Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Animation Magazine Honors Christina LaFerla, CG Supervisor on 'Big Nate', As One of 2021's Rising Stars of Animation

Animation Magazine has announced Christina LaFerla, who is currently serving as an CG Supervisor on Nickelodeon's upcoming Big Nate animated series, as one of 2021's Rising Stars of Animation!


Animation Magazine will profile each of their 16 2021 Rising Stars of Animation honorees in their May 2021 issue. The publication will also release a special hour-long video spotlight on these 16 scene-stealers this Friday, April 10th, which will be available to stream on https://www.animationmagazine.net.

The 16 women and men come from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines. What they share is a passion for the art and craft of animation and storytelling, deep respect for the trailblazers before them and a burning desire to make a difference in their specific field of expertise.

Big Nate (middle)

"The class of 2021 is certainly one of the most impressive, diverse and creative groups of shining stars in recent memory," said Animation Magazine. "It’s so encouraging to see so many brilliant artists exploring new ways of telling their stories and expressing their true visions in different media today. We can’t wait to see what they’ll share with us in the months ahead."

A huge congratulations to Christina LaFerla and everyone honored in Animation Magazine's 2021 Rising Stars of Animation feature! You can read more about each honoree here.

Christina LaFerla
CG Supervisor, Big Nate [Nickelodeon]
Stats: 36, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

I knew I wanted to work in animation when: I have always been passionate about cartoons, games and technology. As a kid, I was either making movies with my friends or playing on the computer. Being good with computers allowed me to put my passions together and get into CG animation.

First job in animation: Thanks to a college alumni, I was able to intern at Nickelodeon Movies on the Paramount lot in 2006. I used every opportunity during my internship to work hard, network, learn and tour other studios to meet with recruiters. Before graduation, I was sending Nickelodeon recruiters monthly emails letting them know I was open to any opportunity that was available in order to get my foot in the door. My persistence paid off and I was hired on as a production assistant for one of Nick’s first CG TV shows, Tak and the Power of Juju, shortly after graduation.

What I love about working on Big Nate: Adapting a 2D comic into a CG world is a group effort. I love that I get to be a part of each step in the CG animation pipeline. We have an awesome crew and I’m able to work with writers, designers, board team and directors, modelers, look development, animators, lighting and compositing teams as well as our vendor studio teams in India. It’s great to see a script come to life in CG after months and months of teamwork.

Toughest part: Building a team and starting a brand new show from home during a pandemic brings new challenges. I have found that communication with my team as well as with our team in India has been essential in keeping our show moving forward.

Favorite toons growing up: I never missed an episode of The Simpsons after school. I loved Disney classics, like Sword in the Stone and The Lion King, but once Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. came out, I knew I wanted to work in CG.

Best advice: I was probably obnoxious, calling people, writing people, emailing companies I liked for any opportunity they’d give me. If I watched a cartoon I liked on TV, I’d go to their website and email them about an internship. I was annoying, but it got me to where I am today.

Future plans: I’d love to run my own CG animated show one day. Until then, I will continue to learn, grow and make a difference while at work.

Announced in February 2020, Nickelodeon is taking the misadventures of Big Nate from page to screen with an all-new animated TV series based on the best-selling children’s books written and drawn by acclaimed author and cartoonist Lincoln Peirce. The eponymous 26-episode series follows Nate, a precocious 11-year-old boy, and his best friends as they navigate sixth grade with humor and style. Big Nate is being produced by Nickelodeon in Burbank, Calif., and is slated to premiere on Nickelodeon in September 2021.

Big Nate is a book title I've wanted to translate into a series for a long time, and I am so happy this awesome, super-funny character is coming to Nickelodeon," said Ramsey Naito, Executive Vice President, Animation Production and Development, Nickelodeon. “All of creator Lincoln Peirce's slightly unruly, but entirely relatable characters share Nick’s same creative DNA, and we can't wait for them to join our amazing family!"

The TV series will feature brand-new original storylines centered on Nate and his mischievous shenanigans that usually result in disaster, detention or both. Whether trying to convince everyone that their school is haunted to get out of a test, or accidentally setting the pet iguana free in the school’s air ducts, Nate and his friends cause trouble everywhere--and must keep their cool before they get caught.

The Big Nate TV series is executive produced by Mitch Watson (All Hail King Julien) and John Cohen (The Angry Birds Movie), with Peirce serving as consultant throughout development and production. Bridget McMeel is co-producer.

More Nick: Nickelodeon Announces 2021-22 Content Slate | Nick Upfront!

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