Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pres Romanillos - A Kind and Phenomenally Talented Friend


Now that I have had 24 hours to absorb the news I discovered yesterday, I can start to put a few thoughts together.  I found out on that my friend, a star animator at Disney and DreamWorks, passed away this last weekend.

This young man, Priscillano Romanillos, or Pres and everyone knew him, was one of the first people to befriend me when I arrived on “Pocahontas.”  I think part of our early kinship was due to the fact that we shared Filipino heritage in our backgrounds. He was kind, full of energy, and always took an interest in others’ lives and well-being.

Pres had a rugged way about him; blue jeans with boots, swaggered a bit when he walked, and a voice full of confidence.  He had everything to be confident about.  This was one of the most naturally talented and artistic people I have ever met. 

When I came from “Boy Meets World,” and joined the Disney Feature Animation crew, Pres was already an unofficial protégé of the legendary Glen Keane.  Pres just ‘got’ animation.  To me, there are few things as beautiful as rough animation drawings.  That is, animation just out of an animator’s hands, before the lines have been simplified by the Clean Up department.

During my frequent stops to animators’ rooms, I used to gaze at Pres’ rough drawings as he was working them.  Fluid, charcoal-like pencil lines that had a brilliant energy to them.  I know Pres was aware of how much I enjoyed watching him animate.  He never shooed me away.  He was very generous.

Pres also always seemed to have a contingent of female fans that loved his work.  He toured them around our Hart-Dannon building in Glendale selflessly and somehow got all of his work done.  He loved animating.  One could see this in his passion and energy as he did his craft.

And the most alluring thing about him; with all of this confidence, talent, good looks and responsibility he took on, he was simply a good, sweet-hearted, authentic guy who was a warm spirit to talk to.  I will think of him always.

Charles Solomon of the LA Times wrote a very touching and informative article about Pres.