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Summer SPeaker Series

Event Price: $239

Strategies for Outstanding Animation Results

Saturdays from 9am - 12pm (PDT)

Speaker clients

Our speakers are trusted by the top names in the industry!


Join us online for 3 incredible masterclass lectures by leading authorities on Facial Expressions, Movement and Character Performance and watch your animation career SOAR. When feature film and VFX studios want their teams to level up, these are the experts they turn to. Our dynamic speakers have taught and shared their expertise at places like Pixar, Dreamworks, Laika, Sony Imageworks, Nickelodeon, Cinesite, The Third Floor, MPC, Framestore, Aardman, DNEG, The Mill, Epic Games, EA, Blizzard, Netflix, Meta, and many more. Our dynamic speakers will give you the tools you need to re-think how you go about crafting a character performance, and leave you with a new sense of what it means to bring a character to life.  By focusing on each of their animation adjacent specialties, participants will take a deep dive into areas that don't typically get quite enough coverage in many animation courses. Ample Q&A time after each session will ensure you leave with a firm understanding of the concepts discussed so you can put them into practice right away in your animation work. This series is perfect for animators working in the industry who are looking to get a better handle on making their characters really come alive. If you're looking to bring that extra spark to your work that all the feature studios crave, you don't want to miss these speakers. If you've been having trouble making that jump from junior animator to mid or mid to senior, this is just the boost your career needs. If you're ready for your animations and your career to SOAR, don't miss it!!

Week 1

Saturday, June 24th

Speaking the Language of Faces:
Beyond the FACS

with Melinda Ozel

In this masterclass lecture, renowned expression scientist, Melinda Ozel will deepen our understanding of the face by providing a closer look at crucial anatomy fundamentals as well as FACS (Facial Action Coding System) popularized by Paul Ekman. She will discuss how a basic understanding of psychology, biology and linguistics can enhance our ability to create believable character performances that will resonate with audiences across the world. Leave with a richer sense of how to best use the face to communicate ideas clearly, how to stylize expressions, common facial animation mistakes and myths, and the importance of challenging what you've been told.

About MElinda

Hi! My name is Melinda. I’m a consultant and trainer in all things face related. I specialize in the anatomy, mechanics, and behavior of facial expressions. My clients are industry leaders across film, game, and tech. Having leveraged the science of facial expressions in a wide set of industries from market research to animation and face tracking, I approach my work from a multi-disciplinary perspective. My expertise is often applied toward building believable characters of all styles and informing R&D face tech.

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Week 2

Saturday, July 1st

Acting and Character Movement for Animators

with Sarah Perry

How do you start to build a character or approach a scene? Veteran Movement Director & Performance Coach Sarah Perry will lead an eye-opening workshop focusing primarily on the body and movement as a tool for performance and character development. We will explore character research, psychology, emotion & intention as well as character physicality, considering both the inside-out and outside-in creative processes. We will explore concepts inspired by Stanislavski (inside-out approach), and Rudolph Laban: Laban Movement Analysis (outside-in approach), and how these two approaches can really work together to enable you to create more authentic, well rounded, believable, and more relatable characters. These concepts can be applied to human, creature, or other animated characters. Animators will explore the skills necessary for great storytelling and for the development of acting & character movement performance choices.

About Sarah

Sarah is a movement director, performance coach and motion capture director working in Film, TV, Animation and Theatre. She teaches Acting & Character Movement for Animators


Sarah’s recent credits include Movement & Motion Capture Director for 3 short VR films for Illinois Holocaust Museum/East City Films. A very exciting project TBA in 2024 for Warner
Bros/Universal, ‘Burning Girls’ a new 6-part TV drama for Paramount + released late 2023. ‘In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats’ a VR cinematic experience with East City Films, currently on
tour worldwide. Other credits include: ‘His Dark Materials’ season 3 for BBC/Bad Wolf. ‘Dream’ a Live Motion Capture/Online Virtual Production for The Royal Shakespeare
Company and ‘A Discovery of Witches’ Season 2 & 3 for Bad Wolf/Sky One. Movement Coach on Jupiter Ascending directed by The Wachowskis and on Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by James Gunn. Sarah has worked with various renowned VFX companies including: MPC, Framestore, Double Negative, Aardman, Jellyfish Pictures and Creative Assembly to
assist their animation teams working on various projects, productions and characters, and has worked with character animators working on feature films that have included; The
Jungle Book, Guardians of the Galaxy, World War Z, John Carter, Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of The Dawn Treader – exploring character & creature
embodiment. Sarah has also taught & lectures at numerous Universities & Institutions.

Photo©EllieKurttz_Shapes in Motion_2022_212.JPG
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Week 3

Saturday, July 8th

3 Keys for Creating Better Animated Performances

with Tracy Burns

Join acclaimed Acting Instructor Tracy Burns for an interactive look at ways that character animators can craft stronger performances, shoot reference more efficiently, and get passes approved more quickly. These simple and effective acting techniques will help you achieve deeper, more relatable and believable performances and set your work apart. 

About tracy

Tracy Burns has worked with award-winning Directors, Story Artists, Layout Artists and Animators from Pixar, DreamWorks, Laika, Disney TV, Sony Imageworks, Nickelodeon, The Cartoon Network, The Sims, Cinesite and The Third Floor, among others. She’s taught at The Academy of Art, The Vancouver Film School, San Francisco State, and The Animation Collaborative. She is the Acting for Animators instructor at California College of the Arts.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I record the lectures?

No recording of any kind is permitted. You are certainly welcome and encouraged to take as many notes as needed.

What if I can't make all 3 days?

This series is being offered as a complete package. Get in touch if you are unable to attend one of the days and we can work out having someone else take your spot for the day you are unable to make it.

Is this in person or can I attend online?

All of the sessions will be presented in real time online.

What payments do you accept?

At this time you can either pay by credit card or using Paypal

I'm already a working professional animator, will this class be useful to me?

Absolutely. This series was designed with currently working animators in mind and should prove eye-opening and insightful to animators of all levels.

Are there any payment plans available?

We are not currently offering a payment plan option at this time, but please get in touch if you have a unique circumstance and we might be able to work something out on a rare and individual basis.

Cancellation Policy

The ticket price includes a non-refundable $50 dollar processing fee. Should you need to cancel 10 or more days before the start of the first session, you will receive a refund of the remainder (ticket price minus processing fee). No refunds can be issued 9 days before the event and on.

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