Seriously. "Is Johnny Bravo Filipino?" For those of you who think that's an odd question, given he's a blonde, buffed, Elvis talking, American male, I would have to agree. From all accounts, he doesn't scream Filipino.
Russian? That would explain his love of Pancake Week.
Filipino? You gotta be kidding me!
Yet, I've been asked that question more than you would think.
The short answer to the question is, music please, (Pum puh puh pummmmmm!): "sort of."
Since I was born in the Philippines, have Filipino parents, and know a few Tagalog words (Maraming salamat sa inyo.), that would classify me as "totally " Filipino. And since I created Johnny Bravo, and I can't help but be influenced by my ethnicity and culture, that would make Johnny "sort of" Filipino.
If this were the DC universe, Johnny would be my illegitimate son from Earth 26.
I rarely get the opportunity to do international publicity (let alone Asian ones) so whenever I get the chance, it's really exciting. Below is one I did for a story on Cartoon Network Studios back in 2002. That's me on the bottom right. (If anyone can translate what it says, that would be awesome!)
Recently, CN Asia set up a press junket with various publications in the Asian region to promote "Johnny Bravo Goes To Bollywood." And this may be hard to believe but, after 15 years in the industry, it was the first time I ever did an interview with a Filipino journalist! I know, right?! Unless I count the unaired, sit down, on-camera interview I did with Cheche Lazaro for her Probe show in the Philippines (it never aired as the show ended before they put the spot together). Of course, all the people I talked to were very nice, but it was interesting to me that they were surprised by my ethnicity.
So for those of you who are still reading this post (who didn't have to go back to watching "Dancing With Stars" on their DVR), before the PR folks throw you to the media, they usually do a briefing. Below are a few of the "possible questions" I received before my interviews. Note the Filipino nature of many of them.
- Tell us about your lineage. Are you full Filipino?
- How long have you stayed in the US?
- How old are you and how long have you been with Cartoon Network?
- What got you into animation?
- Describe the animation process from storyboard to production.
- For those who are unfamiliar with the show, who is Johnny Bravo?
- What inspired you to create a character like Johnny Bravo?
- How long did it take to create and produce Johnny Bravo Goes To Bollywood?
- Why did you choose this premise for the movie?
- What, in your opinion, is the state of the local animation industry in the Philippines?
- What are the strengths of Filipino animators?
- What does the future look like for Filipino animation?
- What would you want Filipino animators to know about the animation industry?
- Do you have upcoming projects with Cartoon Network?
- What’s next for Johnny Bravo? Will we be seeing a sequel to Johnny Bravo Goes To Bollywood?
The one comment I kept getting from the reporters was that they were disappointed that I have never been back to the Philippines and know very little Tagalog (Welcome to my world.). But like the song from "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" says, "There's always tomorrow." So, in case you haven't gotten enough of me talking about me, posted below is an interview I did with Balikbayan, an Asian Journal Magazine in the Philippines, which also highlighted my roots.
So the next time somebody asks you if Johnny Bravo is Filipino (which I know they will!) you can send them over to this link.
Thanks for stopping by!
FUN FACT: CN Asia had a Bollywood poster artist paint a few 8 foot tall posters for "Johnny Bravo Goes To Bollywood" the way they do with regular Bollywood movies. Below is a copy of one of them. Enjoy!