Shane moved to the Algarve in October 2019 and he told me he decided to move here because “I couldn’t do anymore Irish winters. I grew up in New York and I lived in Ireland for 15 years and I loved my time there but I just couldn’t do the winters anymore and the Algarve caught my eye.” Shane has worked with some of the top animation studios in Ireland as well as around the globe, including Disney, where he won the Writers Guild of Ireland award for Best Animated Script for his BliBli-sitting episode of Disney’s cheeky humoured ‘Space Chickens in Space’.
TPN: How did you get into scriptwriting and then find yourself in the animation industry?
Shane Perez: “Well, creative writing was something I was always interested in and I absolutely loved movies, like beyond the normal love for movies. Then I studied Film and English and when I took my first screen writing class that’s when I fell in love with it and pursued it and at that time screen writing for the masses was just becoming a thing. I did have a good stretch in screenwriting, I had one low budget film made and then I moved to Ireland and started teaching, and got my Screen Writing masters. I joined Hot Drop Films as partner and creator because my Hot Drop Films business partner was a year ahead of me and he was into feature writing and found his way into animation and he thought my writing style would fit animation and I tried it and absolutely loved it.”
TPN: What advice could you give to aspiring scriptwriters?
SP: “I would say learn the craft and within learning the craft you have to watch and analyse things and these days you can find scripts online so I would say analyse those scripts and see how it correlates to the screen. Before the internet, you used to go down to this one park in New York and some guy would be selling scripts and he would be selling them for 25 dollars which was a lot of money at the time, I can now find those same scripts online for free.”
TPN: Your views on the animation industry here in Portugal?
SP: “It is attempting to grow in Portugal, this past September, I was at the 2021 Cartoon Forum in France, which is the major launching point for animation IPS in Europe and the focus was on Portugal, and nine productions were being presented there and were looking for financing as their first step which was very impressive. The animation industry does not exist in a vacuum and when it grew rapidly in Ireland, it grew in conjunction with the Media sector. I think it is same thing here, with the film studios being built in Loulé and Spy Manor. I am feeling the industry growing, I don’t want to get too ahead of myself but what I will say is that at Cartoon Forum there were outside parties interested in investing in Portugal’s animation sector here and not necessarily being based in Lisbon.”
TPN: Could you please share a highlight in your career?
SP: “It is still rolling out now, I was script editor for an Irish based series called ‘Alva’s World’ and there are still 26 episodes to come in the New Year. It is a ground breaking show because it is teaching a younger age of kids about internet safety and tackles real problems including the pandemic. Even three years ago, if you said let’s do a show like that for 5- to 7-year-olds about the internet they would never have made something like this for that age group.”
TPN: What trends are we seeing now in animated series?
SP: “The trends are interesting, this past autumn at Cartoon Forum, there were definitely more shows about kids living on the fringe and with disabilities and we are seeing more representation of different ethnicities. Also funnily enough, we are seeing more robust representations of older people and I think that is a by-product of the pandemic as a lot of children could not see grandparents as much, what they represent means more than ever before. There were a few projects that I am circling developing that tick that box. Kavaleer Productions are working on a new series about a six-year-old Irish boy called Adam King, who actually appeared on a chat show in Ireland and he really took the nation. Adam King is in a wheelchair and he dreams of being an astronaut and Kavaleer have pitched a show about him in Space and I have written a Christmas episode.”
TPN: Could you tell me your experience in the animation industry?
S.P: “One thing where being in animation that proved beneficial is that it inadvertently helped me discover I had ADHD which knowing that has helped explain a lot of things in my life and has helped me adjust things to approach the rest of my life with. It was with the company that I did Alva’s World with and I was working on a series about a boy detective with ADHD and I started reading it and said it sounded a lot like me so I went and got diagnosed. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people in the creative industries have that, whether they know it or not but it is the best industry for that as it is by in large short attention span theatre.”
Shane is starting a new Irish based company similar to Hot Drop Films called Celtic Chameleon where he is will be doing more of what he has always done but focusing more on forging new connections in Portugal’s growing media sector and setting up an animation foothold in the Algarve. Shane would like to start his own project in the future and he would love if this process came together in the Algarve. If anyone is interested in collaborating with Shane or has experience in this field, please contact Shane Perez at firstname.lastname@example.org or similarly, you can see http://hotdropfilms.com/ for more information.