These people have all had direct experience with Animation Portfolio Workshop, its programs and instructors.  Over the years, we’ve made numerous videos that invite you to sit in on conversations with Animation Portfolio Workshop students, their parents, animation education professionals. apwnetwork_banner  

Aaron Hong

Aaron Hong was an Animation Portfolio Workshop students in 2005. He was accepted into Seneca Animation Arts Centre's Animation Program. When he was accepted to Seneca, Aaron received the Canon Award for best animation portfolio. Aaron: I went to Wexford C.I. the special-series art school. I did four years of art there. I did illustration, printmaking, and life drawing. We did basic shapes in the (animation portfolio) workshop. We did anatomy, we did animation, we did storyboards. I had never done them before. It helped me to see shapes in the figure that I hadn't seen before. It made my life drawings three-dimensional without using shadow. Just, all the time you guys spent with me on my drawings, how to improve them, what to look for when I am drawing…

Angelo Libutti

Angelo Libutti speaks with Animation Portfolio Workshop director Gerard Sternik about the Anatomical Life Drawing for Animation course and about Angelo's experience working in the animation industry as a storyboard artist and animator. Gerard: You worked on the Triplets of Belleville film, didn't you? Angelo: Triplets of Bellville, I did a Puma commercial, it's been showing all over the world... Gerard: You did some storyboard work for Disney didn't you? Angelo: Yeah, storyboards for Tarzan, with Charlie Bonifacio and some other storyboard for Disney live-action for this comedic giant, Vince Peets. You came up from nowhere and asked "are you guys interested in an Anatomy course?" I said, "what the hell are you talking about, that's unbelievable!" It's beautiful because you can really feel the mass so you really understand...if I pull the muscle here, you see something else moving over here. So we went inside this...what do you call it?...this huge fridge. It was like, "ok, here is a left hand, here is a front of a face, here a right leg, here a metacarpal...I said "Woah!" When you see the muscles you realize, and the things that you study in a book...you'll never really get it until you can see it. Gerard: It's a real experience. Angelo: Absolutely. And you really feel the bone right here and if you don't understand you can move it with your finger to really get the 3D aspect of how all these little masses one on top of the other. It makes you see how they are all really attached. And on this other one (points to drawing) I studied the ones you told me "if you pull this muscle here, the hand moves here. I tried to understand all of this overlapping ... Gerard: The flexor and extensor tendons. Angelo: I don't know what else... Gerard: Grazie, grazie. Angelo: You're welcome, man. Gerard: Boy, those are nice things you said, Angelo.

Auguste Chang

Auguste Chang came to Canada from Taipei in Taiwan. He sucessfully completed the Animation Portfolio Workshop in 2003. Auguste was accepted into the Sheridan Animation Program and after finishing there, he has worked in the animation industry in Toronto. Auguste: I think that I am learning some of the basic methods of drawing of western art, which I didn't know about (when I was) in Taiwan. And also some animation stuff like storyboards and drawing cartoon characters. I started with you guys and basically, just leamed how to draw. Gerard: And did you find that it helped your portfolio a lot? Auguste: Sure, and it also helped my drawing. I think that's more important. Gerard: You're going into Sheridan (animation) next year right? Auguste: Yes.

Brian Lemay

Brian Lemay has taught at two major animation schools in Ontario. He is currently an animation instructor at Seneca Animation Arts Centre. He has also spent many years teaching animation in Sheridan College's Classical Animation Program. In the late winter of 2005, Brian agreed to be interviewed by Gerard Sternik one of the founders of the Animation Portfolio Workshop. Brian: The program that we’ve set up here at Seneca (Animation Arts Centre) College is a two/three year program where the first two years are traditional classical animation and the last year is an option where you have to go into either 3-D Maya, 3-D Gaming using Soft Image, or you can go into Visual Effects. There are easily over 10,000 (animation) portfolios we’ve looked at over the last 10 to 15 years and by and large, the majority of those (animation) portfolios are from students who come straight out of high school. Because of the funding cuts that have taken place over the last 10 to 15 years at the high school level, it’s the arts programs that usually get cut, and we are seeing some not very good looking drawings from those students. Primarily in the areas of perspective and life drawing, those are the two key areas that we see an abundance of bad drawings. When you guys set up (the Animation Portfolio Workshop) your program, we started to see a turnaround in that. Obviously, whatever it is that the Animation Portfolio Workshop is teaching them is sticking and it’s working and it’s a notch above what’s going on in the high schools. Even to the point of actually being college-level work. And so, the (animation) portfolios that we’re seeing that are coming from the Animation Portfolio Workshop are far superior to the ones that we’re seeing that are coming in from the high school level. There’s almost a marked difference that you could pick out when you thumb through them. The idea of taking students and giving them a really well based education in the basic principles of life drawing, of structural anatomy, understanding how the skeleton works, how the muscles work and then dealing with surface features on top of that, and then starting to play around with the emotional context of the character is extremely important and (the Animation Portfolio Workshop is) you guys are obviously doing an amazing job with that based on the portfolios that we’re seeing. It makes our end of the education system that much easier. The Workshop is really good. Gerard: It’s the best damn thing since sliced bread.

Chris Cherkas

Chris Cherkas used the animation portfolio that he created when he was a student in the Animation Portfolio Workshop to apply to and be accepted into Seneca's Animation Arts Centre. Chris: It's geared for building a portfolio to get into (animation) schools. It involves life drawing character design, room drawing object drawing, a little anatomy - you definitely work on the skeleton and work on learning some muscles. You basically build what you need for the animation portfolio. It doesn't matter what (animation) school (you want to apply to), you just show and say "this is the portfolio I need" and that's the way you will push that person to go.

Claudio Gonzales

Claudio Gonzales took the Animation Portfolio Workshop in 2004.  At that time, he was a High school student at Bishop Allen CHS in Etobikoke.  After completing the workshop, Claudio studied anatomy with Gerard Sternik.  Claudio was accepted into Sheridan's Animation Program. Claudio: They had your poster in my art class - Bishop Allen, where I went to high school.  They had it up on the wall and it said all these things about how they can help you to get into courses and that it teaches you how to make a portfolio.  I had no idea how to do a portfolio so I called you guys. Gerard: Well, obviously it (the Animation Portfolio Workshop) improved your chances because you got in to the animation program. Claudio: I got in.  It was on my first try, which they told me that no one does. Gerard: Not very often.  So, how do you feel about that?  How do you feel about the (Animation Portfolio) Workshop ?  Do you feel it was positive? Claudio: I just don't know what I would have done if you guys weren't running.  I don't know what I would have done.  I wouldn't have gotten in (to animation school), not for a while. Gerard: Without the workshop. Claudio: No, not for a long time. Gerard: Why? Claudio: Because, all the stuff that I learned here I don't think I would have learned it anywhere else.  They don't offer it at high school.  I'd have to take about eight separate courses, all that were taught well, to learn what I learned in this one (course).  Life drawing just for volume, life drawing just the head, life drawing for structure...that's what I'm saying.  I'd have to take eight different courses.  I think that anybody that wanted to get into an animation school like Sheridan or Seneca is looking for you guys.  They just haven't found you. Gerard: (Do you have) anything to say to students who are in the position that you were in, say, a year ago? Claudio: What are you waiting for?  It's Gerard and Vince!  They're, like right here!  Don't go anywhere else, they won't offer the same things. Gerard: Thanks, Claudio. Claudio: No problem.

Fatima Pouya

Animation Portfolio Workshop director, Gerard Sternik talks to Fatima Pouya about her son, Bahador's experience studying with the Animation Portfolio Workshop and the difference she was able to see in his portfolio done before and then his portfolio done after taking the Animation Portfolio Workshop. Bahador was accepted to Sheridan College for Classical Animation and he also studied at Seneca's Animation Arts Centre. Fatima: His teacher found out that, you know, he is very good at art. And I told him that that's the reason we came to Canada and we are interested to know if anybody can help us. His teacher advised us about an ad. There was an ad in his high school and that ad was from you guys (Animation Portfolio Workshop) Gerard: About the Animation Portfolio Workshop. Fatima: Yes. So we came to you and we enrolled for the first semester. Gerard: We didn't see Bahador for a long time after that, he went back to high school. Fatima: Let me tell you about the differences I found. Bahador was good when he went to Sheridan Art Fundamentals for one year of Art Fundamentals. I saw his portfolio. It was good. To me, who is unfamiliar with these kinds of things, that was incredible...to me it was outstanding - everything was good. Then when he came to you guys after having the second portfolio, I could see the changes. I could see the differences. I thought "No, that couldn't be incredible, this is it!" Gerard: What kind of differences did you see, Fatima? I'm curious. Fatima: For example, I'm not sure what you guys name it, but those animals that he drew, the animals were the kind of animals that were alive! They looked alive! Gerard: Three dimensional... Fatima: Yes! Also there was another one that gave the perspective of the home from different kinds of views. You could imagine yourself right in the home, seeing the corners of the home. It's not a picture, it's real! Gerard: It was your living room he drew. Fatima: That was really good. To me, his portfolio was really good and hopefully he got admission. That tells me that you know, yes...he made it. We owe you, both of you for this improvement and this success. Gerard: Thank you. Fatima: You're welcome. Gerard: You know, also that his animation portfolio score from Sheridan was very high. Fatima: Yes.

Graham Finlay

Graham Finlay completed the Animation Portfolio Workshop in 2006.  He got into Seneca's Animation Arts Centre and currently works in northern Ontario as an animator. Graham: My name is Graham Finley, I’m 22. I’m from Edmonton Alberta. I was at the University of Alberta studying English and chose that that wasn’t really for me so I thought I would go back and fulfill a childhood dream, I guess, in studying Animation (in Animation School).  I think one of the major focuses of the (Animation Portfolio Workshop) course is not only Drawing For Animation but just really how to draw and I think I learned that most of all. That was the most important thing that I’ve taken from the (Animation Portfolio Workshop) program.  Working with Gerard and Vince you learn how to conceive of a three-dimensional form and communicate that through your drawings and I think that was the big change in my (Animation) portfolio, that it went from flat images to more three-dimensional volumes and I think that was one of my strengths this year as opposed to last year. Gerard: Do you think you get your money’s worth from the (Animation Portfolio) Workshop? Graham: The (Animation Portfolio) workshop? Absolutely. I think when you compare it to other schools and you consider the fact that it’s a 13 to 1 learning ratio. That in itself speaks a lot. Having been to University before and you’re in lectures of up to 400 people in a session and you’re paying less for this course than you would for one of those… Gerard: That’s very true. Graham: There’s a lot more attention given to you and a lot more personal guidance. Not everyone comes in on the same page and people come into it (the Animation Portfolio Workshop) at different levels. And I think that’s definitely a strength of the (Animation Portfolio) workshop that Gerard and Vince really have the opportunity to specifically educate you in the areas that you need the training. I really wanted to blow the doors open with my portfolio and really assure myself that that I was ready to learn what I was there (in animation school) to learn. I think that once you are in Animation school you’re there to learn how to animate your drawings, not so much to learn how to draw. So I think now, having been accepted to both colleges (Sheridan Animation and Seneca Animation Arts Centre) I’m pretty self assured that my drawing abilities aren’t going to slow me down or impede me from learning what it is I’m there (Sheridan Animation or Seneca Animation Arts Centre) to learn.

Joe Lague

Using the animation portfolio he created when he took the Animation Portfolio Workshop in 2003, Joe Lague was accepted into Sheridan College's Animation Program. Gerard: How did you hear about us? Joe: Well, I grew interested in animation and I don't know how it got in our school but there was a flyer in the art room and I called you guys up and came down for my first class. I was one of the better students in my high school and in my first class I was just shocked at how different it was. Gerard: You just finished your first year at Sheridan, right? Joe: Yup. I just finished first year at Sheridan. I'm going into my second year. Gerard: Do you think that the stuff you did in the Animation Portfolio Workshop helped to prepare you for first year? Joe: Oh, yeah... Gerard: How? Joe: If I applied (to Sheridan animation) without going to the (Animation Portfolio) Workshop there is no way I would have gotten in. It taught me so much. I thought I knew perspective drawing, you know - you ude a ruler and you do perspective drawing - I was off by that. There's so much more to it. I learned basic character design from Vince, I learned storyboarding from Vince. I learned a lot about Life Drawing from Gerard (this was) something I had never even done before. And I really learned a lot there. If it wasn't for that I really wouldn't have gotten i (to the Sheridan Animation Program)

Jose Rivas

Originally from Venezuela, Jose Rivas came to Canada with a plan to go to animation school and pursue a career as an artist.  He studied with the Animation Portfolio Workshop in 2005 and was accepted into Seneca's Animation Arts Centre.  Jose accomplishments in animation have lead him to continue drawing and painting.  He currently is an instructor with the Animation Portfolio Workshop. Jose: I’m from Venezuela and I’m 21 years old.  I found the Animation Portfolio Workshop website… Gerard: You found the Animation Portfolio Workshop website when you were in Toronto? Jose: Actually, I found the Animation Portfolio Workshop website before I emigrated… Gerard: In Venezuela? Jose: Yeah, in Venezuela.  I was just thinking , ’I want to go to Sheridan (Animation) and I need to get everything ready now.’  I didn’t know how to put a portfolio together (for Animation School) so I looked for ‘portfolio’ online and there it was, the Animation Portfolio Workshop website. I think the Animation Portfolio Workshop is probably the best option you have available to you if you want to get into animation school because it gives you all the tools.  Everything is in here… Gerard: The Animation Portfolio Workshop? Jose: The Animation Portfolio Workshop, yeah, everything.  You go from Life Drawing for Animation to Character Design to Storyboarding.  Everything is covered.  And you feel very comfortable since, from the beginning you are given the tools and you are built up in your confidence.  By the time you have to turn in your portfolio to an animation school you are not worried about ‘am I going to get in?’  You know if you’re going to get in or not (to the animation school you choose) depending on how hard you work. So, I think the Animation Portfolio Workshop is really good.  The Animation Portfolio Workshop gives you the tools and you know if you will be ready or not by the time the portfolio is due.

Larry Diflorio

Larry Diflorio was the coordinator of the Seneca Animation Arts Centre from 2002 to 2004.  His professional experience includes working at Mainframe studio in Vancouver President at Waterproof Studios Vice President / Head of Production at Mainframe Entertainment / Rainmaker Entertainment .  He agreed to be interviewed by Gerard Sternik, director of the Animation Portfolio Workshop to speak as an animation education professional about the APW. Larry: The skill-set that we (Seneca Animation Arts Centre) are looking for and the artistic ability that we (Seneca Animation Arts Centre) are looking for is something that I discovered in (Animation Portfolio Workshop) your students that you’re giving them the strongest base I can find.  We now get this talented student that has a very strong base and the ability to do what we (Seneca Animation Arts Centre) want them to do very quickly.  What (the Animation Portfolio Workshop) you guys have done is you’ve broken it down to the essentials: what do you need to be successful at applying to a (Animation School) college? Gerard: Are there some basic points that you’ve noticed that really stand out about the difference between portfolios like these ones from our students and a general kind of portfolio that you would get from someone who hasn’t taken the Animation Portfolio Workshop? Larry: One of the main elements that I notice from your student’s portfolios that they submit is the professional quality.  The line quality is outstanding.  The perspective understanding is outstanding.  Their life drawing, muscle structure, skeletal structure, proportions are all very strong.  The portfolios that you’re students hand in are usually in the top three percentile of students that we (Seneca Animatiopn Arts Centre) get.  Foreshortening, everything is very strong.  I can almost tell an Animation Portfolio Workshop.com student. Gerard: Oh, really? Larry: That’s our goal, to constantly look for the strongest students wherever we (Seneca Animation Arts Centre) can get them.

Laurie-Anne Yager

Laurie-Anne Yager talks about how she as a parent sees Mitch's experience as a student of the Animation Portfolio Workshop having an effect on her son. Laurie-Anne: He couldn't wait to go to class.  He was just like "I  can't wait, it's all I wanted to do" - draw, then come to class and learn more so he could draw again.  He would bring things home and I would say, "that's very goo" - "well no... because Gerad said it's not...or Vince said..."  But he didn't take it as a negative - it was more like - "I want to learn more, I want to learn more"  That's where I thought he was building the confidence and the security.  And it was like - "Yeah, this is good and it's way better, but I can do better.  It's his passion.  It's what he loves.  And you guys obviously love it too which the kids know, they can feel it from you.  Mitch would talk about you guys and he would say "Vince is more like this but Gerard is like this".  In awe, of course, because you guys are doing what he wants to do.  Draw.  He keeps saying "all I want to do is draw, Mum.  I just want to draw.  I definitely think that if your child is in a high school program and wants to pursue art, then get them into some extra program.  Whether it be the Animation Portfolio Workshop or another drawing course because they don't get enough in high school.  Even if you have the talent, you're not getting enough (drawing instruction) and you need to have time to draw.  You can't be having seven other subjects and studying and also putting your time towards your drawing and be good at it.  If you're doing five things and you're only focusing on one it makes a big difference in how much you can accomplish.  He knows he's solid and that'll give him the confidence to do a little bit more and a little bit more.  Because you don't want to plateau because you know what?  Everyone can always get better. you can always get better. Gerard: That's true.  I told you, what a personality, eh?

Lianna Murdoch

Lianna Murdoch was a student in the Animation Portfolio Workshop in 2002.  She applied to and was accepted into the Sheridan Animation Program.  Lianna is currently working in Toronto, Canada as an Assistant Background Colour Artist at Big Soul. Lianna: The Portfolio I put together (after I got) out of high school was really bad.  I kind of knew what they were looking for but not really.  I wasn't getting any of that (info) from the life drawing classes that I  was taking or from high school.  My art teacher tried to help me as best he could but he didn't really have any experience.  I wouldn't have gotten into animation school without it.  You guys started us from scratch again and basically taught us how to life draw for animation properly and do the other drawing for animation the way that animators do it so we could go that way instead of just guessing at what type (of drawings) they want to see.  You just show up and you meet a bunch of people around your age.  You guys are great, you don't intimidate us you just do your thing and teach us and make us...good. Lianna:  He's intimidating you now. Vince: sorry... Lianna:  It's the camera... Gerard: I share your feelings entirely.  You got into Sheridan, right? Lianna:  Yeah. Gerard: And you're going into second year this year.  You're liking that? Lianna:  Yeah!  Basically what happened to me was that I didn't know enough.  I don't know where you would find the type of stuff I learned if I didn't come here.  I don't really know. Gerard: Thanks a lot. Lianna:  You're welcome. Gerard: Ok, that's it...you're a free woman. Lianna:  Is that going on the website too?

Mira Aryev

Mira Aryev talks about her daughter Sheira's enthusiasm and excitement for learning how to draw.  Sheira took the Animation Portfolio Workshop and then was accepted into Sheridan's Animation program. In 2007, Sheira graduated with her Bachelor of Animation from Sheridan and now works for Steam Films a commercial film company in Toronto, Canada. Mira: I don't really think that she loved drawing as much before (taking the Animation Portfolio Workshop).  I think that after taking the year (with the workshop) it just was amazing.  And I loved the idea that she was so much into it that she didn't come with us to the cottage.  We were all at the cottage for the whole month of August and she didn't come to the cottage.  She was here (in Toronto) drawing.  She had to stay home the whole time just to come once a week for drawing.  So, you guys are just absolutely amazing.  I think that you have the passion for it and you love what you do and the kids feel it.  She just loves coming here.  I told her that if she doesn't get in (to Sheridan animation) it's ok she will just take another year with you guys and then try again.  I didn't even want her to go to any other college  that teaches animation I just wanted her to be patient and do her job and get in.  And then she got in!  Actually, I let Sheira choose and she told me "mummy that's what I want to do and please, mum, just sign me up and I didn't have any problems.  I don't think that it's extra, it just depends on how much they really want to do it and how much they love it.  She absolutely adores (drawing).  She  would go to museums and spend hours, go to the zoo for the whole day!  If their children love drawing, they would just sign them up (with the Animation Portfolio Workshop).

Myke Bakich

Myke Bakich graduated from Sheridan’s Batchelor of Animation Program in 2007.  In 2002, he took part in the Spring/Summer Session of the Animation Portfolio Workshop. After graduating from the Bachelor of Animation Program, Myke created the animated film "Grumpy Old Man". In addition to working as a storyboard artist at Starz Animation, Myke also teaches  Life Drawing and  Drawing For Animation for the Animation Portfolio Workshop in Toronto, Canada. Myke: It (the Animation Portfolio Workshop) taught me how to draw for animation.  Certain skills like gesture, constructing forms, different exercises that really improved my drawing and put me in that direction. The thing about the Animation Portfolio Workshop is that it was exactly what I was looking for.  I learned everything that I was looking for that I didn’t get in high school, that I didn’t get in Art Fundamentals and when I went from the Animation Portfolio Workshop into first year of Sheridan Animation I found that everything was familiar, all the assignments, all the projects, we had tackled them in the Animation Portfolio Workshop.  I wasn’t surprised or underconfident about any of the work.

Nathan Gaul

An interview with Nathan Gaul, who completed the Animation Portfolio Workshop in preparation for applying to animation schools in 2005.  Nathan's animation portfolio was accepted and he went on to study at Seneca's Animation Arts Centre.  Nathan is currently working for Dark Matter Entertainment an independent game development studio in Toronto, Canada. Nathan: Basically, I found out that all the life drawing training that I had was not too in depth.  They told us about gestures and stuff like that, but it was more just "art fundamentals" like the title suggests - just the fundamentals.  I just didn't understand what they were looking for in the (animation) portfolio.  No one ever really told me about it.  So, I really didn't have a focus and that is the main thing about the workshop - I always knew (in the animation portfolio workshop) what I should be working on next as far as my life drawing went.  When I came here, I had ok gesture, but all my drawings were pretty flat and a little out of proportion and you guys helped me to work on that a lot.  Oh yea...it's definitely worth the money and I found that everything I put into it - if you guys gave me suggestions and I did what you said, then I saw improvement.  Everytime you guys had suggestions and I put the work in, I saw results.  There are not too many places like that - for life drawing especially. Gerard: Thanks, Nathan. Nathan: No probs...

Saud Boksmati

Saud Boksmati is from Tripoli, Lebanon.  He took part in the Animation Portfolio Workshop as a student back in 2002 and then after studying in the Sheridan Animation Program, he has been working in various capacities in the animation industry in Toronto.  Saud recently has taught Drawing for Animation for the 2009 Spring/Summer Session of the Animation Portfolio Workshop. Saud: Coming in to your classes, I’d never done life drawing before.  I didn’t have a very good background in art.  I never did any art in high school.  I also came from a middle eastern background, I lived in Saudi Arabia so life drawing was totally out of the question, it was against my religious principles so it was quite a challenging decision for me to make.  What I learned from the (Animation Portfolio) workshop was basic classical drawing and I learned it very quickly.  You really managed to come thru and connect to the students.  That’s why I learned so fast. Gerard: You’re going into 2nd year of Sheridan (Animation)? Saud: Right now I’m going into 3rd year (of Sheridan Animation).  I just completed 2nd year (of Sheridan Animation).  I found though, that after doing the (Animation Portfolio) workshop and going into 1st year (of Sheridan Animation) I was already prepared and had covered a lot of the things you taught me and 1st year (of Sheridan Animation) was pretty much a review of what you guys taught me.  It’s all about hard work and how much you push yourself to learn and it’s from friends, from teachers.  It’s just a matter of you working as hard as you can on a day to day basis.

Sheira Aryev

Sheira Aryev took the Animation Portfolio Workshop as her preparation for animation school.  She was accepted into Sheridan's animation program and in 2007 completed her Bachelor of Animation.  She presently works in Toronto, Canada for Steam Films. Sheira: Hi I’m Sheira.  Well, in high school there were posters of the Animation Portfolio Workshop and in grade eight I just found my interest in cartooning and Animation.  It was my dream to go into Sheridan (Animation) because that was the only Animation School I knew of.   I saw the posters and called you guys up and then I started drawing with the (Animation Portfolio) workshop and I got into Sheridan (Animation).  Going to the (Animation Portfolio) workshop you’re in this artistic atmosphere where I always want to draw.  That’s how I started going to extra life drawing classes and that’s just how I got involved in Animation and without that I would have been just cartooning and drawing and copying and tracing things instead of understanding 3-D form which you helped me learn about.  I went to the zoo and drew animals and that was very helpful.  There were a lot of things that I never thought would have been useful in my (animation) portfolio that I did include in my (animation) portfolio. Gerard: And you’re going to Sheridan (Animation) next year? Sheira: I’m going to Sheridan(Animation), yeah. Gerard: And you’re pretty happy about that… Sheira: I’m very happy.

Theo Cornejo - September 18, 1982 - October 30, 2009

Theo was a student in the Animation Portfolio Workshop in 2002.  After completing the workshop and studying storyboarding with Vince Peets,  he studied film at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. Theo wrote, shot and edited a number of short films.  His young and promising career as a film maker was cut tragically short.   On October 30, 2009 Theo died in a car accident.  He was 26 years old. Theo: You guys gave us a certain time for us to actually learn how to draw.  How to look...how to think when you're drawing.  It's a way of thinking and surprisingly it affects the way that you draw and it comes out in your drawing.  When I took Vince's class... Gerard: What was that class? Theo: That was a storyboarding class.  We did storyboarding for animation and we did storyboarding for film.  I found that I had a lot more freedom and more success in doing storyboarding for film.  I think it was the week before the thing was due when I finished the film.  I sent it in...I think it was called the Sacremento Film Festival.  They asked if I would have any problems with them showing my film. Gerard: And so, the Sacremento Festival took that film and decided to show it on television in the state of California. Theo: yup. Gerard: I'm impressed! Theo: I was surprised.  When I got the letter I was calling everybody and saying "Hey, guess what?  I got my film on TV!"

Zenon Rankin

Zenon Rankin talks about why he chose to take the Animation Portfolio Workshop and he also reflects on the personal nature of the one-on-one tutoring he experienced with Gerard Sternik.  After completing the Animation Portfolio Workshop in 2003, Zenon continued independent studies with Vince Peets and with Gerard Sternik.  In 2007 he recieved a Bachelor of Illustration from Sheridan Institute in Oakville, Canada. In addition to teaching in the ArtsSmarts program with the Durham board of Education and frequent cartooning and comics classes and workshops,  Zen works as a freelance illustrator and comic artist creating underground comics such as "Action Satisfaction Supreme". Zen: My name is Zen, I'm 23 years old.  I'm currently going to Sheridan college for illustration. Gerard: So what made you decide to take the (Animation Portfolio) Workshop? Zen: When I came here, I saw how confident the students were and the work they were coming out with.  I felt I needed this extra edge or extra education - a little bit extra to my work.  I've finished the first three years of the regular Sheridan Illustration program and I'm heading into the advanced standing post diploma one-year program. Gerard: cool... Zen: I'm looking forward to it.  The private tutoring aspect was way more personal.  It was a little more intense that a whole-class environment.  It was condensed education for me.  I really needed to hear about my work from somebody else who was a professional - a fellow artist - and someone I could look up to.  That really helped me in many aspects.  There's something to be said about having somebody that you look up to, somebody you can listen to and make examples of what they're telling you.  That really helped.  (It was) something that school could never have the time to offer and you guys were able to offer to me.

Zoran Bakich

Animation Portfolio Workshop director Gerard Sternik interviews Zoran Bakich about the effect of the Animation Portfolio Workshop on his son, Myke. Zoran: I think your workshop has done wonders for us as a family and has helped a great deal for my son.  I think it helped his confidence.  I think it has raised his determination, his drive.  It really helped him a great deal as a person.  He always had that desire that he wanted to be in art.  It was very important for us that he felt that way.  That has really helped him a great deal.  We're extremely grateful to you.  Whatever it has cost us, you have given a thousand percent back that I could never repay, so we're very grateful for that.  I think that (for) any parent that has a kid who's in the arts - the cost is nothing compared to what they're going to get and where they're going.  So, we're very pleased that it worked out wonderfully for us.   I can't tell you how happy I am about that.  You are going to do wonderful (things) for a lot of people and I thank you for it. Gerard: Thank you, Zoran. Zoran: Thank you.