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Sep 202009

OK boys and girls, this post promises to be a doozy.

A  wee bit of news.

recently my wife Hortencia and I attended the Hispanic Outreach Taskforce’s fifth annual Art and Music scholarship benefit at the beautiful Whittier Hills estate of Dr. Richard and Mrs. Rebecca Zapanta.  Yolanda Garcia the owner of the Casita Del Pueblo Gallery in Whittier asked me if I could donate a painting to  the  silent auction she was coordinating at the event.

By the way, the setup was sweet!  There was a live band playing Latin Jazz, complimentary wine donated by Francis Ford Copolla, and lots of ART!

It was a really cool event, except for the frigging’ heat! As everyone knows Los Angeles was completely on fire again and boy in the early afternoon It was so hot, the beads of sweat rolling down my back had beads of sweat rolling down their backs! I did manage to do some sketches in my Moleskin and met a few really cool folks, and lots of ART!

sketchbook pages from my day at the Zapanta Estate.

sketchbook pages from my day at the Zapanta Estate.

Sketch #3 from my day at the Zapanta Estate

Sketch #3 from my day at the Zapanta Estate

Sketch # 4 from my day at the Zapanta Estate.

Sketch # 4 from my day at the Zapanta Estate.

I want to thank Yolanda  for putting together such an awesome benefit! And big thanks Dr. Richard and Mrs. Rebbecca Zapanta for letting a bunch of artists run around their property!

Moving Right Along:What does A fat lady, a DVD, King Taco, Modelo Beer, and Glen Keane have in common?

Today  I’m going to share something really cool that happened to me when I was at Walt Disney Feature Animation.  I was reminded of this  while waiting in line at the local Sam’s club this afternoon.

Which is a story in and of itself as you shall soon read.

There I was getting the essentials, you know? Root beer, smokes,  a set of radial  tires, ninety nine pairs of socks,  a five gallon jar of mustard for me, and  tin of  shortbread cookies for my wife.   In front of me stood what can best be described as a sea manatee in flip flops. A really really really fat lady.  The kind of person that  is easier to jump over than to go around. during a fire. Her cart was jammed full of fatty processed crap food. Loaves of cheese, 3 foot salamis,  a twenty four pack of hams.  Not slices of hams.  Hams! Twenty four whole hams! Plus a  tower of beef patties, half of the pastry aisle,  and like five cases of diet soda to wash it all down. She had two little kids with her.  I am using little to describe their ages okay?  These kids were not little in any way. They were diligently following in mom’s hoof prints.  Chunks off  the old block.

Jabba the Mom  started loading her stuff onto the conveyor belt.  Then she reached behind the forty five can  ravioli fun case and the 2 pack of fire extinguisher sized whipped cream bottles and pulled out a  DVD copy of  Walt Disney’s Treasure Planet. I dunno  probably to feed it to the kids on the ride home.

Then the  clerk  some greasy emo kid with a nose piercing tattoos and haircut that screamed,”My Dad didn’t kick my ass enough!”

said,”Oh wow man Treasure planet that is like so old!  I was a kid when came out! I remember hearing that they like crossed  drawings with computers and stuff. ”

The Fat lady in a voice that somehow sounded like whale song said,

“Really I thought all cartoons were done on computers and stuff  since Disney made  “Shrek.”

I almost flipped out.  There were sooooo many things wrong with this conversation I couldn’t keep count.

But what was I going to do?  Be the total douche and be all,

” Excuse me fine citizens I couldn’t help but over hear you.  I am Animation Man! A super powered being from the second dimension. My duty is to travel the universe at 24 frames per second  creating awareness of animation and correcting misconceptions!  Even the ones that the studios purposely create! Yes my young greasy lad, Treasure Planet  and more specifically Long John Silver was a hybrid character composed of a complex layering of Traditional hand drawn animation and state of the art CGI. Take it from me kid I was there. What’s more I  was instrumental in the creation of that character in more ways than one. Also seven years is not that long and what do you mean was a kid? You are still are a kid. And you my good sea manatee,  Shrek  was made by Dreamworks not Disney  Yes I know it had all the Disney Characters in it, but that’s because the makers of that movie were all bitter Ex-Disney people who wanted  to stick it to the mouse. In the end like all Dreamworks movies it made a couple of guys a ton of money.  None of them artists. And left the public feeling confused and insulted.”

So rather than look like a douche, I put on my Ipod, got a Zeppelin fix,  and proceeded with my consumerism.

Some of the talented folk I worked with on Treasure Planet.

When I got home i got all to thinking about Treasure Planet and all the great folks I got to work with.  Eric Daniels who supervised the CG animation of Long John Silver was so mellow and cool.  Big time Groo The Wanderer fan like me. When I showed him the test I was doing at the time he went bananas and convinced me to show it to Sergio Aragones.  That’s a whole other story though.


Then there was Sergio Pablos The Supervising Animator on Dr. Doppler the dog man.  In my honest opinion that chain smoking Spaniard is the Baddest ass Traditional Animator of  my generation.  The amount of care and precision that he would put into his animation was beyond reproach.  Beautifully drawn, appealing and full of character.

T.Dan Hofstedt the most talented and nicest viking I ever met.

T.Dan Hofstedt, This is a cool dude.  Imagine a big mustached viking in a Hawaiian shirt!

He looked like a Viking but was all laid back like a Hawaiian.  In fact that’s where T. Dan was from! Plus he does  Vocals  and plays  both slack-key and lead guitar in a Hawaiian Jazz band called Oahu! How rad is that Bruh?! There were many others, far too many to mention here, but I’ll say this, they were ALL  wonderful people with gobs of talent and skill I feel very fortunate to have been there.

See?!  A hoola viking!

See?! A hoola viking!

Check out his Facebook Pic!  Friggin’ Awesome!

What a Talent!  Give it up for T'Dan everyone!

What a Talent! Give it up for T’Dan everyone!

There were many others , far too many to mention here, but I’ll say this, they were ALL wonderful people with gobs of talent and skill. We worked many long hours together and for the most part spent more time with each other than with our families.

Long Ago,in  a time when animation was hand-drawn as well as heartfelt.

I remember fondly. Yes I believe it was spring 2002. Back when  I was working on Treasure Planet with my mentor Glen Keane.   Glen and I had  to work over the weekend  and finish this massive Long John Silver scene  where  Silver and  Jim Hawkins meet for the first time and  quickly try sizing each other up.  Silver is trying to do a few things.  He wants to show off to the kid by putting on some bad ass cooking skills.  But at the same  time a warning  about how dangerous that cybernetic arm can be as well as how masterfully he controls it.  Very subtle but effective display of power.

Glen and Treasure Planet  Directors John Musker and Ron Clemments gave  were cool enough to give me the props in the scene to handle on my own! The veggies, eggs,  and space shrimp were  animated by yours truly!  It may not seem like much, but to me it  was my first time “animating” not following up on a production scene. To a young punk who didn’t go to CalArts  this was epic. Despite the poker face and professionalism I displayed,  I practically wet my pants when they told me I could do it!

Glen needed to key out the last few feet and I needed to finish the keys, draw the breakdowns and inbetweens, not to mention have it shot and ready for the directors Ron Clemments and John Musker first thing Monday morning.  I stayed until 3 am that Friday night before just to have enough work set up for me to come in and spend Saturday and Sunday tying it down.

A first pass animation rough key by Glen Keane.  Check out the note Glen LEft me. Now that's trust folks!

A first pass animation rough key by Glen Keane. Check out the note Glen LEft me. Now that’s trust folks!

This is a rough of a key pose that I did on the scene for Glen

This is a rough of a key pose that I did on the scene for Glen

When I came in on Saturday I brought Glen some King Taco carne asada tacos and a six pack of Modelo beer.  He never had the pleasure of Los Angeles’ best tacos and was really grateful!  Plus the three cervezas really hit the spot!  It was nice to sit for minute and relax with my old Jefe!

Modelo Especial The official Beer of Man Vs. Art!

Modelo Especial The official Beer of Man Vs. Art!

Carne Asada Tacos from King Taco. With Modelo beer is the offical meal of Man Vs. Art.

Carne Asada Tacos from King Taco. With Modelo beer is the offical meal of Man Vs. Art.

We went back to work and a few hours  later Glen was ready to leave.  He told me how important it was for me to finish on time and knew I wouldn’t fail.

Come Monday morning that scene was inbetweened, exposed, and shot ready for the Directors to approve it.

When you have a guy like Glen Keane as your mentor and boss, you don’t let him down. And I never did!

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 Posted by at 4:54 am

  6 Responses to “King Taco with Glen Keane: A Tale from the Days When Animation was Hand Drawn and Heartfelt.”

  1. I listened to the whole podcast and I think it is really cool and also very much entertaining too. I would suggest it to all my friends so that you will have more number of listeners in the future.

  2. Hey Raul – that was a fantastic podcast! The story of eating tacos with glen keane and just talking about the character and your families etc was great and to know you had the trust of such a master of animation must of really made your day and time at Disney.

    Thanks so much for putting these together and taking the time to tell your stories about animation.

  3. oh – and when I vist LA in November, I will be eating at King Taco!

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