to name them without their permission, because of “Private” and stuff).

At the risk of being kicked out of the club, (because the first rule of the Brownderberg club is: “don’t talk about the club”), this club has been made to tell each other and share those big fuck-ups and shitty things that we studios/producers and freelancers do, and that we always try to hide.

Brownderberg Private Club Hampa Studio Animación, Fracaso, Exito

Here we meet, secretly, every year, to tell all our miseries, in hushed tones

 

THE “WHY” OF THE BROWNDERBERG PRIVATE CLUB

We learn much more from failures than from successes (which tend to be more of a stroke of luck than anything else).Besides that, if we have to learn anything it is to de-stigmatise failure, because without failure there is no success, and you have to step on a lot of dung before you get even close to success, and let’s face it, being told about big flops is even more laughable.

I’ll try to convince the members of the Brownderberg club, to leak some of their most regrettable fuck-ups and/or works to the Hampa Studio blog. I’m sure you’ll laugh your heads off.

In the next post, and as an example to the rest of the members, we will start with ourselves. I’m going to tell one of our epic fuck-ups, which will surely make Hampa Studio one of the honorary gold and diamond badge members of the Brownderberg private club.

Stay tuned!

Alex Cervantes / Ceo – Director / Hampa Studio[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Why is our name Hampa Studio?

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WHY IS OUR NAME HAMPA STUDIO?

 The other day somebody asked us on Twitter “Why do we call ourselves Hampa Studio?” It wasn’t like a good idea to have a name like Hampa Studio, for a Valencian studio, and to tell the truth, he was right, with all the corruption and the semi mafia-like state in which we have been living in Valencia.

No, do not exalt yourselves !! I know you … We are not going to talk about politics, to outrage you already have Facebook! I’m going to take this tweet to tell you why we call ourselves Hampa Studio? since many people ask us. (… mmm at least … one or none).

 Why is our name Hampa Studio?Daniel, ours is a pure unconsciousness, we devote ourselves to the animation… in Spain!

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Found a study?, No balls!!!

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Found a study? No balls!!!

Hello people… Here we are again. After the last and provocative article addressed to the new generations ;), I upload now this post (with a typical war cry) to encourage all those of you who want to start an animation studio… There are no eggs/ovaries!!!

Important Note: I’m going to speak from the experience of setting up a studio without help and without any kind of initial investment. Here, you are not going to find magic formulas to make your studio project work, they are just some behaviours that have worked for us and that we have learned the hard way! What you are going to read below are not Hampa Studio’s rules by fire, they are some things that we have implemented, others that we have wanted to do and sometimes we have not been able to. But all studios, medium and small (as we are the vast majority), should always keep them in mind. 😉

WHY DID I WANT TO SET UP A STUDIO?

I don’t have a business background, or even the vocation of Amancio Ortega, I’m an artist in the most artisan and humble sense of the word, not like Pantoja (although we have sideburns in common). I just like to draw and tell stories, and as I couldn’t find anyone so crazy as to hire me to do my own projects with their money, I set up my own studio.

FIRST OF ALL… LEARN!

The best thing to do is to start working in studios. Start in a very small one to live the passion and the illusion very closely, besides, you’ll have to do everything, since in small studios that’s the most common thing to do. Then, if you can and if you make the effort, move on to a big studio to learn processes, organisation and management. All this learning will help you when you set up your own studio. Copy the best from some and avoid the bad practices of others.

 

https://vimeo.com/126508499

*This is BlueDream Studios, one of the biggest studios in Spain and where things are super well done.

Hampa Studio: I wanted to learn everything so badly that I worked for free in a studio for almost a year. Then I was in another one where I got paid something, but without any kind of insurance or anything, “what for?”Later I went to one where I did get paid, and finally I saw something that looked like a contract or something similar, but nooo!…almost! It was my self-employed papers.  In another one, the fundamental requirement was that I had to bring my own computer from home (and it wasn’t usual to see laptops, so you can imagine the laugh).With all this shit, after going through those working conditions, I learned what NOT to do if I ever had workers, but I also learned some very positive things…, like that there is a bar in Plaza de España that makes great sandwiches, and hey! for only 3 euros!

HOW TO START A STUDIO WITHOUT A SINGLE EURO.

The logical and normal order is: first have your own or clients’ projects. Then, after a while, if you see that the work is more or less solid, set up the studio, never the other way around. This plan of getting machines, a place and waiting for John Lasseter to come in the door, “all sweaty” with a briefcase and shouting “I’m desperate! Can you make Toy Story 4?”, …mmmm…it doesn’t usually happen.

THE FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT RULE

The company is NOT you, the company is yours, yes…just like your child is yours, but it is not you. The company’s money is NOT yours. You are paid by the company, but the money belongs to the company, and just because you need a Playstation does not mean that the company needs a Playstation. Please be very strict with this rule. It is very likely that at some point there will be many families who depend on the company’s money, do not waste or squander it, in fact, it is a corporate crime that is punishable by imprisonment!

ALONE YOU GO FASTER, BUT WITH SOMEONE ELSE YOU GO FURTHER.

Look for someone to accompany you in your successes and your hardships, but when you look for a partner, make sure that they have the same passion as you, the same dedication and the same enthusiasm, that is to say, a passionate person in every sense of the word. If you don’t share the same enthusiasm, the partnership will be short-lived and you will end up in a slanging match.

Hampa Studio: Javi and I met in Arts and Crafts and decided to set up Hampa Studio (first called Lex Lutor, until many years later we were sued by DC comics from New York, for using the name of his character. I’ll tell you about that in another post. I shit my pants a lot, but you guys are going to laugh! hahaha, you’re such bastards). Well, it all started in my room, in my parents’ house, when I was 20 years old. Our office was the same place where I used to sleep, imagine how it smelled… it smelled like compulsive adolescence. We started doing some advertising work and when a more or less big project finally came in, and with my mother fed up with the two kids locked in the room (I think I even thought we were a couple, she knocked on the door before coming in, that’s all I can say!), we looked for a flat and moved to Cuba Street in Valencia. It looked like the horrible flat in the film “Big” where Tom Hanks cries his eyes out, but it was our first office.

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This was the front part of the studio, let’s say the poshest part, where we entered the clients to make ourselves look good. Some clients came out of the back of the studio who we never heard from again, one of them were the people from “Cacao Maravillao”.

DON’T THINK ABOUT MONEY

When you have your first projects/assignments, don’t think about the money (just enough for drugs and alcohol). Think about the quality of everything you do, always, and even more so with your first clients/projects, because they will be your reel and the studio’s letter of introduction. Don’t worry, don’t be in a hurry, if you do things well, the money will come.

BUDGETS

Forget about the big bucks. Coming from someone from Valencia it’s strange, I know! But that’s how it is… well, maybe you’ll get it just like that!… but it’s not normal. When you make a budget, try to be as fair and honest as you can, count your development, indirect and infrastructure costs and add between 19-21% of industrial profit. If it’s a strategic client and you’re interested in taking it on and it’s not in the budget, reduce your profit, never salaries or other infrastructure costs.

When you are starting out, re-invest ALL profits between: A small cushion to get you through the dry months, purchase of computers, furniture, or whatever you may need.

It is very important not to throw away prices, out of pure comradeship towards other studios and to always maintain decent salaries.

Hampa Studio: We at Hampa invest all our money in our own projects. We spend a year doing publicity services, for other films, series or whatever, and then, a year later, we develop our own projects. The following year, while we reap the fruits of the project, we go back to doing animation services to re-capitalise ourselves and invest again the following year… and so on until one of our projects becomes a SpongeBob SquarePants.

TAXES

First of all, get an accountant, otherwise you’re going to make a mess!

One thing you need to know is that if you are going to have a small or medium-sized business (SME) you are going to be “fed up” with paying taxes, that’s for sure! Don’t invent tricks to pay less. SMEs and freelancers are the most punished by taxes, even more than large companies, that’s the way things are! Get over it or go out and burn containers!!!…but don’t be a crybaby!!!!!

montoro_hampa_studio_MONTARSE UN ESTUDIO?Look at Montoro laughing his head off! He’s just been told that there’s another sucker who has set up a studio thinking he’s going to get rich.

Hampa Studio:The first time I saw the taxes we had to pay, I said to Paco Ramos (the first manager we had): “Paco, we have to pay a lot of taxes, isn’t there a way to not pay so much?”, to which Paco answered me, with that wisdom and calmness he has: “Alex, a company is to earn money and pay taxes. Don’t bust my balls!!!”.  That was the end of the conversation, and I burned it into my heart!

NEW TEAM MEMBERS.

If you work hard, the day may come when you and your partner can’t cope with the work any more and you’ve used up all the annual nationwide redbull shipment, so it’s time to hire someone.

Be careful, with the first person you hire, you will be inexorably approaching that fine line of going from being a nice entrepreneur to becoming a shitty businessman.

RECRUITING

Normally, in big studios they have a human resources department with very smart people who do their job, but in small and medium-sized studios we have to do it ourselves, together with someone from production, in the best of cases.

It’s very important to be cautious with personnel selection, because if you choose the wrong person, you’re not doing that person any favours, as not achieving the objectives will lead to frustration. And you won’t be doing yourself a favour either because you won’t achieve the results you need.

Therefore, no matter how tight the deadlines are, take your time for selection, it is very important. Steve jobs used to say “take your time to hire and fire quickly” (the first one is cool, apply it, but what a bastard with the second one, right?)

And as a last recommendation, use the proper animation search channels, otherwise you are going to waste time and effort receiving CVs of all kinds.

Hampa Studio: Many years ago, when there were no websites specialised in animation or forums, or facebook groups, etc…, in Hampa Studio we were looking for people to hire and we placed an ad in Infojobs (awesome!): “We are looking for Flash animator, with knowledge of Illustrator”, and a guy wrote us saying that he had been an animator for 15 years and that, although he didn’t know much about Flash and Illustrator, he had no problem with bachata, mambo and tango.

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This is what any mortal in Spain thinks when you say you are looking for people for animation. (Watch out for the one with the wig, he’s giving it his all!)

Hampa Studio: Apart from using facebook, twitter and some websites (like https://www.animatedjobs.com/) or animation forums…, to post your job offer, what we usually do is to ask for references to other studios, and it’s very common that they ask us for them too. Of course it’s the best way to find the profile you need.

HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT

Now, something important thing about this topic! I would say that it is the most important part.  Remember! we don`t do make cars, or screws, or anything like that, we are in an intangible industry, therefore, our human team is who makes possible the work and is the only important in the study.

A study is what the artists are!,  take care all those as good as you can, like they are your own family  members (not in the style of Los Pajares, nor of Los Sánchez Vicario, I mean, try to be good with them!!)

STUDY RULES

Our profession is artistic, therefore I do not recommend rigidity in the schedules or in the working days, and the less rules is better. You have to be very flexible and understanding,  with the team leaving a lot of freedom to talk and be have fun (always making it very clear that anybody can not neglect work, the people know limits). We are not machines, we need the creativity, the good vibes and the predisposition of all.

Hampa Studio: In Hampa Studio, depending on the project, we put some conditions or others. When they are short services or our own projects we set objectives if they finish before they get home, if we see that the artists arrive very hurried with the times in a recurrent way, we review the plan with production because it is very likely that the problem comes from the planning.

SCHEDULES

Don’t impose on a standard schedule, like there are the 10 commandments, keep an open mind and adapt it to each project. Even you can talk to the workers and ask them what they think.

Hampa Studio: At this moment in Hampa, we do a working day from 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., and with an absolute flexibility of inputs and outputs, (except when there are a deadline or something important), in this way we can all enjoy what it calls family conciliation. Currently, we are testing work  32 hours a week, that is, we work from Monday to Thursday (if it is true that the jobs are still on Skype from home and work if necessary). I’ll tell you how this is experience is going! 😉

OVERTIME WORK

Nobody should do the overtime work! only on a specific case, when the people are staying work time to take out the projects, you have to keep in mind that they are being generous with their free time, because they can dedicate it to their families, to themselves, their pets or their beer barrels,  and they left all these things for the project. You must correspond to them, at least, in the same way, and without waiting for them, … and also pay for the pizzas, do not be miserly! This compensation can be in many forms. (no man!, no sex!).

Hampa Studio: In the Studio, many times, due to budgets, we can not count on contingency expenses and there is no budget for extra hours, what’s more, the first thing we say to people is that we do not want them to do extra hours (unless it is force majeure), so when people do more hours is  because it has been a complication from production, thus, as we can not pay the overtime, we calculate them like free time adding a little more than they have done.

day_night_hampa_studio_MONTARSE UN ESTUDIO?                           Yes ….yes…I know!! … this image is a little weird to illustrate the subject of extra hours, but Pixar’s Day & Night is nice at least!

SALARIES AND CONTRACTS

Do not be stingy by the money, stretches the wages more than you can, always than the budget and the profit forecasting allows you.

The manager already will tell it to you, but prepare yourself to pay social safety(security)  at the tip shovel, for a thousand – eurista salary you are going to pay 500 € more, of National Health Service, it is to say to the study it is going to cost 1.500 € and this way proportionally), in other countries this expense is not so a beast and because of it seems that they pay better because they can give more to the worker and less to the condition(state).

Never think, on doing strange things with contracts !!!, like for example; freelancers working in the studio or  making contracts an internship to pay 2 cents of social security or to bring Chineses and put them inside a container in the port (saying like that, it is not so wrong…they could have their water bottle and look the sea of pleasure…).

Always, make normal contracts and agreements with the worker the salary, that is more or less money is something already among you, but always legal and fair contract. We want to do industry and we have not done studies on the shoulders of workers, the industry we do among all.

Hampa Studio:  In Hampa everytime we budget a service or a project, we have a meet with the supervisors and production and we try to raise, the salaries first. Sometimes we do not enter into the budget … well… We almost never enter into a budget when we put good wages, so sometimes the client or the producer obliges us to go down the wages, but we always set a decent limit. Come on, we always try to raise wages, sometimes we can and sometimes we can not do it, but it’s not because we do not want to!

The Hampa’s chiefs never have a wage better than the salaries of the moment, be a senior, a supervisor or a department director, if we increase our salaries we increase those of all.

About the wages concept, I Want to do a personal reflection at this time: It is spoken that in Spain, in the sector of the animation, the wages are low, but I do see it in another way. I believe that salaries are charged in other countries such as France and the United States for example, they are lower in comparison, if we add the price of life and the benefits that the studies receive.  To put it another way, a standard film made in Spain with a price of € 1500 – € 2,500 – € 3,500 approx, with a price of 8-15-20 million and obtaining a return of 6-10 million euros (as exaggeration !, if  remove the money that the distributors take out, etc.), we are paying the best salaries for the benefit and the risk that it has to produce in Spain, that a movie in the United States with a profit of 600 million and with a presumption of 100, paying 7,000 – 9,000 euros a month to their workers.

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Here, I give you an example of Dreamworks where you can see the movies they have done, with the budgets they allocate and the benefits they get https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreamworks_Animation. I think that in some movies on this list, even paying a junior 10,000 turkeys a month would be paying less in proportion to what is paid in Spain, (seeing the difference between benefit they get for what they invest). But hey, this is a very personal reflection, and this is another issue !! .. that everyone will surely want to comment !, but from here I take the opportunity to say that all Spanish producers, (Illion, Lightbox, Bluedreams, Thinklab, Kandor, Conflictivos Productions, Keytoon, Clay Animation,3D3, Paso Zebra..etc..etc..) They, who encourage to produce are heroes and would deserve statues like the fucking Colossus of Rhodes.

LEAD YOUR STUDY

To have a study and especially if it is not a very big one, the people have to believe in your project and have to believe in you. Being a leader does not impose with squeals or fights or threats (good! Pablo Escobar if you could!, Fuck is that you spin fine). Being a good Leader is achieved by winning the respect of the people. (I talk a lot here but I still have not gotten it! Here they teasing me yet:)

You have to know how to listen, accept opinions and ideas for any member of the team.

You have to be sure about your way, you can not doubt and you have to have your ideas very clear. All these things will help you to win security and confidence in your team.

It is necessary to give the example, you have to be the first to arrive and the latest go away from the study and never ask something to anybody that cannot do.

PLANNING AND PRODUCTION

It is the least pleasant and most evil part of the animation. We must be very careful when planning work, we have not to overload the team or waste time. It is very difficult to make a good production plan without cracks.

I highly recommend is to get in touch with authentic production professionals to help you assemble your plan. I recommend to Mr. Cohl they are the best! if you can not doubt it! (Take subliminal Publicity, with this already done the month!).

Hampa Studio:  What we do in Hampa Studio, we not only  hiring to Mr Cohl, 😉 we meet all the team that is going to get involved in a project and together we calculate the times, we ask the artists how long it will take to do this and the other. It is very important to involve everyone, since they will be the ones who will do it. (This is another advantage of small and medium-sized studies). Evidently in large studies (from 80 people onwards) it is impossible to do this and the responsibility of deciding the times of realization falls on the directors and supervisors of departments together with the producers.

DISTRIBUTION TASK

Try to know well to your team,  with their strengths and weaknesses, do not load all the work to those who stand out or burn them.  Be joust with task distribution of work and also bet for those who don’t stand out, although it takes you more supervision work and retakes, everyone deserves help and all the training you can give them, it is better for the studio in the future too.

DEADLINES

However much you have a  good plan, sometimes the deadlines could not be done at the original time (calculation errors, inexperience, technical problems, diarrhea … etc). Be positive and look for solutions. The animation is a team effort, if everything goes well it is thanks to everyone and if it goes wrong, the mistake is of all includes and especially you, therefore do not go mad or dismissing people like Jonah Jameson.

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COMMUNICATION

Take advantage that you have a small or medium studio, do not put limits or firewalls between people and you. All the people have to be confident to enter in your office to talk with you, tell their topics in your face 🙂

The communication between the latest member and the higher have to be direct and clear. This will avoid bad understandings and suspicion.

Hampa Studio: In Hampa Studio everyone can come and tell me what they want, I accept all kinds of criticism, it helps me to improve the study and as a person. In addition every morning we make a daily,  we see the team progress and at these moment the people can speak with total frankness about any topic.

If you do not know how to do this, I recommend that you hire a coaching specialist, I suggest one of the best national and almost international say, Rubén Turienzo, he will help a lot to create good communication and good work. Very  Important in our sector!

EXTERNAL COMMUNICATION

Say to everybody that you exist, make a web, twitter, facebook..etc and write a polemic blog!

RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SECTOR

Get it through your head!!!… It is better to collaborate than to compete.

In this sector, and especially in Spain all the studios we know and we get along generally, the odd stabbing with a handful of Col-erase, but it does not happen of there. In general, you have to play clean, do not steal people from other studios, clients, or slander (it’s hard to maintain a small/medium-sized studio so that you can be prejudiced by colleagues).

If there is a business path, a subsidy, distribution, customers … that has gone well for you. Do not keep it, share the information with other studies if they ask you. The better we go to all the best for the sector. Collaboration YES, Competition NO.

MARKETS AND FESTIVALS

Go whenever you can to all the festivals, markets and animation shows, it’s a good opportunity to murder canapés and since you are there you can do networking with workers, studios, schools, distributors, channels, software people (that, I do not know … but these poor people are always the ones who are in the corner and nobody talks to them;).), you can even meet the people of the organization … etc. It is also a good time to see if all the policies mentioned above are working.

If you enter a party with old workers and other studies and they don’t beat you up is that you are doing things well and you have not dedicated to fuck anyone, which is really the most important of all!

I highly recommend 3Dwire, it is a good meeting point with the whole sector, besides being the best festival at a national level, they are very good people and if you hit a Segovian breakfast, then for what else?

PRODUCE IN SPAIN

Try as much as possible to do everything in Spain, you will have fewer benefits, that’s for sure !, but if we want to create industry we have to push together, and it is our responsibility to retain national talent.

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AND AS A FINAL REFLECTION …

Be very ambitious but do not be hurry, The things happen when they must be, as long as you are working hard, treat everyone very well and give maximum quality. You have to be careful if The Big Wave (the Great Wave) comes, but if you lose it, nothing happens, do not sink, always come more.

Hampa Studio:  A few years ago, Manuel Cristobal asked us for a quote to make the “Wrinkles” movie by Paco Roca, we were super excited but in the end he did chromosome. We felt blue to not be able to do the project, it was hard because we thought we lost our chance. When I look back, I realize that we did not do it because it did not touch us, we were not prepared,… Right now, years later and also thanks to Manuel, we are co-producing along with Dream Team, Moonbite and Lady Bug the next movie by Paco Roca, “Memories of a man in pajamas”. If you work hard and when you fall you get up and continue surfing … there is always another great opportunity.

 

Alex Cervantes / Ceo -Director / Hampa Studio[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]