Children’s media is an extremely popular form of entertainment that is also a notoriously hard field to break into. There are many people who aspire to become animators, directors, and producers but only a scarce few individuals succeed. Nelson Recinos is a stellar example of a children’s media success story.
Nelson is an Emmy Award Winning animation producer, director, and creator who has worked on many successful TV shows and films. He has worked in a variety of forms including 2D traditional, CG computer and flash projects for companies such as Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, 20th Century Fox, Starz, Scholastic Entertainment and other studios. He has been involved in the creative and administrative development, production, and post-production for television and film productions.
Nelson has worked on some big-name shows, his credits include “Baby Looney Tunes,” “Pinky and the Brain,” “Animaniacs,” “CatDog” and “As Told By Ginger.” Nelson has also established partnerships with several global companies in Korea, China, Taiwan, and India. He has received a Prism Award, two Daytime Emmy Awards, Five Daytime Emmy nominations and three Annie Award nominations.
Nelson studied art and animation in various Art Institutes and academies and went on to receive a Masters degree in Business Administration. At present, Nelson is working on a new animated series titled “The Magic of Discovery.” I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Nelson about his experiences working in the field of children’s television:
Q: What influenced you to enter the field of children’s media?
I always liked to draw cartoons since I was a kid, my brother Bill was the one who was really interested in animation and had books on how to make animated cartoons. He started animating at a young age, later working on commercials and eventually working for the most important animation studios in the U.S.A. I would have to say that he was a big influence on me becoming an animator.
Q: Growing up, what TV shows, book, and/or other media inspired you?
As a kid I used to watch cartoons such as Warner Brothers Looney Tunes, and the Disney classic films. I used to draw these characters all the time. I think I was 5 years old as far as I can remember when I started drawing. In my wild dreams I would never have thought that I would end up working on the Classic Warner characters.
Q: You have worked on some very well–known cartoons. Is there one series that you consider your favorite? If so, why?
I had the opportunity to work on some amazing shows such as “Pinky and the Brain,” I think so far that is my favorite series. The writing on the show was outstanding and the show was popular with college students because of it. It was a clever show in which the Brain was always trying to figure out how he was going to take over the world while Pinky was just being silly.
Q: Can you please tell me about “The Magic of Discovery” series you are working on?
The Magic of Discovery is a multiethnic project which centers on four pre-school kids–Carl, Rosie, Antoine and Lin–who discover different cultures, history, people, art, language, music, dance and foods as they travel around the world. How? Courtesy of magical books they have in their classroom! When it’s time for a lesson or to learn about a famous person, country, city or place, they open a book for that day’s lesson. Then, WHOOSH! The kids are magically transported to a new city, country and/or time period where they will meet famous composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Frederic Chopin; scientists like Albert Einstein and Alfred Nobel; inventors like Thomas Edison and Henry Ford; computer wizards like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs; and painters such as Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo…. but not as adults. These famous people were once children who at the age of 7 or 8 were already something special. Our characters will learn a lot about these prodigious masters. They will travel to Russia, Germany, France, Italy, England, India, Spain, China, Japan, Korea, The Philippines, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Central America, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil and many other countries to learn about their people and cultures.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for “The Magic of Discovery”?
The reason I created this project was because for the past years I have tutored inner-city elementary school children who were way behind in their academics. I helped them with Language Arts, Math, and History. I know The Magic of Discovery will teach and introduce children to many interesting people and places. I chose the concept of the Magic of Discovery based on the need to educate children about culture, history and to teach them to appreciate diversity.
The Magic of Discovery Link:
Q: What would be your “dream project” if you could work on anything?
My dream project is a 3D/CG property a created and develop titled Game Access which I will produce as a feature film. Game Access-Main character is Katie Styles. She isn’t your typical 9 year old girl. Instead of playing with dolls and other girls her age, she’d rather invest her time into playing video games which usually gets her into trouble at home and at school. Game Access is a combination of 2D traditional animation and CG computer animation. It references well known video games and teaches children how to balance their time between game play and schoolwork. Game Access combines action, adventure, humor, and heart.
Link to Game Access:
Q: You have won two Emmy awards. What was that experience like?
Just by being nominated among many outstanding children’s shows is an accomplishment by itself, and winning is an experience that is hard to describe. When they said “and the Emmy goes to Pinky and The Brain” I remembered getting up off my seat and going up to the stage with the rest of the crew, it felt as if I was floating down to the stage.
Q: To date, what has been the most rewarding part of being involved in children’s media?
I had the chance to work on some awesome shows that entertained and educated many children. Also working in traditional animation which was done using paper and pencil, we use to draw each sequence of drawings on separate piece of paper to complete the action (like a flip book), then the drawings were transferred to a celluloid which was a transparent plastic to be colored. Backgrounds were painted and shot together with each drawing. Each drawing was shot twice on an animation camera. Most shows nowadays use computers to do the work we did by hand.
Q: What advice would you give someone who is aspiring to work in children’s media?
Work on your drawing skills, draw as much as you can. There is a misconception that working on GC projects doesn’t require an understanding of drawing, but a solid foundation in figure drawing will help you create more believable characters and timeless work. Watch classic cartoons from Disney and Warner Brothers. Be passionate about what you do, do your best, keep on learning, and keep moving forward.
Q: Are there any other upcoming projects that you would like to mention?
I have other concepts in the works, but at the moment I am concentrating in producing Game Access and The Magic of Discovery.
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To learn more about Nelson visit: