Leo Oliveto

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What is your name and your current occupation?
I am a freelance CG artist. I am also on the crew for the upcoming animated shorts “Hullabaloo”.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
One time I was a security guard in a middle school. There had been great tension between two large groups in the school that culminated in a pretty large standoff. Imagine two crowds of about 250 people each about ten feet from each other ready to go to war. It looked like a scene out of Braveheart or something.  The only thing between them for about thirty seconds was me. Luckily they didn’t charge. I have also been a dish washer ,gardener, and a lot of other things.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Certainly the project I have been most proud to be a part of is Hullabaloo. I have been lucky enough to know the creator, James Lopez, for several years now and have watch  it grow from sketches on the wall to a full on successful indigogo campaign. I have loved the Disney style of animation since I was a child so to be invited to be part of that team is a privilege and an honor. It’s not everyday you get to work with animation greats.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Well I was born in Buenos Aires Argentina but moved to Los Angeles when I was seven years old.  I guess you could say I’m just starting out in the animation business with Hullabaloo as it is going to be the first animation project I will be a part of.  Up to this point I have only worked on tv shows, games, and toys. How I got to this point is what I’m guessing aspiring artist would want to know. Most people would say hard work,determination, and luck. Although that last statement is true it doesn’t say much so I will tell my story. I took a job as a souvenir photo booth attendant at a special even at the Walt Disney Studio.  The only reason I took the job was to get through the gates, which to me always felt like the hardest step in the process. In the soundstage we were set up across from where some Disney animators were giving drawing lessons to attendees. I was determined to speak to one of the animators and show them my work. Once I mustered up the courage I walked up and introduced myself to to to man behind the desk. The crowd had cleared but he was still doodling on the page (this is where the luck part comes in). The man behind the desk was James Lopez. Well to make a long story short he became my mentor and over a period of a couple of years he helped me improve my drawing skills dramatically. Around this time I also decided I would go back to school to learn the CG workflow for animated films. I enrolled at Gnomon School of Visual Effects. As one of my projects I decided to model the car from Jame’s personal animated project (Hullabaloo). It was, I think, at that point when he decided to let me help him with his project. Fast forward about a year and a half and here we are. So needles to say it does take time, hard work, determination, and luck.

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Well my day usually consist of exercise in the morning. Then I get right to work. As I do freelance as a cg artist the jobs can always range from modeling, sculpting, texturing, and sometime design. I might be working at home in which case I crank up the tunes and work all day till my wife gets home. Or I might be working in an office. A work day can range from 1 hour to 18 hours long. If I have time I like to work on personal projects in the evening and on the weekends. Also I’m constantly looking for new techniques on how to create cool stuff. During my free time recently I have been working mostly on Hullabaloo.
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