Here at Brown Bag Films, our team is full of talented individuals who are immensely creative. This creativity is showcased in everything we create together, and everything they create too! Today we want to showcase a project by our own Peter Balsano.
Peter Balsano, an Animation Supervisor at Brown Bag Films, is also the creator of an amazing graphic novel titled The Adventures of Milo! Read the description of the novel below:
Join Milo through the ever-changing magical landscape of his dreams where he learns that in order to defeat the evil Necron, Lord of Nightmares, and ultimately save the world, he must first find the confidence and strength within!
Aided by a daydream named Redo and a wish named Adietta, our adventure takes us through the realm of corrupted dreams; inside of a mountain where a city of ants is at war with an army of bees, a mysterious forest that casts a spell making you wish to stay forever, and never-ending landscapes of the mind.
Be ready for the adventure of a lifetime!
We got some time with Peter to ask him about his work, what inspires him, and his tips for aspiring creatives.
How would you describe yourself?
I’m a cartoonist from Mississauga. I’m a dad of two wonderful boys, and a husband to an amazing woman. I love cartoons, comics and video games, and my favorite thing to do in the world is to make those things!
What inspired book one of your graphic novel, The Adventures of Milo?
The story of Milo is about finding your inner confidence to overcome all odds. When I started the book, my kids were still very young. I felt that it was such an important message to teach my kids and a great use of my creative energies. What I discovered over time was that I was also teaching myself that same message as I struggled to create the book.
How do you start the creative process on your projects, whether they be personal projects or work at Brown Bag Films?
I always have a million story ideas. One day I asked myself “What would happen if I took all my creative energy and just focused it into one place, and actually tried to complete something?!” So, I searched for the story that I wanted to tell the most and put all of my energy into that. That idea was a revelation to me, and from then on that is how I start anything creative. I think to myself, what is the final result? What am I trying to say creatively? What message do I want to put across? When I have that answer, the ideas just flow like magic.
What was the best part of working on The Adventures of Milo?
The Adventures of Milo is a passion project. My favorite part is seeing this massive project slowly taking completed form. It’s challenging and very satisfying.
What was the most challenging part?
I thought it was going to be a small project. As I developed it, I discovered quickly that what I thought was a hill was actually a great mountain. What I discovered was that as Milo learned to overcome his own self-doubt and rise up to the challenges in the story, I was following a parallel path myself in creating the book. Despite the time, despite the effort, despite the self-doubt, I just keep going out of sheer love of creating. Now book one is complete, book two comes out this winter and the final book is most of the way finished!
Do you ever find yourself hitting writer's block? If so, how do you work through it and get inspired again?
There are times in life when the stories just flow, the ideas just keep coming, but there are also times where that’s not the case. It’s just about realizing that there is a cycle and the creative energy will come back around. Use the down time to study and improve your skills. I can guarantee that in your studies you will then become inspired again.
How long have you worked for Brown Bag Films?
I’ve been here at Brown Bag Films for almost fourteen years now!
Is there any one thing you’ve accomplished during your time at Brown Bag Films that you are most proud of?
I would say there isn’t just one thing. Overall, I’m so proud to be a part of a company that produces such positive content for children. It’s a dream come true, honestly, to know that the messages we create together entertain and nurture children around the world. It’s actually a way that we can use our talents to do something positive, and I love being a part of that.
What is your favorite thing about working as an Animation Supervisor?
This one’s easy for me. It’s being able to connect with all the amazing people here. I’ve been fortunate enough to be an Animation Supervisor for most of my time here. I learn so much from seeing the work of so many talented people that I find it really inspiring. I think I learn more from the people I “supervise” than they do from me…don’t tell anyone that though…
What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in animation?
I think we live in an amazing time where everything you ever wanted to learn is available with enough digging online. There are many roles in animation from Designer, Rigger, Background Artist, Producer, Production Manager, etc… and every single one of them is a vital part of creating these massive projects we do. So, start by finding the job you’re most passionate about, then find a good school to help develop that skill and just dive in!
What’s your top tip for staying positive and creative?
Never forget your roots. Never forget what made you fall in love with cartoons or drawing or making comics in the first place. It’s not easy and sometimes it can really challenge you, but it’s in those moments when you’re struggling that you need to reach inside and remember that little kid inside of you that fell in love in the first place. They will remind you why you’re doing this. They will remind you that it is worth the effort and to not give up.
Make sure you check out The Adventures of Milo, available on Amazon, with Book Two being released in Winter 2022! Follow Peter on Instagram @PeterBalsano if you want to see previews of upcoming pages, and follow along with Milo’s Adventure!