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Late Afternoon, Puffin Rock Late Afternoon, Puffin Rock

For the first time, the Spanish Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hosted a two-day series of presentations, masterclasses, and audience Q&As for World Animation Day.

There, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cartoon Saloon producer Nuria González Blanco for an hour-long masterclass about her near-decade of work at the company, how she got there, working abroad, and the joys and frustrations of a career in animation. A Spanish native, she also offered up advice to aspiring artists in the hometown crowd as well as those watching online. The interview was originally done in Spanish, but the Madrid Ministry of Culture has had it dubbed into English and made it free to watch on Youtube.

Blanco’s resume is impressive and includes the Oscar-nominated short Late Afternoon, Toronto Int’l Film Festival competition short Violet, Netflix series Puffin Rock, and she’s cur­rent­ly head writ­ing and direct­ing for ​Sil­ly Sun­days, a pre-school series she cre­at­ed and devel­oped with Car­toon Saloon. But, what one can’t find on IMDB are the projects she’s worked on that never made it through production.

While admitting that there is an obvious frustration that comes with a project being canceled, she also argued that every job provides a learning opportunity, explaining that:

Nuria González Blanco
Nuria González Blanco

Having been in the credits of something that got a green light in the first place is great. As long as you can keep working and learning, the time will come… Try to learn everything you can from the job you have. If something is missing at that job, then dedicate your personal time – without getting burnt out – to side projects and to building your showreel.

While working on the first season of Netflix’s Puffin Rock, Blanco did the work of a line producer but didn’t yet have the title attached to her name. Not one to typically worry about those kinds of things, she was unbothered at the time. However, when Cartoon Saloon was asked to do a second season she knew it was time to push for the recognition she deserved:

I really must recommend this to everyone; you have to say what it is that you want. If you don’t say it, people can’t read your mind. So, when we got the second season of Puffin Rock I said ‘Okay, I’ll do the second season but I need a credit for the work I’m doing, and I’m doing the work of a line producer.’ There was no problem, they said ‘Of course, that’s fine.’ It’s easy when you’re working to not think about the credits, but those credits are how you get your next job.

Speaking about how she decides which projects to take on, Blanco explained:

I don’t think about how successful a project will be when I’m deciding whether or not to work on it. I think about stories I want to tell and work on. I need to fall in love with a story and its characters and want to share it with the world.  And, if it doesn’t work out, at least I had fun while doing it and I always learn something.

The full video is available above and on the Madrid Ministry of Culture’s official Youtube page.

Pictured at top: Late Afternoon, Puffin Rock