SVA Film & Animation
FACULTY: Howard Beckerman

animator, animation historian

I’ve often felt that doing animation is like making a kite. You sketch a design, fashion and assemble the parts, add colorful details for appeal and then behold, the kite does something special—it flies.

For me, animation is about that something else, the movement, the idea that shapes characters so they can come alive and express action. Animation’s key advantage over live-action film is that it can be choreographed in a thousand imaginative ways. Yet, much of the animation we see in the usual outlets is meagerly planned for action and lacking the freedom of movement, which is its prime strength.

Recently, I visited a nature preserve where animals ran freely. As I paused to gaze at a wide swath of shrubs and trees, I was surprised by the arrival of a family of deer walking quietly across my line of sight. They paused to nibble at some greenery and then turned and gracefully, as if in slow motion, loped off in the direction from which they had come. I was stunned by their beauty of movement.

It was breathtaking and illuminating. Their actions were not those of caged animals but of natural beings, reminding a city dweller like myself of the majesty and variety of nature in the comings and goings of various creatures. For me, animation is about novelty created through the influence of the actual world and translated through imagination to do something special.

CCNY, Art Students League

The Trip, The Plumber, Wilderness, Popeye, How the Zebra Came to Be, The Most Marvelous Cat, A Fuzzy Tale, Jack the Giant Killer, Controlling Heartburn, Mighty Mouse, Heckle and Jeckle, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Sesame Street

Xerox, Exxon, IBM, Procter & Gamble, Hoffmann-La Roche, Merck Laboratories, U.S. Navy, Grey Advertising, J. Walter Thompson, McGraw-Hill, CBS, NBC

Animation: The Whole Story, Filmmaker’s Monthly; columnist, Backstage, Animation World

ASIFA-East, National Cartoonists Society, American Film Festival

Advanced Animation Workshop II

Storyboarding and Animation