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After spending an exciting three hours with animation-industry celebrities Dan Povenmire and Tom Kenny on Nov. 5, the students of Warren’s CTE Graphics and Animation class were both intrigued and inspired by the speeches and advice of these big-name guest speakers.
An old acquaintance of Povenmire, Warren’s Graphics and Animation teacher Bill Austin contacted Povenmire to come and speak to the students. Povenmire is a writer and animator on many hit cartoon shows including “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” “Rocko’s Modern Life,” and is most recently the creator of the hit-sensation “Phineas and Ferb,” which airs on Disney Channel.
Kenny is the voice of the universally loved Spongebob, as well as 50 other voices, most recently of a character in the new movie “The Terminators.” The motivational lectures were truly an unforgettable event for the Graphic and Animation students of Warren High School.
“The best way you can define success in your life is to do something that you love for a living,” said Povenmire during his lecture. “If you are doing something you love, it doesn’t matter what you’re getting paid, it will always be enough. If you are doing something you hate, it doesn’t matter what you’re getting paid, it will never be enough.”
Both Povenmire and Kenny emphasized to the students the importance of finding a career path that they will truly enjoy being a part of. Kenny explained that he had not immediately started off in the career he is in now, and had gone through multiple jobs before finding his “soul mate” career in the animation industry. Surging motivation throughout the crowd of eagerly listening students, the speakers told of how they were able to turn a passion into a career, and encouraged the students to work hard in their education in order to succeed. In addition, they walked the students through the basic features of animation, and elaborated on the multiplicity of jobs that are available in the animation industry
“Mr.Dan Povenmire was so sophisticated and inspiring, I never was sure what I wanted to be in life, and listening to him pushed me over the edge in animation,” said junior Bryce McFall. “And Tom Kenny was outright hysterical. He made me laugh even when it wasn’t funny. They both persuaded me to do what makes me happy in life, and I now want to pursue animation for a living.”
Students were particularly impressed when Povenmire walked up to the whiteboard and began to swiftly draw the familiar caricatures of several animation characters from “Phineas and Ferb,” as he entertained the students with the story of how this show had emerged, starting from when he had began doodling his first ideas in a restaurant.
A murmur of awe, followed by rounds of applause, arose from the students when Kenny began reading down his resume list of past voices he had done, speaking each one in the character’s voice. He even sang a couple lines of popular “Spongebob” songs, as several students nodded their heads to show their familiarity with this show.
“[The lecture] showed me how a simple idea can turn into something huge, how successful you can become by pouring your heart and soul into animation,” said Manuel Fuentes.
Quite evidently, the students were thoroughly impressed and inspired by both Povenmire and Kenny.
“It was a humbling experience to meet two guys who love what they do best,” said senior Eric Valle. “We appreciate the time and effort Mr.Kenny and Mr. Povenmire took to share their stories and advice.”
After the speeches in the library, Povenmire and Kenny were given a tour of the Graphics and Animation lab, and gave suggestions for program improvements. In addition, both have agreed to serve on Downey’s local advisory board, which will meet annually to give private sector business and industry advisement.
Published: November 20, 2009 – Volume 8 – Issue 31