Nov 26, 2018 10:03 AM EST

What Is It like Being a Disney Character Animator? Jorge Ruiz-Cano Gives Us the Details

What Is It like Being a Disney Character Animator? Jorge Ruiz-Cano Gives Us the Details
Jorge Ernesto Ruiz-Cano grew up in Venezuela and graduated high school at the age of fifteen.  He then came to the United States with hopes to become a lawyer despite the fact that he had previously told family and friends that he would grow up to become a Disney animator.  After taking a few art classes, law school became a distant memory as he attended Art school and earned a talent development internship with Walt Disney Animation Studios.  Six years later he has worked on a number of Disney films and is a Character Animator for this month's release, Ralph Breaks the Internet.

In his presentation last week Ruiz-Cano spoke not only about his early life but what goes into creating the ideas and concepts that eventually becomes the characters of our favorite Disney films.  He explained that the drawings he showed are quick sketches of ideas simply to "pitch" to the directors and head animators in order to get approval to move on to the next phase.  He then specifically showed the beginning phases of one of his favorite characters, Mr. KnowsMore (voiced by the very talented Alan Tudyk; Firefly) from this new film. 

Ruiz-Cano spent the next forty-five minutes exciting us with his passion for animation, imparting some wisdom, joking, and pointing out an Easter Egg from Moana (in the pile of bones in the giant crab's psychedelic lair is the Genie's lamp from Aladdin).  He discussed what it means to him to be a character animator working on projects that audiences love.

He then elaborated about some of the challenges of making Ralph Breaks the Internet, especially how to recreate the internet in animated form. He stated they spent numerous meetings discussing how to represent the world wide web.  He also mentioned Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures) as Yessss and how they worked to animate her personality in the characters.  Finally, he mentioned what a thrill it was to have the actors who voiced the Disney princesses come into the studio to reprise their roles in what was truthfully one of the best scenes in the film.

Ruiz-Cano is clearly passionate about his job and he is eager to share that excitement with everyone he meets.  He had many antidotes and insights about Walt Disney Animation and making Ralph Breaks the Internet that kept us entertained for an hour.  It's clear he loves his work and it shows in the quality of the products he helps produce.


About Allison Skornick-Rose

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