The Journey of an Animator
There’s no stopping for Glenn Ramos, commonly known by the students as “Sir Glenn”. After working in the Animation industry for 27 years, he is dedicating the next years passing on to the next generation the knowledge and skills he gained. A graduate of Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Far Eastern University, he began his career as a draftsman and clerk at the Population Commission (PopCom), where he was later trained to be an Illustrator and Animator for their advertisement and promotion materials. The PopCom training gave him an opportunity to tour around different animation studios and meet animators in the country.
By the time the training was completed, there was a change in the Presidency that significantly affected PopCom. The tremendous drop in their projects and in the use of their products forced him to get out of his comfort zone.
“It wasn’t easy. I worked with different studios before those projects. When One Shot entrusted me to be an Animator, I was assigned to Vietnam to be a Retake Animator in one of the partner companies, the Saigon Animation Studio. Later, I became an Animation Supervisor at another partner studio, the Star Animation Studio then Character Animator at Hahn Film Animation Studio. When my contract with One Shot ended, I went back to the Philippines and became part of Top Draw Animations. With Top Draw, I became a character animator in some of the projects such as Archie, Class of Titans and 20000 Leagues Under the Sea. Right after Top Draw, I moved to Toon City where I was given the opportunity to become a Character Animator of the Television Animations mentioned above.”
Fortunately, after Sir Glenn applied with the animation studios they toured back then, he finally landed a job at FilCartoons where his Animation career began to flourish.
Why did you choose to pursue animation over your degree?
Primarily, my reason is very practical, it was the pay. Back then, most animators receive higher salaries while experiencing a chill lifestyle at work. But I actually enjoyed illustrating, it was a fulfilment to finish every projector design.
Do you have people that you look up to in the Animation Industry?
Too many to mention! Honestly, I admire a lot of artists so usually my ideas and styles are an adaptation from different artists. My most favorite though is the concept artists of Star Wars - Joe Johnston, Iain Mccaig, and Ralph McQuarrie. I admire them because they manage to create the characters in the film (create concepts) using markers and pens alone since computers are not yet prevalent as an instrument for designing that time.
Aside from researching on artists and adapting their skill, how else did you improve your skill?
Way back [then], we don’t have the internet or video streaming sites to learn techniques so we make efforts such as reading. Personally, I also asked my colleagues to teach me standard processes and techniques. Study and practice were the two strategies I made to be better in my craft. Experience and having the chance to work in different studios helped a lot.
What kept you motivated over the years?
I always classify myself as a dreamer and achiever. When I started in the animation industry, I started as an in-betweener or the person who creates the drawings or the movement between the key drawings. I learned more about movement as an in-betweener then later as a clean-up artist. While working as an in-betweener, I dreamt to achieve the level of Animator, the one on the creative side or the brains behind every movement in the animation. Eventually, my efforts paid off and One Shot Productions trusted me to the role of Animator.
How did you get into teaching?
A friend of mine from one of the companies I worked with became a chairperson in a Multimedia School. I actually started as a replacement to a class after an instructor left in the middle of the term. I found out later that it was a great gig, I actually enjoyed teaching so until now I am in the academe. I also get to experience to teach in a vocational school. Right now, I am happy to see my students working in studios where I’ve been to. It wasn’t easy though, there was a time I had to work in an animation project then go to school for my classes.
As an instructor, what would you like your students to learn from you or the lessons as an artist/developer you would like to pass on?
In my classes, I always tell my students to take risks, do not be afraid of challenges and explore. Always strive to emulate. It’s alright to adapt styles especially with the outburst of artists these days, but as they adapt they should develop their own style. It is important to develop their passion and patience. They should always remember 4Ps: Patience, Perseverance, Passion, and Power. Power means taking care of one's health. I know a lot of good artists who ruined their career because of vices and unhealthy lifestyle, they never evolved or flourished as an animator.
Until when do you see yourself teaching?
Until my health can manage, why not? I believe that knowledge should be shared with the next generation. If no one will pass it on, nobody will continue animation in the country. Our goal as veterans in the animation industry is to share with the Filipino people our skill because many of us are really talented Animators. Nobody taught us the techniques and skills while we were young but now that there is an opportunity to build up the next generation of animators, we have to grab it so we can have a better animation industry in the country. This is also the reason why I encourage my students to keep attending training, workshops, and all. They have to be like a sponge who willingly absorbs all knowledge so it can better do its purpose. Sir Glenn also shared that throughout his journey, he has one notebook where he writes all the lessons he learned wherever he went. That helped him achieve his dream of becoming an Animator.