Pixar veterans' weekend presentation sells out quickly

by Liam Britten

This weekend’s hottest ticket isn’t a concert at GM Place (sorry — Rogers Centre), it’s a high-profile lecture and seminar about digital animation given by two of the top minds at Pixar Animation.

The two-day event is being held at the Fletcher Challenge Theatre at Simon Fraser University's Harbourfront Centre. Seating was limited to 200, which sold out instantly, even at the steep price of $500 per person. The focus of the two days will be career success, demo reels and getting hired.

One of the men behind the event, Andrew Gordon (pictured; you might recognize him from such films as A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Ratatouille, spoke to The Vancouver sun:

For Gordon, who works out of Pixar's main studio in Emeryville, Calif., the weekend marks a homecoming. As a student, the New York native studied animation at the Vancouver School of Animation, now called VanArts, which is putting on the master class.

"I've been involved with the school for a long time, not just as a student, but doing workshops and helping teach," says Gordon, who conducts Friday's animation class, while colleague Matthew Luhn leads Saturday's story development class.

Gordon's eight-hour session covers planning, principles of animation, staging and pose design, locomotion, gestures, facial animation, blocking, polish and acting for animation. Acting?

"We'll look at clips from films and kind of deconstruct them," says Gordon. "We get down to the basics of acting, a take or a reaction. We look at the clichés and try to figure out how do you get more complex acting, and how do we get the character to emote.

This is a pretty exciting time for animation in Vancouver. Earlier this year, Pixar opened their Pixar Canada studio in Gastown, while Digital Domain and Sony Pictures Imageworks are establishing studios set to open soon. We’ve come a long way, baby.

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Liam Britten

Liam Britten

Liam Britten is a writer and editor with a journalism background operating out of Vancouver. In addition to his work at Techvibes, he has been published in student publications across Canada, as well as local newspapers such as The MapleRidge-Pitt Meadows TIMES and The Langley Advance. An aficionado for the finer things in life — such as video games and sports — Liam is plugged into the tech... more

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