Carlos Fraiha

I was born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where I got a degree in Graphic Design, awarded by UEMG, and one in Television/Advertising with complimentary studies in Film, awarded by UFMG.

Since completing my course in Character Animation at Central Saint Martins, I have worked in studios like The Mill, Partizan Lab, and Notion Digital/Passion Pictures. 

My graduation film Ceci n'est pas une mouche (This is not a fly) has been featured in magazines and screened in festivals in over 18 countries, having also won awards in some of them.

Why did you decide to study at Central Saint Martins?

I spent months searching for the ideal character animation course. I wanted a postgraduate course, since I already had two undergraduate degrees, and also something that would allow me to make contacts in the industry. 

The fact that the course had a mentoring programme with professional animators, and that it allowed you to learn 2D and 3D animation in the same curriculum were some of the main reasons why I chose Central Saint Martins.

The college in general was also very well recommended by friends who had studied there.

What was the best bit about living and studying in London?

Taking advantage of all the cultural activities in the city - museums, theatres, festivals, etc. Also its good connections with other European capitals, which allows you to get to know many other countries in a relatively easy and inexpensive way.

It was also great to be so close to so many great animation companies whose work I had admired for years.

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

It is true what they say that you get what you put into it. I would suggest spending as much time as you can working on your projects, reading more than is requested of you, and spending time with your classmates. If there are books you would like to read that are not available in the library catalogue, get in touch with your course librarian and ask them if they could get them for you.

I made several requests during the course and not only did the librarian get all of them, he was also very happy to do so. Not many students do it, and they (along with the tutors) are the ones who are most knowledgeable about their field of study and aware of the best books and publications.

And for students about to graduate?

Work hard on your graduation projects as I have heard from industry professionals that when they attend graduation shows the most dedicated students really do stand out.

Try to show your work to as many people as you can not thinking about what company they are representing or who they are. 

Make sure you have a website or blog with your work, and business cards with your contact details. Also keep in touch with your friends and classmates, as they are the ones who are most likely to recommend you for jobs and let you know about opportunities they find out about.

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

I am currently a freelance animator and the last company I worked for was The Mill. Before that I was working on a children's TV series, and have also worked on music videos and adverts. Some of these opportunities came from contacts I made at my graduation show, some from friends from the course, and others just by getting in touch with companies. The best thing to do is to work hard, keep good professional relations wherever you work, always be in touch with people and get your work seen.

Shortly after my course, I was invited to show my graduation film at an up-and-coming talents event by Time Out, and in the audience were the organisers of a film festival that ended up inviting me to have my film screened at their festival. This has happened a few times, so the more exposure you get, the more people get to know your work, and more opportunities can come out of that.

I was very happy to have my film win awards in different countries and to see how it communicated with people from different countries. Humour can be something very particular to a certain culture, but I think that is one of the best qualities of animation - how universal it can be. 

The film has been featured in magazines, shown in festivals all over the world including Comic-Con in San Diego, and one of the greatest achievements I can mention was being shortlisted for Virgin Media Shorts. It will be one of 12 films shown for a year in 214 cinemas all over the UK, and I was thrilled to have been selected alongside works of well established people in the industry.

How has Central Saint Martins helped in your chosen career path?

It has helped me to learn more about my craft, to really immerse myself in it for a year, and make several contacts that have been invaluable to my professional career after the course.

Visit Carlos' website.