Imagine if you lived in a world where talking birds sang Samba music and pint size humans discover unknown civilizations.
Well, for Julen Santiago, these fairy tales are a part of his everyday reality.
As a character animator, Santiago has helped bring to life the characters in such films as "Rio" and "Ice Age: Continental Drift."
In his latest project, the Spaniard helped envision the colorfully diverse world of the new animated film "Epic."
The only non-sequel to make the top five grossing films over Memorial Day weekend, "Epic" earned the fourth spot with $42.6 million in ticket sales.
In the movie, a teenager is transported into a secret forest world and has to protect a special flower pod to save the forest.
Filled with larger than life characters, Santiago promises this is more than just the classic story of the battle between good and evil, “there’s many beautiful ingredients,” he told Fox News Latino.
While Santiago may not be making films he himself would watch, he loves creating films for one of the industry’s most passionate age groups.
“Kids respond so strongly,” Santiago said.
“They will laugh, cry…kids offer the quickest response you can get.”
Having been in the industry for 11 years, Santiago says his job of character creation is a “very rewarding” experience.
And given his native Spain's dire financial situation, he is grateful for the opportunity he has been given in America, where he's been working for the last three years.
“For me it’s amazing someone wants to pay me to do this job,” said Santiagoone of a large number of Latino animators in the industry.
Now working on the sequel to the much beloved animated film “Rio,” Santiago sees more and more how Latinos are having an impact on this niche of the entertainment world.
“Many times they ask us to bring something more Latino,” to the table, Santiago said.
Other than “Rio 2,” Santiago said he has “heard of a couple of projects really related to the Latino community.”
Regardless of the subject matter, Santiago continues to be enthralled by and extremely curious about this craft more than a decade later.
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