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Martin Scalzotto: A Global Animation Career Across 4 Continents

by | Feb 21, 2024

Martin Scalzotto

Sony Pictures Imageworks Senior Animator Martin Scalzotto shares his global animation story – from starting as a Multimedia Designer in Argentina to attending Animation Mentor and then animating commercials, TV shows, and films in Indonesia, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Canada!

Animating Around the World

Animation Mentor: Tell us about your animation journey. How did you get to where you are today?

Martin: I fell in love with 3D animation after watching Toy Story at the theater. I remembered coming out from that screening, and telling my mom that one day I would love to work on movies like that (at that moment, I didn’t even know what animation was). When I grew up a bit more, I wanted to study animation, but I couldn’t find a place to study in my country, and that was affordable. So I started off as a Multimedia Designer. I had to adapt and learn the closest thing I could find to animation. Multimedia design uses a mix of many platforms and requires knowledge about different areas, and one of them was animation. There, I learned the basics of 3D and animation.

The journey wasn’t easy, I didn’t want to give up on my dream of becoming an animator, but I had to work on many different things before that. I worked as designer, video editing, and creating websites until I could land a really small project, a movie, that we made with just passion and love, without having a lot of knowledge about how to make a movie.

From there I moved to work as a rigger and character technical director. I spent three years working on that, but in every single spare moment I had, I was reading animation books, doing animation tests, and trying to find ways to improve my skills. Little by little I started to save money on the side, hoping to pay for Animation Mentor and have a true education in the field. I was blessed by my godfather and dad, that they helped me out to support my education. And thanks to them, I could start at Animation Mentor and jump in the industry.

My first international job was a movie in Indonesia, so that was where the journey began. After that experience, I moved to Europe, where I spent around five years, between France, UK and Spain, working in tv series and movies. In my spare time, I did some freelance work, some commercials and also started to teach. Also, always eager to learn, I kept on doing online classes, including Animation Mentor’s Animal and Creature Workshop.

Martin Scalzotto

In 2017, I arrived in Canada, where I live at the moment, and I got blessed by working in many different companies and projects, surrounded by extremely talented, wonderful and humble people, from whom I learned a lot, not only about animation, but also about life itself.

Animation Career Highlights

Animation Mentor: Can you give us a deep dive into what it was like working on one of your favorite projects?

Martin: It’s hard to choose just one project. I have a special attachment for each of them, I have great memories of them all, and I keep with me good memories and lessons from each of them.

If I could talk about one, I think it would be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. I was lead animator on that project. I think TMNT is special for me because it reminds me of my childhood, and a lot of good memories I have related to nostalgia.

When I joined the TMNT team, the film was in a quite advanced state, they had already been working on it for a year, but I felt really welcomed and the team was unbelievable, not only talented, but supportive and nice. The experience with the director was fantastic as well, he was enjoying the process as much as the animators, and always cheering up the team. Overall, the experience on the movie was great, from the artistic side of it, the freedom we got to animate it, and the good vibe of the team to craft the movie.

Martin Scalzotto was a lead animator on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

Animation Mentor: What is one of the most challenging projects you’ve ever worked on and what did you learn from it?

Martin: This is actually a really interesting question. Sometimes the most challenging shots are not the ones we suppose they would be, but the ones that reflect a really deep thinking process or emotions. I feel quite comfortable with mechanics, but I find working on deep acting shots can be challenging. Especially because acting could be played in many different ways, and still works.

There is a series of shots I did for Nimona, when the character Goldie is inside a car, and he’s struggling with his thoughts but needs to hide his emotions from the director. Those shots weren’t the type of shot that you would think could be complicated, but finding the tone, the expressions, the mechanics, to sell that idea – his struggling while the director was trying to dig into his emotions, and him trying to hide it, I found those shots quite interesting to animate. What I learned there, more than ever before was: less is more. Keep it simple, and things need to move for a purpose, not for motion itself.

Martin Scalzotto was a lead animator on Nimona

Animation Mentor: Are there any other memorable projects or shots you’d like to tell us about?

Martin: There are many shots that I enjoyed animating. One of them is a fighting shot on Nimona, that I had a lot of freedom to animate, and I had tons of fun doing it. On Rumble, I got blessed by having many different interesting shots to animate, and I got a lot of freedom to execute them. Also, Under the Boardwalk was a special project for me, because as well, I got many good opportunities.

It’s hard to pin point specific shots, overall I love my experience in each project. I’m grateful to the people that assigned them to me. Without them, I couldn’t get the opportunities I got. I’m really grateful to my teammates and leads that allowed me to animate and have fun.

Martin Scalzotto was an animator on Under the Boardwalk

Experience as an Animation Mentor Student

Animation Mentor: How did Animation Mentor help prepare you for the industry?

Martin: Animation Mentor was a keystone for me, because if it wasn’t for my education here, I couldn’t have stepped in the industry. Coming from a place where animation is not even an industry, having the opportunity to study online with professional animators from the best studios, it’s priceless. Thanks to this curriculum, I got all the tools I needed to step into the industry and improve. All the basics are here, the rest is up to us to improve and learn to become true professionals.

Advice for Animation Students

Animation Mentor: Is there one thing every successful animator has in common?

Martin: There are many things that make an animator successful, and it’s not only related to skills. I think one of the most important things is to bring your best game in each shot, it doesn’t matter if it’s big or small. If you can do something amazing in a 24-frame shot, that could be outstanding. We shouldn’t under appreciate the magic of small shots. Every shot is a chance to shine, and every shot has the potential to be great, no matter the length.

The other thing would be attitude, a great attitude is more important than skills. If there is an animator that is struggling, but has a good attitude to improve and learn, I will choose him to be in my team 10 million times more than an excellent animator with a bad attitude. At the end of the day, we all want to work in a nice environment, with nice people, where everyone is humble and eager to learn.

Animation Mentor: What other advice do you have for current or future Animation Mentor students?

Martin: Never give up. The path can be challenging, full of ups and downs, sometimes you feel you are at the top of your game, and the next day, if you get bad feedback, or you are underperforming for different reasons, it can feel like it’s the end of the world. Animation is hard, animation is challenging, and can be frustrating. What is important is to never lose sight of where you are going. Know where you want to go and what you want to achieve.

We all have different lives, different journeys and different objectives. And all of us, we have different timings. Just because someone else is getting there before you, doesn’t mean you are not going to make it.

Never stop dreaming, never give up, live up to your wildest dream and enjoy the ride. At the end of the day, we are making cartoons, and it’s a lovely job to do.

Martin Scalzotto in the credits

Under the BoardwalkTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
Mutant Mayhem
Back to the OutbackUglyDolls
Christopher RobinSgt. Stubby: An American Hero
…and many more!

See what other projects Martin has worked on on IMDB or connect with him via LinkedIn.

Want to be mentored by professional animators?

Start your animation journey just like Martin Scalzotto did by learning from animators at studios like Pixar, ILM, Riot Games, Disney, and Blizzard! Get more information about Animation Mentor’s Character Animation Program.

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