My name is Grayson Ponti and I’m a high school student in Central Florida. I love animation and I plan on doing it as a career. I work hard in several areas to try to improve my skills. These can be as obvious as painting and drawing classes to as unusual as studying people’s walks and trying to figure how many muscles are in a leopard’s leg. Some of my other interest include NBA basketball, zoology, and rock music. I have three favorite things about animation. The first is that it is the most collaborative art form I know of and so many things are involved in it. Second is that it brings people together from all different backgrounds and their passion for their art makes them combine their egos to make one united project. Last is that you can be inside a character and make people all over the world fall in love with that character.
I first became interested in drawing when I began to draw animals, a lifelong passion of mine. Animals are really a part of the person I am and I find them the most natural and easy thing to draw personally. I particulary draw a lof of elephants since they’re my favorite. Growing up most of the best films coming out in features were CG and I remember being anxious for every next Pixar movie to come out. However at the same time I was given the Looney Tunes Golden Collection for Christmas when I was in third grade and I instantly got hooked to them. So many things inspired me: the humor, the genius movement and expressions, the expert timing, the strong poses, and pretty much everything else. Although at first I mainly saw 50s Looney Tunes since they made up a majority of the first collection in a short amount of time I became exposed to the works of Bob Clampett and Frank Tashlin, which inspired me to a whole different level. Eventually between the ages of 11-12 I began to study the Disney films of the past and really felt like I had found something I really truly was looking for. However the atmosphere at that time was not very friendly to either hand-drawn animation or Disneyesque story telling and I began to get discouraged about pursuing a field in that career. Also I had a hard time because I feel like I wouldn’t be cool and would be bullied if my classmates found out I loved cartoons. I was still unaware that the technique doesn’t make everything and of the endless possibilities of animation. I started to get interested in following the footsteps of people such as Seth Macfarlane and have a career establishing my own television franchise. The idea I came up with I think still has alot of potential and merit behind it and eventually I have a desire to do something with it. However everything changed forever when I read my eighth grade graduation present, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston’s Illusion of Life. I now realized that sincerity, feeling, acting, performance, and great storytelling are the primary elements in great animation, not hand-drawn or CG. The book really opened my heart up completely and made me realize what animation is capalbe of doing as well as what it’s all about. Ever since I’ve been working hard on my drawings, reading about animation, and studying anything that I think can possibly help me. My passion grew even deeper when I started learning that there are people today such as Mark Henn, Andreas Deja, and Glen Keane who love animation and have as much sincerity as the old-guys did. I will always remember hearing Glen Keane talking about his animation of Ariel in Mermaid and how he knew he had to do that character inside. That was when I really knew I had to try to do this as a career. I began writing to animators who inspire me and to work even harder on my work. Someday I hope I can be part of this great legacy and do quality work that might just make some of my heroes proud.
Are are a few of my influences that either don’t work for Disney or work in a stage in production other than animation: Bob Clampett, Rod Scribner, Bill Peet, Chuck Jones, Joe Ranft, Ron Clements & John Musker, Pete Doctor, Andrew Stanton, Jim Capobianco, Milt Gross, Norman Rockwell, Al Hierschfield, Friz Freleng, Tex Avery, Robert Mckimson, Frank Tashlin, Ken Harris, Virgil Ross, Warren Foster, Mike Maltese, Wilfred Jackson, Dick Huemer, Joe Grant, Roger Allers, Ed Gombert, Floyd Norman, Burny Mattinson, Ruben Procopio, Ed Ghertner, Rasoul Azadani, Jean Gilmore, Andy Gaskill, Ken O’Connor, T. Hee, Ed Love, Manny Gould, Bill Melendez, John Lasseter, Marlon Brando, Humphry Bogart, Carey Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Katherin Hephburn, Ingrid Bergman, Brad Bird, Jack Lemon, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Speilberg, John Ford, Billy Wilder, David Hand, John Hubley, Chris Sanders, Dan Haskett, Robert Gribboek, Vance Gerry, Ken Anderson, Walt Peregoy, Ed Penner, Joe Rinaldi, and many more