Monday, January 3, 2011
Pinoy designs toys for Disney
GLENDALE, California – At 30, a soon-to-be-father of 2 is still playing with toys for a living.
From "Toy Story" to "Cars" to "Pirates of the Caribbean", PJ Palijo leads the creative Disney Team that takes movie and television characters from the screen and puts them into the hands of children.
For New York-born Palijo, a former fashion major, it was a Disney movie that would eventually influence his career.
“[The year] 1995 is when I saw 'Toy Story' when it first came out. Oh my gosh! I want to be a toy designer. How do I become a toy designer? Fortunately, an after-school I was attending had a toy design program,” said Palijo, Disney’s Design Director of Toys.
Palijo now designs "Toy Story" figures as well as other Disney and Pixar characters.
But he also went back to his Pinoy roots. Recently, the Disney team helped create limited edition Manny Pacquiao-Mickey Mouse figures available only in the Philippines.
Palijo said despite new technologies and characters, they continue to follow basic behavioral science when it comes to creating toys.
“The play pattern for a boy or girl never ever changes no matter how old you are, no matter generations of generations of kids. Little boys play with vehicles the same way little boys played with vehicles back in the 60s,” he said.
2 other Pinoys at Disney
One of his lead designers is another Pinoy, Rey Leoncio. His duty is to design toys and make them look as lifelike as possible.
“It’s a lot of work. But you know, at the end of the day, I think for me the most gratifying is when a kid tells his mom I want that figure,” Leoncio said.
Meanwhile, Bobby Saygen started his career interning for Palijo. He now designs non-action figure Disney toys such as board games and puzzles.
“The players are kinda really an international language so I explore different kinds of play throughout the world,” said Saygen, manager of Design Multi-properties.
Aside from racking up sales, they are also raking in awards.
A gravity-defying vehicle from the movie "Tron Legacy" has been nominated for the Toy of the Year by the Toy Industry Foundation. Balitang America