Meet Pinoy animator behind 'The Simpsons'

By Yong Chavez, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Jul 09 2014 05:04 PM | Updated as of Jul 11 2014 12:45 AM

HOLLYWOOD - A Filipino animator in Hollywood proves that life can be rewarding for those who persevere.

Airing since 1989, critically acclaimed and international hit "The Simpsons" is the longest-running American sitcom.

This year will be The Simpsons' record-breaking 26th season. One of the people behind its success is Filipino animator Jess Espanola.

"Assistant director ako. So in charge ako sa pag-che-check ng quality ng lahat ng technicalities, sa camera, scenes, yung acting,” said Espanola.
Due to his excellent work, Espanola received an Emmy in 2008 for being a part of an award-winning "The Simpsons" episode.

“Nai-apply ko yung mga Filipino jokes doon na tuwang-tuwa naman sila pag napanood nila, ang mga producers and writers,” he said.

He added, “minsan nga nababanggit ang mga Pinoy sa mga jokes”.
Apart from "The Simpsons," Espanola has also worked on other wildly popular projects like "Smurfs," "Futurama," "Scooby-Doo" and many others.

Espanola had a very challenging early life before finding success in America. His mother was raped and he was born as a result.

Their life was mired in poverty but Espanola never gave up.

Espanola was able to pull himself and his family out of their difficult situation by doing well in school and honing his drawing talent which eventually got him a job as an animator.

His story provides inspiration to many Filipino immigrants. That's why he's been honored multiple times by the Fil-Am community.

He was also recently chosen as one of Historic Filipinotown's ambassadors of goodwill.

“Proud din ako na lagi akong napipili na mabigyan ng award,” he said.
His advice to young Filipinos with drawing talents: “Ituloy-tuloy lang nila yung interest nila. Yung enthusiasm nila sa animation kasi hahanap at hahanap din yun ng daan pagka tinuloy-tuloy nila."