For a young man in Fairfax County, cartoons weren't just for Saturday mornings. It was a fascination with animation that has now turned into a dream come true.
Christian Bajusz has a special gift putting ideas on paper and making them come to life.
“I took pictures of each drawing, put them on the computer and timed them with the music, sound effects and everything and the voice I did the voices for the characters," Christian said.
It’s not just a hobby. This is Christian's life. Just take one look at his closet filled with VHS tapes with every possible cartoon ever created. "I used to wake up at 5 in the morning to watch these," Christian said.
He collects the cartoons from VHS, digitizes them on his computer using a VHS machine and then studies them as they might have first appeared on the big screen or on television. The reason he prefers the old school versions is pretty simple.
"I really like the hand drawn stuff because you see, people had to draw every single frame and I admire that. How did these people do that and all those backgrounds? There's like 150 backgrounds in every cartoon. It's unbelievable. Fantasia here is definitely my favorite Disney movie because I love the marriage of animation and music coming together," Christian said.
Christian’s latest project Dorky Guy is based on a character he’s known for a lifetime.
"I like to say that dorky guy is me. My crazier dorkier side. He's very impulsive kind of naive and he doesn’t really understand the world around him but he just kind of bumbles around trying to find his way."
In many ways, cartoons have helped Christian find his way. His mom Lisa adopted him when he was just a month old. One year later he was diagnosed with autism.
"He's an amazing young man and he struggled so much his whole life. There was a great deal of anxiety needless to say because we didn’t really have a vision of the future. The isolation, being different. The obstacles he’s faced that no one should have to face and as a mom, it’s heartbreaking to see him struggle and go through that as any mom of an autistic child can understand."
At the time, his mother, Lisa said she couldn’t understand how Christian’s passion for cartoons and drawing would ever lead to a future. But what began as a fascination with cartoons turned into answered prayer. This Summer, Christian was accepted into the prestigious Exceptional Minds school in Los Angeles where this fall he will have the opportunity to learn from some of the top industry leaders of animation.
“It's specifically for young adults on the autism spectrum to teach them animation and movie special effects. All of the students that graduated from the program last year were placed in jobs," his mother said.
"This is the first open door that we’ve had... so this gives him hope and a future."
Christian was so excited he even created a Go Fund Me page all on his own to help his single mom pay for the school. It's a dream come true and a goal that one day Dorky Guy can be stacked alongside some of the other classics of Pinocchio, Bambi, Cinderella and of course Fantasia.