Carrying the Truth of San Leandro Youth

The Cargo

Carrying the Truth of San Leandro Youth

The Cargo

Carrying the Truth of San Leandro Youth

The Cargo

Ex-Disney Animator Visits San Leandro High School

Well known animator John Musker visits Mr. Cunningham’s art classes to give an inside look on the world of animation
Reed Norberto

On Friday, the first of December, well known American animator and film director John Musker visited Mr. Cunningham’s classes at the San Leandro High School library. The event kicked off with a brief introduction from Musker about the early days of his career and his love for art.

Musker talked about how his passion for drawing was apparent from an early age. He was a big fan of Mad magazine and would draw cartoons and caricatures for his school’s newspaper. 

Later in life, Musker got the opportunity to animate at Disney. When he wasn’t animating, he was storyboarding and doing character designs. He was there at Disney for about four decades until he retired a couple years ago to pursue his own animation projects. 

In his most recent short film, “I’m Hip,” by Bob Dorough and Dave Frishberg, Musker said it took him four years to animate it. 

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“…when I worked at Disney, it would take us about four years to make each film,” Musker said. “[…] now in my own film, I did four minutes in four years.” 

Despite how time consuming it can be, Musker likes that he has free rein over the project since it is his own.

After a bit of backstory, he showed the animation and began to explain some of the easter eggs hidden within. Most of the people seen throughout the animation are family, friends, and artists that Musker took inspiration from. One notable easter egg is the writing “A113” written on a wall around the end of the short film. This is a reference to classroom A1 13 at the California Institute of the Arts where Musker and several other well known animators began their animation journey. 

At the end of the event students were chosen at random by Musker to have a quick portrait of themselves done. At the same time as the portraits were being done, he also hosted a mini Q&A. The portraits were done with skill, bringing every student’s personality to life in the form of a drawing. 

Photo by Reed Norberto

When the bell rang, some students stayed after to ask for a autograph and thank him for his time. The event was mellow and showcased the fun that can come with pursuing passions and putting dedication into what you do. Musker is a great animator and an even greater person, definitely an example of one of the many skillful artists that exist and love to create.

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