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9 Animation Directors Talk About Their Careers

On Monday the SIGGRAPH Keynote was held and it featured nine distinguished animation directors Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up), Eric Goldberg (Pocahontas, Fantasia/2000), Kevin Lima (Tarzan), Mike Mitchell (Shrek Forever After, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked), Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stitch, How to Train Your Dragon), Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline), David Silverman (The Simpsons Movie), Kirk Wise (Beauty and the Beast, Atlantis: The Lost Empire) and Ron Clements (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin). The panel was moderated by Randy Haberkamp of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences.

If you were unable to attend the SIGGRAPH Keynote panel, you’re in for a treat. The whole 92-minute discussion is posted online for all to see. The Marc Davis Lecture Series presented this panel, entitled “Giants’ First Steps”, which explored the student works and early careers of the participating directors. They discussed how they got started in the industry how they work through creative blocks and some discussed their challenges with drawing. They also talked about what they look for in artists’ portfolios. The more I hear working professionals talk about portfolios the more I hear “it doesn’t matter how good you draw it’s all about telling” a story and they reiterated this in their discussion.

I found their discussion very interesting and since I’m a fan of most of these movies, some even lead me to become an artist, I was really interested to get their insight. Very inspiring.

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