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Kyle Balda — Co-Director, “Minions: The Rise of Gru” & “Despicable Me 3”


Over the past 30 years, Kyle Balda has risen from humble animator to co-director of beloved kids’ movies Minions: The Rise of Gru and Despicable Me 3. Beginning in animation for films including Mars Attacks, The Mask, and Toy Story 2, Kyle met director Pierre Coffin in Europe and helped create the animated series Pat & Stan, which would build the foundations for the Minions’ lovable antics.

In this illuminating podcast, Kyle shares the essential lessons he learned as an animator and his path to the director’s chair. He reveals the organic process of creating a Minions movie, from the initial concept with the writer to the collaborative addition of ideas as more people get involved. Kyle also gives a positive perspective on AI and its role in CG movies, and he shares his thoughts on how animation has evolved from a genre to a medium.


Kyle Balda on IMDb >

Kyle Balda on Wikipedia >

Kyle Balda on Twitter >

THU Interview with Kyle Balda >


0:02:40 How Kyle learned to think like an animator

0:06:41 Getting into CalArts — unofficially

0:11:05  "Toy Story 2," "Monsters Inc," and traveling Europe 

0:15:15 Meeting Pierre Coffin and the beginning of the Minions

0:19:15 How to become a director

0:23:35 How the Minions evolved as characters

0:27:53 The organic process of creating a Minions movie 

0:30:30 Animation as a medium and not a genre

0:33:56 Thoughts on AI

0:39:35 What AI and new animators have in common

0:42:29 What's next for Kyle — and what serves as his North Star 

About the author

Christopher Nichols

Chris is a CG industry veteran and Director of Chaos Labs. He can also be heard regularly as the host of the CG Garage podcast which attracts 20,000 weekly listeners. With a background in both VFX and Design, Chris has worked for Gensler, Digital Domain, Imageworks and Method Studios. His credits include Maleficent, Oblivion and Tron: Legacy.

Originally published: October 30, 2023.
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