Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Hunched and Goofy in Vanity Fair

The latest issue of Vanity Fair has a fantastic article on the genesis of the CalArts Character Animation program and the Hollywood heavyweights who got their start there.  Among them is FLiP's own Nancy Beiman, who is extensively quoted in the piece.  Congrats, Nancy!
Annie Leibovitz with Jerry Rees in A-113.
Unfortunately, Nancy could not make it for the photo shoot by the legendary Annie Leibovitz,  taken at CalArts in good ol' A-113 with a who's-who in animation: Brad Bird, Jerry Rees, John Musker, Brenda Chapman, Glen Keane, Kirk Wise, Rob Minkoff, Tim Burton (who was not present, but was edited in later), Henry Selick, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, John Lasseter, Chris Buck, Mike Giaimo, Mark Andrews, Steve Hillenburg, Genndy Tartakovsky, Leslie Gorin, and Rich Moore.  The feature also includes personal photos from their student days, by the likes of Harry Sabin and Rebecca Rees.  

Writer Sam Kashner uses interviews to weave together an excellent comprehensive telling of how CalArts and the Character Animation Department came to be, and what life was like as a student.  

As a CalArts student from the early '80's myself, I  am totally blown away by this article.  Here's the thing: the animation students at CalArts were generally despised in my day.  We were goofy nerds, traveling in groups and talking in sound effects.  The "artistes" in the school saw us as a blemish on their scene; a trade school within an art school.  We were far removed from the ultra cool world of Vanity Fair, and yet, 30 years later, my classmates pose in an Annie Leibovitz photograph.   It is truly a testament to how far the whole industry has come, and the article touches on that.  

The print edition hits the stands in February 11, but the online version is up now!


  1. I want to Photoshop myself in...I'll use the picture where I'm holding the two lions.

  2. So funny-- As a live-action Film student at theat time (ANrrative Section too, which was even worse!) I saw the Animators as the kings of the qschool-- NIce studios nd desks up ontop of the school, lots of light, good equipment, while we poor people were in the dank basement, stitching bits of celluloid together like grubby dwarfs...

    I think the 'artistes' despised everybody, frankly (probably most of all themselves!)

    Still glad to see you guys having the last laugh, and thanks for the dose of perspective!