Member Snapshot: ALIXE LOBATO
May 2023, Interview facilitated by Tracey Miller-Zarneke
What is your current role?
Creative Director / Co-founder, Flying Duck Studio Lab
Can you please describe how you got to your current role? What are some of the challenges you had to face to get there?
I have over 20 years of experience in the media industry, and during that time, I faced many challenges– I would not have space in just a few lines for all of them. However, instead of complaining about the industry, my team and I decided to take action and build an ethical and diverse creative studio. Along the way, we encountered a variety of challenges, from learning about business to marketing and managing a team. It has been a difficult but rewarding journey, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished so far.
What is your favorite part of your role? Most challenging part?
- Collaborating with a talented team on a project that aligns with our shared values and beliefs. It’s incredibly fulfilling to see our collective vision come to life.
Most challenging part:
- Navigating the competitive and fast-paced media industry while staying true to our commitment to ethical practices. Managing a team with diverse skill sets also presents its own set of challenges, but it’s a rewarding opportunity for growth and development. Applying to become a B-Corp has been by far the most challenging task we have faced so far!
Who were/are your mentors, inside or outside of animation? How have they affected you?
More than individual mentors, I have found support and guidance from various communities and programs. For instance, we were fortunate to be selected by programs such as Creative England, Ad-venture (Leeds Council), #Wecan (Leeds Becket University), and NatWest which provided us with valuable mentoring, coaching and support for our startup. Additionally, I have participated in mastermind programs for business in the animation industry, which have helped me acquire technical knowledge and skills in running a business that I did not have before. These experiences have not only been beneficial for my own growth, but they have also motivated me to help others who are navigating a similar path and right now, I am myself am studying coaching.
Do you have any advice for others who want to break into the animation industry?
Build relationships within the animation community, seek advice, and learn as much as you can. Contact people you admire, be humble, and believe in yourself. Also, be willing to help others along the way.
Share with us a moment of exhilaration in your career.
The first credit we got with our Studio was in a Documentary that premiered at Sundance, we couldn’t believe it!
Which school did you attend?
I attended a university in Spain where I earned degrees in Communications, Language, and Literature. Additionally, I have taken several programs in motion graphics and animation, including those offered by School of Motion, Motion Design School, and other online schools. Some of these programs were business-oriented, like Motion Hatch. I have also recently enrolled in Leeds Beckett University for further studies.
Additionally, I am constantly seeking to expand my knowledge and skills by taking courses on new technologies such as Framer, AI, and Virtual Production, as well as staying up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry. Domestika is a great place for specific techniques.
What is your earliest memory of being interested in animation?
From my early teenage years, I have always been fascinated by animation, particularly the experimental and unconventional approaches to the craft. I was particularly drawn to films that incorporated rotoscoping techniques over live-action footage. I vividly remember spending hours studying the intricacies of these films, fascinated by how they were made and how the animation added a new layer of meaning to the visuals.
My interest in animation has only grown stronger since then, and I can’t imagine pursuing any other career.
What is your favorite animated movie or animated character, and why?
My current favourite animated movie is “Midnight Gospel” for its unique storytelling and surreal look and animation.
As an adult, I have a special admiration for “Adventure Time” for its surrealism, but as a kid, I was captivated by the character of Mafalda, probably because of its social and disruptive topics. In terms of movies, I appreciate the experimental approach of “A Scanner Darkly” and “Waking Life.”
Who or what inspires your work?
My work is mostly inspired by my observations of life and society, as well as my desire to make a positive impact. In addition to that, I draw inspiration from cinema and art, particularly from painters and mixmedia techniques. I also appreciate the use of photography as a storytelling tool. All of these sources inspire me to experiment with different styles and approaches in my animation work.
Why is an organization like WIA important to you?
An organization like WIA is important to me because it promotes diversity and inclusivity in the animation industry. As a founder of an ethical creative studio that prioritizes inclusivity, it’s crucial for me to be connected with other women in the industry who share similar values.
WIA provides a supportive community and valuable resources that help us increase diversity and inclusion in our work. Additionally, as a woman in a predominantly male industry, I’ve faced my fair share of struggles, and WIA has been a valuable ally in helping me navigate those challenges.
How long have you been a member of WIA?
I believe I enrolled as a member during the lockdown when I was launching our previous studio. However, I had been attending Women in Animation events for many years prior to that.
What have you enjoyed most about being part of WIA?
Being part of a community of women in the animation and creative industry has been very inspiring and empowering. Learning about their experiences, challenges, and successes has given me a broader perspective and helped me to grow both personally and professionally. Additionally, the resources and information provided by WIA have been invaluable in advancing our mission of inclusivity and diversity in our creative studio.
Any other professional insights or experiences you would like to share with our membership?
I am very proud to share that our creative studio is composed mostly of women and underrepresented talent. We value inclusivity and ethical practices, and our team is a reflection of that. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to work alongside these talented professionals and see our shared values come to life in our work. I believe that creating a diverse and inclusive team not only benefits our studio but also the industry as a whole. We can all learn from each other’s experiences and perspectives and create more impactful and meaningful work together.
Any other insights or experiences regarding your pursuit of an education leading to work in animation that you would like to share with our membership?
I would say that pursuing a formal education in animation or related fields is definitely valuable, but it’s not the only way to break into the industry. My personal experience has shown that combining education with real-world experiences, networking, and continuously learning new skills can be a powerful combination. In my case, I have a background in communications and literature, but I also attended several programs in motion graphics and animation, both in traditional schools and online platforms. Additionally, being part of organizations like WIA has provided me with valuable resources and connections in the industry.
Overall, my advice would be to be open to different educational opportunities and seek out real-world experiences, connections, and continuous learning to pursue a career in animation.
You can find more information about me and my studio at: