An Animator and Vis Dev artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios.
Hey Stuart! Thanks for the kind word on Frozen! That means a lot.
I had to think on your questions for a while. And the honest answer is that I don’t know the answer. Capturing a real, truthful performance on screen is such an elusive thing for me, and every shot has it’s unique challenges. If I knew the sure fire way to do it, I’d knock it out of the park every time, which I don’t.
There are all of the tools that you can use to help plan your performance, i.e. reviewing the boards (a must) , thumbnails, video reference, etc. It’s tricky to explain, but for me, at this point, all of it really comes down to how my animation feels, on a gut level. You should know the feeling you want the audience to have. Asking yourself the hard questions. Does this feel like what I want the audience to feel? Is this real to me? Is this the most I can get out of this pose? No, not yet. Can I get more of a feeling of tension. Of looseness? What if I tilt the head a bit more, push the expression so that’s it’s more visceral, what can I do to make this statement clearer, simpler?
Show others to get their immediate impression. You pour yourself into your first pass blocking, then it’s all up to your supes and your directors to let you know if your intentions are clear and right for the character and the story point.
Hey Nick! It was great to meet you too man. Thanks for the kind word on Frozen! About some of my animation on the film ;
Stop reading here if you haven’t seen it =)
One of my favorite scenes to work on was the section where young Anna sees snow out of the window, she runs up to Elsa’s door and sings “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman? Come one let’s go and play, I never see you anymore , come out the door, it’s like you’ve gone away…”
Then it goes into my good friend, Benson’s shots, up until ” It doesn’t have to be a snowman … Okay bye…”
I loved that song and it was my favorite moment in the film ever since I first saw it in the story reels. I was over the moon when I found out I was getting to animate them. It was storyboarded by amazingly talented John Ripa. I knew that all I had to do was capture the feeling of his boards and I would be okay!
Disney is pretty selective who they hire, as they should. The reality of the situation is that Disney is a group of vastly different types of artists who have different tastes and goals which adds a certain level of ambiguity even with things they look for. I can only speak for my own limited experience in being there but for me I’m always attracted to artists that have a strong draftsmanship background and a unique sense of personality in their character designs.
Best tip I learned from my teacher, Corny Cole, is to have a sketchbook and draw whenever and whatever you can around you. Draw your friends, family, people around you, draw your room, table, pencils, etc. The important thing is to learn how to open your eyes and observe life! I would even go as far as that being even more valuable then going to any art school or reading any art book. A sense of curiosity, pen and paper, and the world is all you really need~
Ah nice! It’s a pretty inspiring environment. So I’d just say to have fun and take it all in. Is that answer? Not sure. Glad you can stop by!
Awesome! I really hope you and your girlfriend enjoy it!
It’s a rush finally seeing your work on screen. Especially after you’ve poured everything you have into it. I think I kinda choked up seeing it at the premiere. You feel like you’re opening up and sharing a huge part of yourself, like this gift you’re finally being able to give to the world. ( That’s a bit heady, but it’s true, animators know!)
And I guess people sat the 2nd Disney renaissance was the 90’s, so that makes this the 3rd? I’m not really sure actually. But , I will say that it really feels like the studio is finally finding their way again, and with every film the confidence grows=)
You’re too kind! Anytime! Thanks for the sweet message.
The end of Let it Go=)
A lot of work and a lot of pressure. But like any of us who come into situations like that , you take a huge leap artistically. My favorite things I came away with was working with the mentors, and becoming really close with the other trainees. Who, in addition to vis dev, came from story, layout, and animation.
Well, let me just say that I’m so proud of the entire crew. No BS, what they did, and seeing this film develop has been amazing.
I will say that I’m extremely happy for and proud of Jennifer Lee, our writer and co-director. I really appreciated her energy and positive spirit in animation dailies, she was a joy to work with.
Ah fantastic! Best of luck to you. I always meeting the summer interns come in, the energy they bring in is contagious!
Well I can only speak from my own experience, but the last two years working at WDAS has been a lot of hard work, but have been the most creatively stimulating times of my career. From animation on Ralph, to the training program, to Frozen, and onto Zoo. I’ve always felt supported here. The films recently have been doing well at the box office, so the atmosphere is optimistic looking towards the future. It’s definitely a good time to be here.
But again, just my humble two cents! Good luck!
Thank you on behalf of the crew. I was inspired and humbled every day in dailies by the work these guys and gals were doing.