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Todd Jacobsen EPCOT Gran Fiesta Tour Three Caballeros

  • Client: Disney / EPCOT / Cartoons in the Basement (Director: Eric Goldberg)

  • Work Performed: Animation / Final Line

  • Project Date: 2006

It was an honor to do two scenes for Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros,” an installation in EPCOT’s Mexico pavilion based on Disney’s 1944 classic *“The Three Caballeros.” It was pretty daunting as well—I’d never attempted to rough animate any Disney characters before this, and these scenes would be playing dozens of times a day and seen by hundreds of people a week for an indefinite period. (Gulp.) Fortunately, Eric Goldberg was very gracious in guiding me while I worked on these scenes. He suggested I watch the original Ward Kimball sequence over and over to try to catch a sense of the manic acting and timing required for this project.

And, after approving my rough animation, Eric apparently had enough faith in me to ask that I clean up my work on both scenes. (Double gulp.) Again — this was my first professional experience with any of the classic Disney characters, and in the beginning clean up phases of my first scene, I kind of felt like I might actually foul up my own rough animation by rethinking and overdoing it. It wasn’t easy, but I found the solution was to mentally disassociate myself from my own earlier work and simply pretend someone else did the rough animation. After a while it made for an amusing little mind-screw, and Eric proved to be a wonderful mentor by giving me a number of Disney “tried and true” tips to guide me in my efforts.

(Note: In 2015, the entire "Three Caballeros Finale" and its animation projection [which included the horn blowing clip, seen above] was replaced with animatronics of Donald, Jose and Panchito from another EPCOT attraction.) Later, during a bit of downtime on *“The Simpsons Movie,” I took the rough layouts for another scene from this project and planned out a quick “Three Caballeros” personal test. I extended the scene slightly from its original pre-timed length and again tried to make it as Kimball-y as possible. I also added three levels of effects, which brought the total levels of rough animation to six and therefore accounts for the relative darkness of this pencil test. (I shot all the levels at home on a now-defunct copy stand with sub-par lights.)

I animated this scene in my spare time over the space of two-and-a-half weeks, and it remains unfinished.


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