Some people spend their entire lives searching for their calling while others, perhaps the lucky, discover the path to that calling at a very young age. For twins Cody and Dylon Valjalo of Montebello, Calif., the latter undoubtedly is the case.
Ever since they could remember, animation has been their number one hobby. As the Valjalo boys grew up, that hobby evolved into a genuine passion. In fact, the twins state that even when they were children they felt a very aspiring sensation to create something. So they did just that.
Their notebook doodles and stick-figure post-it note animations caught the eye of grade school classmates and faculty. Once their teachers recognized their natural talent they urged the twins to consider pursuing more challenging art classes. The influence worked. After high school the twins enrolled in East Los Angeles College, both graduating in early 2016 with a two-year degree in Animation.
Almost immediately after graduation, one of their favorite college professors, Michael Bonitatis of Animation Libation Studios, was working on WorkingNation’s short film “Slope of the Curve,” and he invited the Valjalo twins to join the team of animators he was assembling. Interestingly enough the theme of the film was what the future of work looks like for Americans. Without hesitation, the twins hopped on board, although they admit their nervousness to accept the responsibility. Despite the nerves, they recognized it was the exact opportunity necessary to take the next step in their career.
As two young men in their early 20s, Cody and Dylon have grown up with rapid-changing technology. When they were in elementary and middle school all animation was done with pencil and paper. As they moved on to high school and college they shifted from the classic style to using computer software programs.
And that shift in technology has affected the workforce, “animation used to be done with studios of people. Now a whole project can be done with just five people,” explain the Valjalos.
On top of that, the WorkingNation piece was completed without any of the animation team ever meeting one another in person. One animator was in Canada while another was in Northern California.
“We were able to put this entire project together through telecommunication,” Dylon says.
Although globalization and technological advancements have made changes to how animation work once was done, the twins believe that using the internet has been a massive help to what they’re doing as animators. Through the internet and social media, the twins are able to promote their work, personal pages and animation services.
Their YouTube channel, Yugimation, has over 14,000 subscribers and has brought work to their desks. They can take jobs from anywhere in the world. As long as they have their computers and internet access, the twins can find opportunities to put their skills to work.
When considering what their careers will look like down the road, the twins believe that a good way to FutureProof themselves is to adapt and expand with technology.
“The way things are going, nothing is certain. You’re not guaranteed a job.” But what is guaranteed are the skills the Valjalo twins learned in college.
But despite the uncertainty of what the future holds for their careers, the Valjalos will continue to do what they love, and work their hardest to hone their skills and make a living doing it.