Minions’ director inspires ambitious animators at 13th Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival

Kyle Balda, who has worked on 32 animated movies, shares his creative journey with young audiences at Expo Centre Sharjah

Sharjah, May 17, 2022

Kyle Balda, co-director of Minions and its forthcoming sequel, Minions: The Rise of Gru, has inspired budding young animators at the ongoing 13th Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) at Expo Centre Sharjah with an illuminating talk chronicling his journey in the animation industry and the intriguing process of creating an animation.

Recalling the early days of his career, Balda – a renowned Hollywood animator and filmmaker who has worked on 32 beloved contemporary classics in children’s cinema – described how at just 21 years old, he was hired as the animation supervisor of Jumanji during his final year at California Institute of the Arts, the alma mater of several prominent Disney animators.

Balda was later involved in the creation of several visual effects films including The Flintstones, The Mask and The Frighteners at the LA-based studio Industrial Light Magic. But he found his passion in animation while employed at Pixar, where he worked on A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2 and Monsters, Inc.

Creative process

“When you are drawing characters, they seem to tell you what they want to do. It’s similar to drawing as a child, where the drawing drives you and your imagination. That sense of play fuels your creativity,” explained Balda.

Discussing the behind-the-scenes process of animation in a studio, from the script to storyboarding, layout, and finally editing, Balda added that during his creative process, he abides by three pillars of storytelling: story, character, and emotion.

Advice for aspiring animators

“If you want to be an animator, turn off the sound while watching an animated film and study it,” advised Balda, speaking to the young audience. “This will prevent you from getting absorbed in the film and make you pay attention to how it’s made.”

Balda also recommended the use of Blender, a highly sophisticated and free animation tool, which allows beginners to bypass licensing fees and jumpstart their animation journey. 

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