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Broad Discussions of Animation

Title: Broad Discussions of Animation
Sponsored by The Creative Talent Network
Length: 45 mins

Description: Hear about the before, during and beyond a career in animation from these female icons in the industry. What were the expectations, the experiences and the reality of utilizing the various skills and talents that are required to be successful in this industry and beyond.

Moderator Sue Nichols Visual Development and Story Artist

“For years, Sue Nichols has been one of the best vis dev and storyboard people in the business, having helped to create some of Disney’s greatest animated motion pictures of the 1990s…” – Allan Neuwirth, “Makin’ Toons”. Sue is currently freelancing story and design work.

She has held the positions of Director, Art Director, Production Stylist, Model Supervisor, Head of Story, Story, Consultant / Instructor, Story Illustrator / Writer, Visual Development Artist, Character Designer, Design Teacher / Lecturer, Costume Designer, Interior Designer and Merchandise Designer.

She has worked with Marvel Productions, Mike Joens Productions, TMS, Turner Feature Animation, Walt Disney Feature Animation, Disney Television, Universal, Disneytoons, Disney Productions (Live Action), Canum Entertainment, Kid’s Clubhouse.

Panelist Kathy Altieri is Production Designer on one of DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming 2010 releases, “How To Train Your Dragon,” based on the children’s book by Cressida Cowell.  Prior to “How to Train Your Dragon,” Altieri was Production Designer on “Over the Hedge” and “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.”  When arriving at DreamWorks Animation in 1994, Altieri worked as an Art Director on “The Prince of Egypt.”  She was the first artist hired when Dreamworks was formed.

Before joining DreamWorks, Altieri worked at Disney Feature Animation as a background supervisor on “Aladdin,” the featurette “The Prince and the Pauper,” and the Roger Rabbit short “Tummy Trouble.”  She was also a background painter for such animated successes as “The Lion King,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” and another Roger Rabbit short, “Roller Coaster Rabbit.”  It was this opportunity at Disney, working directly with Jeffrey Katzenberg that made her talent and work ethic known.

Kathy attended the University of California at Los Angeles as an Art Major and also studied Illustration at Pasadena’s Art Center for three years.  She frequently teaches and speaks at conferences, festivals and at various schools about art, animation and hard work.

Join Kathy Altieri as she lectures on “Production Design:  an inside look at the process, the latest Dreamworks art, and the career path.”

The presentation will be focused on illustrating the production design process using artwork from How to Train Your Dragon (to be released March 26,2009), plus examples from other films.  In addition, Kathy will be talking about the career path to Production Designer, the kinds of skills we look for, and how to get your foot in the door.   I’ll be showing our trailer for “How to Train Your Dragon” as well!

Panelist Carol Kieffer Police attended the Art Center College of Design. During that time she majored in Illustration with a passion for traditional painting and figure drawing, and an emphasis on fashion and editorial illustration.. She graduated from Art Center at the top of her class with distinction.

Carol began work on the Ralph Bakshi Animated Feature Lord of the Rings. She was solely responsible for the styling, layout, and background painting of five specialty sequences of the movie. She was also invited to be on the faculty of Art Center, where she taught Figure Drawing and Fashion Illustration for the next four years. After the completion of Lord of the Rings, she began work with Richard Williams helping build his then, new Hollywood studio. For the next three years she worked between Art Babbit and Richard on many animated television commercials as Designer, Stylist, Animator, Effects Artist, Director, Art Director, and Background Painter: receiving an American Broadcasters Assn. Award and inclusion in FILMEX. She also worked with Glen Fleck, Inc. as a color consultant on projects for IBM, and continued actively in her freelance advertising and fashion illustration business.

Carol supervised the background department for the 3-D animated feature Starchaser. She trained artists for production, in addition to keying sequences and spending time in Korea training a large crew to paint. She then joined Marvel productions after the birth of her second daughter as a Key Layout and Development artist for a variety of TV and feature projects. She left Marvel to work with TMS productions as a Development Artist on the feature Little Nemo with Brian Froud and Corney Cole. Shortly after Nemo, Carol began work with Disney Television Animation. She used her skills as a Stylist, Painter and Color Key, Art Director, Development and Photoshop Artist on Television, Direct to Video, and Theatrical Releases. Carol also freelanced on theme park designs for Universal and Landmark Productions.

Warner Bros. then recruited Carol to help them start their new feature animation division, where she recruited artists stateside and in England and she helped develop training programs for incoming artists. She acted as Key Art Director for Development and Presentation and Art Director for their first feature Quest for Camelot (overseeing all production and character design, merchandising, maquette building,). Carol was a Location Development artist on the Dreamworks CGI feature, Shrek. , and taught at California Institute of the Arts. She joined Disney Feature Animation where she developed the movie Sweating Bullets with directors Mike Gabriel and Michael Giamo, and finished the production design and layout styling for Home on the Range. She developed character and costume design, as well as location and color styling on The Snow Queen for Disney Feature Animation. Recently she finished Art Directing Disney’s Bambi II, which greatly exceeded studio expectations on every level.

Currently Carol is consulting and overseeing art direction on the new Disney franchise DVD Tinkerbell and the upcoming Fairies Trilogy through Made in Paradise Productions as well as a sequel of Babe for Universal Studios.


Panelist Ellen Woodbury was a Directing Animator and Character Animator at Walt Disney Feature Animation for 20 years and brought to life many well-known characters, including Zazu the bird in “The Lion King,” and Pegasus the flying horse in “Hercules.” She was a significant artist during Disney’s second Golden Age of Animation and animated on all the contemporary classics from “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Aladdin” to “Chicken Little.”

Woodbury resigned her position at Disney and moved to Loveland, CO, to pursue a career as an independent sculptor, working primarily in stone. She sculpts with both hand tools and power tools and finds the process of carving exhilarating. Ellen exclaims, “Sculpting in stone is like walking a fine line between creation and destruction–one false move with a tool and you could suddenly have two stones!” Woodbury was well-known in the Animation Industry for her ability to animate animals, and loves carving animals in stone–stylized and with a bit of whimsy.

Ellen grew up in Corning, New York. She attended the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University where she earned her BFA in Film and Art. She then went on to California Institute of the Arts where she earned her MFA in Experimental Animation. Her student films won national and international awards, which led to a long career as a Disney Animator.

Woodbury is a Signature member of Artists For Conservation, a Signature member of The Society of Animal Artists, and an Associate member of the National Sculpture Society. Her marble sculpture, “Nice View From My Tail,” was juried into the National Sculpture Society’s 77th Annual Awards Exhibition held at Brookgreen Gardens August 7 through October 30, 2010. She is an invited exhibitor at Sculpture in the Park, the largest outdoor juried sculpture show in the US, held annually in Loveland, CO, the first weekend in August. Her marble sculptures, “Spiral Bunny” and “A Kiss to the Wind,” won Industry Awards in Sculptural Pursuit Magazine’s 2007 and 2008 Sculpture-Only Competitions. Her work is held in private collections throughout the U.S.

Ellen is now carving a series of stone sculptures of endangered species and has four finished pieces: a spotted owl, a frog, a tiger, and a St. Andrew Beach Mouse. She has drawings and maquettes for many more sculptures in this series. Woodbury explains, “I am at a point in my life where I need for my actions and my art to express my values and beliefs. I want to help stop the destruction of our world and to help all living things to survive and thrive.”


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