Alessandro Carloni lives in Hollywood, United States.
His story is all about story, about art in service of story. Born in Bologna, Alessandro Carloni spent his childhood in Urbino, a walled city and World Heritage site southwest of Pesaro, known, according to Wikipedia, for its remarkable legacy of independent Renaissance culture and for being the birthplace of Renaissance master Raphael Santi.
But, Carloni was not a young artist, at least not officially. Not even though his father worked as an illustrator for magazines, book covers and advertisements. “I was exposed to his work, but he never pushed me to be part of his studio,” Carloni says. “He taught me many things. He wanted me to explore on my own.” He became an artist almost despite himself.
Carloni entered the University of Milan as a literature major, but to earn money, he began selling drawings. “I got little jobs through my friends to help pay for meals and money here and there,” he says. “Small things like invitation tickets for clubs.” Those little jobs helped change his future.
‘’It made me understand that my true passion was visual storytelling,” he says. “I cared about that more than continuing my studies.”
A friend in Germany suggested he apply to Munich Animation, and soon Carloni was an in-betweener. “I drew all the tedious drawings,” he says. But, that led to work as an animator, a story artist, a director, an art director, a character designer, a sculptor, and an animation supervisor for commercials, music videos, and feature films in Germany, Switzerland, and Denmark.
Then, in 2000, he co-directed an award-winning animated short film through Munich Animation with writer-director Gabriele Pennacchioli. The studio envisioned the film, “The Shark and the Piano,” as a marketing tool. “It was still a time when American studios sent portions of their [2D] feature films to Europe to produce,” Carloni says, “so we decided to make a film to show what we could do.”
But, by the time they approached the American studios, those studios had turned their focus to 3D.
So, instead of sending cels overseas, DreamWorks hired Carloni. He arrived at the Glendale studio in 2002, in to work as an animator on DreamWorks’ last 2D feature, “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.” From “Sinbad,” he moved onto “Shark Tale” as lead animator (“Crazy Joe”) and additional story artist, then to “Over the Hedge,” as animator, story artist, and storyboard artist, followed by “Kung Fu Panda” as animation supervisor and story artist.
Now, he’s head of story for “Crood Awakening,” which is scheduled for a 2011 release. He couldn’t have asked for a better realization of his decision as a college student to follow his passion of visual storytelling, even though he had no formal training in animation, illustration or art.