Meet Malta’s Tech Gurus: Christ Scicluna, Warner Brothers Inspired Animator

tech gurus christ scicluna

Christ Scicluna is a freelance artist specialising in animation. Scicluna has worked on various projects, some of which can’t be shared online (yet!). Christ Scicluna has plans to release his next animated music video in August. Behind the scenes of the process from concept to completion can be seen on his Instagram and Facebook page. Chuck Jones is his biggest inspiration, with his work on Looney Tunes shorts.

What is your current role?

I consider myself an animator, however in my projects; I usually take care of everything from pre-production to post-production except audio. I storyboard and direct all of my projects. I’ve also done storyboards for live action projects, but most of my time is spent drawing 2D animations or photographing stop-motion animation.

Was this always something you wanted to do or did you come about this line of work through the path of your life?

I’ve been obsessed with storytelling for as long as I can remember. At a young age, I was constantly drawing cartoons and making short comics. My dream was to give life to the characters I drew through animation, but back then this was something only done by big studios with lots of people and equipment. Thus, a flipbook was the best I could do.

How did you get into animation?

I tried to create the illusion of movement through any means I could find as a kid. I started doing flipbooks at around the age of 8 but really wanted to turn my creations into something digital and to be able to share them.

My first digital experiment was with a Nokia 3650 cell phone. In my opinion, it had a terrible design and was very bulky, but I loved it because I could take pictures and videos. It could only record a video for up to 10 seconds, but you had the option to record, pause and continue recording until you reach the 10 seconds mark. It then results in one whole video with cuts, like a form of live editing. So I started posing plasticine figures, record and pause for one second and repeat the process 10 times resulting in a short stop motion animation.

Things really kicked off when I discovered graphics tablets and software like Macromedia flash around the age of 13. I continued to create, discover and learn new ways on how to create content. This has never stopped since then.

At around age 16, I had my first paid job to create an animation and as time went by, this kept happening more frequently. By the time I graduated, I was working as a full-time freelance artist in both 2D and stop motion.

Are there any Gadgets you use for work that you can’t live without?

Sometimes I start a project by sketching on paper, but besides that, all my work is done digitally. Obviously, without a PC I couldn’t do much, however, my favourite gadget that’s essential for my work is my Wacom Cintiq tablet. I’ve been drawing on it for more than 5 years now and I still love drawing on it as much as the first day I got it.

Do you think there is enough work to work full time as an animator in Malta (at the level you are working at)?

Yes. Animation may not be very present on Maltese TV stations, but it’s used a lot for adverts or show openings. Recently I’ve done a short animation for a Maltese live-action feature film as well.

Even if there was literally no demand for animation here in Malta, it doesn’t mean you can’t make a living off of it. All my work is digital, so it’s very easy to work with clients from other countries. Around 60% of my work is done for clients abroad.

What piece of advice would you give to Maltese people in the tech and computer science space?

The most notable advice would be to always stay up to date with the progress of technology. Software and hardware keep improving every day and knowing about changes can help you be more efficient. It is also important to stay updated so that your projects don’t feel outdated very quickly.

My other advice is to always continue to build and enhance your portfolio of work, especially with projects that you are proud of. You need to put passion in your work and advertise yourself properly so that people are able to see the potential in collaborating with you.

What inspires you to keep going and to keep working on bigger and better projects?

Watching yourself get better by comparing your recent work with the older ones feels very rewarding. It makes you eager to see what you’ll create next. Striving for improvement is essential and fun. Another incentive is collaborating with artists you respect on projects you’d like to be a part of.

Do you feel like you are satisfied with your success or do you plan on working on other goals?

I’m happy with most of the finished and current projects, but there are a lot of other areas I want to explore (like video games) and I know there’s a lot to improve on most aspects of my work. Let’s say I’m satisfied with the progress so far and I intend to keep building on it.

What was the most exciting project you have worked on?

I think that would be the Dr.Monster series made with Canadian singer Todd Bryanton.

It’s not hugely popular or anything but it has a very dedicated fan base and I love hiding easter eggs in the animation for them to find (and they always do find them, no matter how small and hidden). Most episodes surpassed a million views on YouTube, with the first episode over 3 million. Every time we release a new one I really enjoy reading the comments and feedback.

Do you know any local tech-gurus excelling in their field? Send an email to [email protected]