Media Arts & Animation
Lead Faculty, Animation Art & Design
The Art Institute of Vancouver
Have fun—whether you're animating a box sliding into frame for a commercial or giving life to a monster character for a film. Ran Sieradzki , Lead Faculty, Animation Art & Design , The Art Institute of Vancouver
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
In 1998, Pixar released A Bug’s Life, their second animated movie after Toy Story. In one scene, Hopper, the villain of the story, goes down to the ants’ dwelling because he and his gang couldn’t find the food promised to them by the ants. In his bullying and threatening way, he spreads fear among them. There’s a moment when Hopper stops, his back to the camera. He makes a subtle movement with his wings. At that moment I stopped breathing...and I remember thinking, this is what I’m going to do!
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
I treat each class as a studio where students carry out individual and group responsibilities. We review dailies and give notes on shots presented by the students. They become familiar with standing in front of an audience, learn to trust their instincts, and sharpen their eyes to see detail.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
In Preproduction class, followed by Production, the group makes a short film. They agree on a story, choose a director, and delegate roles like lead modeler, lead art, and lead animator. Then they start planning, designing, storyboarding, etc. up tilll the end of Production class, where they finish their short film on their own.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
Working with their classmates pulls students outside their comfort ones. It helps them lose their fears and learn to accept others’ opinions and perspectives. Working with other departments—just like they will in the real world—students begin to rely on other artists’ expertise and experiences.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Have fun—whether you’re animating a box sliding into frame for a commercial or giving life to a monster character for a film.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
Don’t fall in love with your work. In the industry, you work for the studio.
Anything else you’d like to share?
To me, there’s nothing like that moment when I show a student how to improve an aspect of their work and it clicks...that second when I see in their eyes the “Oh my!” moment.