What is your name?
What would you say has been your primary job in animation?
I started out as an animation checker but with my architecture background, I took the bg layout test on “The Simpsons” and that’s when I started wearing two different hats – layout & checking. Then I moved on to design when WB hired me for “Pinky & the Brain.” Since then, I have been switching back & forth doing background design or layout and props, from time to time. 🙂
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I would have to say “Chowder” would top the list. I loved the style of that show, I still do, even though our department was the only non-digital one because we were hand inking all the bg designs as the style required. Kudos to Carl Greenblatt & Dan Krall, who created the show and art directed it, respectively.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I was an architect (in the Philippines) for a short while and had just passed the board exams when the opportunity to train at Hanna-Barbera in LA came. I figured why the heck not when I can get a free trip out of it. I never looked back since I moved to LA, although now I’m wondering if I ever made the right decision! 😉
How did you become interested in animation?
I always have been in love with cartoons. I spent many, many hours back home in Manila when I was a kid just fixated on that Zenith 😉 But when it was time to decide on my course for college, Architecture was just calling out to me. Besides, there was no such thing as a special school for animation where I’m from so it wasn’t even an option.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
As an independent contractor in animation, I split my time doing freelance bg design/layout work, volunteering at St. Vincent’s Meals on Wheels, and baking whenever I get commissioned to make cupcakes. Yes, I have been wearing the chef hat as well since I studied professional baking in ’05. Check out my blog: www.bluruby.blogspot.com. I don’t normally do all three in one, typical day, okay? Every day varies. It’s great to have flexibility with one’s time but scary as well because it’s feast or famine these days with animation freelance. But for now, it works for me 😉
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I always breathe a sigh of relief when my designs get approved so I would say that’s the part I like best. The same thing goes for my baking and volunteer work. To me it means I made someone happy and that’s all that matters. That’s the satisfaction I get. 🙂
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Of course I don’t like it when people aren’t happy with my work, or cupcakes for that matter. No satisfaction there!
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Things in animation, or I should say, the entertainment industry as a whole, have changed so much since I moved here a while back. Everything has been whittled down to a fraction of what it used to cost to produce a show – the budget, the schedule, the staff, you name it – but the amount of work to be done remains the same. There are more artists than there are jobs to keep everyone off the streets 🙁 Yes, there are gaming companies that offer some jobs out there but it still not enough and the same principle applies to these places – less budget, less staff…..you know what I mean.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
For my purposes, I only use Photoshop & Illustrator for work.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
When they were still alive, I had the privilege of meeting Chuck Jones while having lunch at the Warner Bros lot. Of course I also lucked out when I ran into Bill Hannah & Joe Barbera at the Imperial Bank Bldg., when WB Animation studio was still housed there, and was able to have them sign my book. Frank Thomas & Ollie Johnston (2 of Disney’s Nine Old Men) graced our little Klasky Csupo life drawing class way back – that was awesome, even though I stank at life drawing. Really not my cup of tea. Why do you think I draw BG’s??
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
It’s all in the past and I just don’t want to think about those unfortunate experiences anymore. But I would say I learned a lot from them, I think I’m a better and more resilient person for having gone through those tough times, and I believe that things always work out in the end. It doesn’t matter which company you work for, you’re bound to hit some snafu along the way. Most of all, you learn to figure out who your real friends are.
Any side projects you’re working on you’d like to share details of?
I’m helping my friend,, Bev Chapman with her pet project that she’s pitching around town called Letter Perfect (http://www.bevsworkshop.net/story_letterperfect.html) at the moment. I’m still busy with volunteer work for St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, who by the way, are always welcoming new volunteers 😉 And of course, I’m still picking up BG freelance here & there. I’m hoping to find an open door in any Non Profit Organization someday so if anyone knows of any NPO opps, please let me know.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Hard work always pays off in the end but just try to remember to enjoy what you do and it will never feel like work. Good luck!