Patrick Guisiano

Interview with Patrick Giusiano, Blue Sky Studios Animator

We’ve the pleasure to speak with Annie Award nominated Blue Sky Studios animator Patrick Giusiano,  about his carrier and his job and vision of the industry. Enjoy the read!


IT’S ART : Can you give us an overview of your carrier path since the legend of Kaena to your actual position at Blue Sky Studios?

Patrick Giusiano : Sure, after following an education focused on Science at the university, I worked in a laboratory using lasers to inspect aircraft cockpits for safety purpose. It was exciting and a bit surrealistic, but even if it looked a bit like science fiction, I still wanted to get a job more art driven. I started animation in 1999. When I understood how magic it was to create movements, I became addicted to it. I worked on several small productions, TV series until I had this opportunity to work for this French company named CHAMAN. They were making KAENA, one of the most challenging movies being made in the world at the moment. In fact, at this point, Except Toy Story and Bugs Life, there weren’t a lot of CG movies out there, and the quality was pretty competitive for the budget we had. I had the most amazing time there, working with one of the best team I have ever met. Most of the people who worked on KAENA in France are now sharing jobs between DreamWorks, WETA, ILM, DISNEY or PIXAR. I embraced so much the experience there that when the animation Director Patrick Bonneau left, I became supervisor on the last third of the movie. I started a new experience as a manager which was very interesting challenge. I learned how to share with people info from the director, from production, how to bring a good atmosphere in a team etc. I enjoyed also having the possibility to be more implied into the whole movie process.

Kaena Trailer ( 2003 )


From this experience I continued my animation supervisor career in different other companies like Xilam or Attitude Studio. There I had the chance to supervise many TV series like Skyland, one of the most beautiful animated TV content I have ever seen. Attitude became really well known for the great images we were producing. So we started to work with US majors like Disney, Warner or DreamWorks.  I had a blast at this point, supervising short movies or music video clips for these big names. I trained many animators to reach the US quality expectation so we could work on Tinker Bell, “9”, Gnomeo and Juliet etc. All this work gave me the opportunity to approach big producers from Disney, Directors from Dream Works etc. At this point, I really wanted to make everything possible to reach their team. I decided with my wife that even if we had 3 children we would do whatever it takes to work for major studios in US. After an experience as Director for a TV show, we decided it was time to move to continue the work I wanted to achieve as an animator.

IA :  How difficult has been the move from Europe to the USA? What was the most difficult, what you’re not ready for?

PG : Having the will to work for US studios is one thing, but being actually able to join their team is another thing. Most of my experience was to be a supervisor; this position is pretty hard to sell in new studios. I decided I needed to work at home after work to create new animations. At this point my 3rd daughter was just born; I could hear my wife waking up to breastfeed her at 2 o’clock in the morning while I was still working on some animation actings. I put in place a very strong workflow of animation at home, and published my new reel. Eamonn Butler, 20 years experienced as animation supervisor at Walt Disney animation studio caught up my reel. He was working as head of animation for Double Negative in London and needed animators for a “giantnormous” project. JOHN CARTER directed by Andrew Stanton and produced by Disney was the movie.

He made me an offer and we move, my 3 kids, my wife and I in London.  Working with people from Disney, director from Pixar etc… was a total blast for me and was just a great opportunity to be implied in big movies just next door to France. The whole family started to speak English, it was just the right in-between before going to the US… I worked on other great projects in Double Negative and I was lucky enough to work on projects that were only keyframe based. No motion capture could be implied in Disney’s productions which was a dream for animator. Again after 2 years there I decided to publish a new reel. I received at this point positive feedbacks from Disney and from Blue Sky/FOX. It’s very difficult for foreigners to go work in US for one simple reason, the working visa is super difficult to obtain. So US companies tend to avoid as much as possible to employ foreigner as they know it’s going to create a long and very pricy process with lawyers. Their need is often driven by an opening position they have right now, they are not willing to wait 4 months for an animator to get his visa. Also, the visa process is unpredictable and even after paying the attorneys fees, you might get it denied. However, I was thrilled that Disney and Blue Sky were willing to give it a try for me to join their team. Blue Sky Studios were the first to send me an offer I accepted right away, too happy to work with the creators of Ice Age, Horton, Robots etc… I always put BlueSky in my “A” list as the outsiders with the best 2D cartoony animation style I have ever seen in movies. My wife and I were super excited! Then process of getting the visa started. Filing for a visa isn’t an easy thing.

I had to prove to the US government that no one in US could do a better job. Which mean I had to bring proofs of my work, show articles talking about me, bring letters from very well known people explaining how big they were thinking about me. Luckily for me, I met all these big Producers, Directors, Supervisors who were not only very talented, but also very nice. They were happy to bring their help to make me join the force on their ground. But the process took 4 months, I had to advise Double Negative that I might leave and we dealt an end date to my contract. I had to advise my Landlord also that I was leaving his house. I had to book a removal company to move from London to the US. You cannot plan all these things in one day. The only big deal was that we still didn’t have the visa and no one can tell for sure you’re gonna get it. When you’re a Dad, only person working for a family of five, I can tell you that the stress level was at the highest at this time. 2 days before moving our stuffs to US, we had an interview at the US Embassy. The officer there was a huge fan of Scott Pilgrim and PAUL, 2 movies I’ve been working on. I could feel after the interview that there were low chances he would get denied our US entry. But anyway, the day where the removal guys arrived happened, I received our visas by mail this same morning!! What a relief!!!

Spread the love
GET 50% ON IAMC25 Supporter Tickets - Offer Ends in :