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After several attempts at getting into the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, J.G. Quintel did not give up so easily on his dream of becoming an animator.

Instead, the 2000 Hanford High School graduate spent two years at College of the Sequoias and College of the Canyons in Valencia getting all his general education courses out of the way so he would be able to concentrate on his quest.

On his third try at admission to Cal Arts, Quintel was accepted. And this blessing in disguise certainly paid off.

While many Cal Arts students were cramming for tests or burning the midnight oil writing essays, Quintel was learning about what it takes to make an animated film, from the production side to the artistic side.

"The only thing I had to do for the past four years is draw," he said with a smile.

As long as Quintel can remember, he loved watching cartoons. The only problem was figuring out how to go about making a career out of it.

In high school, his father gave him a video camera. Quintel recalls making paper cutouts, capturing their movements at 1/4 frame per second on the video camera propped overhead. He then would dub it to a VHS and then record it again using sound. It would take him a day to create a few minutes of film.

"It is so easy now," said Quintel. While it can be expensive, the young animator said, "All you need is a computer, a scanner and a book on animation."

Quintel found out about the Cal Arts program from a poster tacked up in his pottery class at Hanford High.

He signed up for the summer class where he learned how to animate films, make flip books as well as work on equipment he had never seen alongside others with the same interest.

"It's a really good opportunity for people who are interested about that stuff," he said.

During his third year, Quintel put together a short animated film called "The Naive Man from Lolliland."

He received a lot of positive feedback and submitted it to Nextoons Nicktoons Film Festival where viewers can vote for their favorite short. Voting ends at midnight Friday, Sept. 16. The winner will be announced at midnight Saturday, Sept. 18 on Nicktoons.

To view and, of course, vote for Quintel's short film, log onto www.nick.com/all_nick/nicktoons/site/filmfest/2005/index.jhtml.

Quintel's animated short can be found by clicking on screening 3.

The story idea behind his animated short came by way of putting one word into a hat on a late Friday night. When the word lollipops were drawn about 20 students involved in the project took to their cubes for two days straight trying to come up with ideas.

Quintel admitted that he struggled at first. But soon was having a good time putting it all together. As soon as he drew the character, ideas began to flow.

After the storyboard was made, Quintel scanned the crude animated drawings and had a friend provide the voice over.

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"It got a good reaction," he said.

Out of 450 submissions Nextoons received, "Naive Man from Lolliland" made it into the top 10 spot.

Working on short animated films is the direction Quintel would like to continue.

"I like television," he explained. "You get to do a lot of episodes quick."

For instance, in one year 10 episodes can be created.

"With features," he said, "you get a lot more time to spend on it, the quality comes out way better, but it takes four years of your life to finish one project. I couldn't work that long on something."

Today, Quintel is finishing up his fourth year at the Cal Arts Institute and working as a storyboard artist for Cartoon Network's "Camp Lazlo."

"If you want to be an animator, and you're growing up here, you can definitely do it," said Quintel, who also credits his family for all their support, "They could have easily said 'get a real job.'"

(The reporter may be reached at bswarm@hanfordsentinel.com.)

(Sept. 9, 2005)

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