“The Penguins of Madagascar” animator is a Kaiser High grad

Sure to be in the box office’s top five for next week’s Thanksgiving weekend is a spin-off from the three “Madagascar” movies that raked in about a billion and a half dollars—the upcoming animated flick, “Penguins of Madagascar.”

It took hundreds of hands to make it, and two of them belong to a local boy who’s fulfilling a lifelong dream.

“The dream was actually to be a cartoonist, I wanted to do comic strips,” said Dreamworks animator Todd Kurosawa, a Kaiser High School graduate. “It’s the sequential planning stage of the film that is just as satisfying. when I say the dream it’s just the fact that I’m cartooning for a living it’s great.”

Kurosawa says he’s been drawing cartoons his entire life.

He was my high school classmate at Kaiser High and even then, he was popularly known for his cartoons.

After graduation from high school and from the University of Hawaii, his first job was drawing for the second “Pigeon to da Max” book, then he moved to Los Angeles.

Penguins of Madagascar is just the latest project he’s worked on, he’s also worked on well-known animated films like “Shrek,” “Shark Tails” and others. He also worked at other major film companies.

He’s been at Dreamworks Animation for 11 years now, and started work on “Penguins” about three years ago.

“It’s great, it’s funny, I think we accomplished what we set out to do,” said Kurosawa.

Todd is also one in a chain of story artists. Once a script is written, “story artists” visually interpret the story through drawings that suggest camera angles, action and rhythm, enhancing the script by providing ideas to help make it funny.

“Then we pitch it to the directors and they say ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ and then we revise it until we get it right,” said Kurosawa.

Looks like he got it right more than a few times since he got to work on most of the sequences in the movie like
the Venice chase scene.

“It’s fun in that sense, especially when you’re working on a sequence and that idea comes that you never thought of and you’re ‘oh, this is great, this is gonna work,'” said Kurosawa.

Such as when a writer wrote a song and told Kurosawa the penguins were in lederhosen.

“So I did research on dances and they did this silly Octoberfest slap dance that I used.,” said Kurosawa.

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