Scott Carroll latest achievement is as the Supervising Animator on "Ferdinand"

Before he reached his 20s, a Monroe City native with a lifelong love of art and animation felt that a career creating animated films was “unattainable.”

But Scott Carroll kept returning to a childhood passion for art that his mother Gina instilled in him as she taught high school art. And Carroll said he loved watching animated movies throughout his entire life. During his active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard, he enrolled in evening classes for animation.

When he left active duty, Carroll applied for several graduate schools for animation. As he created his thesis during his final year of school at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, he was hired with George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic digital effects company. A career that at first seemed unattainable became a reality — Carroll worked on big name Hollywood films like “Van Helsing” and “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.”

“That was pretty cool,” he said. “I got to live out a childhood fantasy.”

For the past 13 years, Carroll has been working with Blue Sky Studios, a computer animation film studio. He has worked on several “Ice Age” movies and he led the animation team for “The Peanuts Movie.” As Supervising Animator for “Ferdinand” — a film starring a bull that escaped training camp to battle matadors — Carroll recalled that his service with the Coast Guard helped prepare him as a leader and hone his organizational skills. “Ferdinand” is perhaps Carroll's biggest role in a film yet. The animated picture was released earlier this month by 20th Century Fox.

Watch the trailer for "Ferdinand" here.

In the new movie, he worked for years on details like making the “bulls feel heavy” and conveying dramatic themes that will resonate with audience members of all ages: It's up to each person to determine who they are; conflicts can be resolved without violence; and bullying is never the answer.

“This film had more dramatic, heartfelt moments than other films we (Blue Sky) have done in the past,” Carroll said. “We wanted to make sure that we had genuine performances in the film, and make sure that everyone in the audience really felt for and emphasized with Ferdinand.”

He said John Cena, who voiced the role of Ferdinand, fit the role perfectly.

“He is Ferdinand, really, in terms of being this huge dude,” he said. “But he is the nicest guy you could possibly imagine. He is a really kind-hearted person, and so it gave us that 'don't judge a book by it's cover' idea.”

Carroll said he looks forward to seeing the movie and sharing it with his family during the holidays. With about 12 movies in his repertoire so far, he said he felt delighted that he could share the experience with loved ones in time for Christmas. Two of his daughters, Hannah and Lilah, shared what it's like to experience their dad's creativity on the big screen.

“It's really cool, because we keep on hearing about how his work is going. It's always interesting to see the finished product after three years of constantly hearing about it,” Hannah Carroll said with a smile. Her sister Lilah agreed.

“I think it's cool, because we hear all these people say good things about it,” she said. “So then we're like, 'hmm, that's my dad, that's pretty cool.'”

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com