Advanced Acting and Storytelling-Pro
Course Breakdown

Advance your ability to realistically animate engaging characters in this course. In just 12 weeks you will animate a sequence of dynamic two-person dialogue shots and learn about the key elements to storytelling in animation.

Curriculum Summary

Week 01Walkthrough – “The Winds of Victory”

In this must-see lecture from Jim Brown, Animator from Pixar Animation Studios, you will learn from his dynamic and dramatic dialogue shot from the “Winds of Victory.” He provides his personal workflow techniques and hones in on the importance of staging a character from start to finish. Watch this lecture to learn how to get the best emotional performance out of the dialogue, without falling into a typical cliched acting choices.

Week 02Multi-character shots

Less is sometimes more. Watch Jason Schleifer, Head of Character Animation at DreamWorks Animation Studio, as he breaks down the acting choices with multiple characters and how your approach can define how an audience reacts to a scene. He explains how to navigate the “quiet” moments and choose the right emotional beats to really give an impact to not only the animation, but also to the story itself.

Week 03Personality and Logic

Just like people, great animated characters are unique and have individual traits that can really define a memorable performance. Remember how loose and flexible Woody moved and how stiff and sharp Buzz Lightyear was in the original Toy Story? Learn from Cassidy Curtis, Animator at PDI / DreamWorks, as he dives into how to apply those physical behaviors to enhance the personality traits that are unique to your character.

Week 04Mechanics and Acting

Continue to refine your acting performance with strong body mechanics from Bret Parker, Animator at Pixar Animation Studios. She delves into the integration of both dialogue and physical movement by her workflow techniques making your character feel more believable and alive.

Week 05Advanced Spacing

Characters do not jump, twirl, or even walk at one constant speed. Every tiny motion in the body moves at variations of speed and timing which truly adds to the believability of the character. Separate yourself from your peers with pro Pixar animator Dan Nguyen, as he gives a demonstration of a walk cycle with our rig Bishop. Learn the techniques of “spacing” that truly bring your animation from good to great.

Week 06Advanced Polishing Walkthrough

Polishing separates the pros from the amateurs. Learn from award-winning Pixar Animation Studios Animator, Michal Makarewicz, as he walks through a shot and adds the subtle physical and acting nuances to a film-level character performance. This is a must-see lecture to all aspiring animators looking to go to the next level.

Week 07Advanced Production Polish

What is it like working on a character at Pixar? This week, we give you exclusive access to watch Michal Makarewicz walk through his shots from Pixar’s Ratatouille and see how a pro animates on memorable award-winning film characters from one of the most best studios on the planet!

Week 08Short film retrospective

Join Mike Stern, animator at Pixar Animation Studios and graduate of Animation Mentor, as he present the process he went through to create his award-winning short film, “Distraction.”
From the spark of an idea to the completion of his film, he gives you an inspiring behind-the-scenes of his workflow on how to make your own short film.

Week 09Story Pitch

Pixar Animation Studios motto is “story is king.” Brad Bird and Pete Docter are not only great animators, they are great storytellers. Animation Mentor gives you the talent like Pixar’s Head of Story, Mary Coleman, as she walks you through on how to pitch an idea, get feedback, and make the most entertaining film possible.

Week 10Story Structure Part 1

Andrew Stanton said animation is about the “observation of life.” Everyone has a story. Tell your story by understanding the structure of how a film is made. Watch and learn from veteran filmmaker Patrick Kriwanek, as he breaks down the anatomy of memorable films based on story structure, over-arching story acts, and what interests us as a movie audience.

Week 11Story Structure Part 2

Bring it all together with Eric Darnell, DreamWorks Director for the Madagascar trilogy, as he gives you insight from a Director’s point of view of how to navigate character and story arcs, emotional beats in a scene, and the value of entertainment in a film. You can only get this in-depth storytelling education from Animation Mentor – and this week is a critical week in deepening your understanding of how to tell a story with your animation.

Week 12What makes a compelling short film?

Prepare yourself for animating a killer short film, and don’t miss this unique opportunity to watch this lecture from Dean Wellins, Story Artist and Supervising Animator from the widely acclaimed film, Tangled. He leads you through his insights and personal experience of creating a compelling and memorable short film.

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