Online Fall Session


SESSION STARTS: September 20th 2021

AnimC Acting for Reference


Michal Makarewicz

Animator, Pixar Animation Studios

Length of Workshop: 12 weeks. Once a week.
Days: Mondays starting January 18th, 2021
Time: *International Friendly Time* 10am – 1pm pst
Tuition: $1,900 (Includes a $200 non-refundable registration fee)
Prerequisite: none

Johnny Arkoosh

Actor, Director of Operations at AnimC

Johnny will be assistant teaching the workshop; bringing with him his experience as a professional actor having worked on stage, television and film as well as over a dozen national and global commercials.

Featured Guest Speakers

Tracy Burns

Acting Teacher and Performance Consultant

Tracy works with the amazing artists at Pixar, DreamWorks, Blue Sky Animation, Laika, The Third Floor, Cinesite, The Animation Collaborative, The Academy of Art and other studios, schools and production houses. She is the Acting for Animators instructor at California College of the Arts. 

Tracy has been teaching internationally for over 30 years and is one of the leading acting teachers in the field of animation.

Allen Simpson

Actor, Teacher

Allen is an acting coach and performance/visual consultant for film, television and video games. In addition to teaching acting and composition, he’s also voice-directed & written songs for The Simpsons and voice-directed for Telltale Games’ Game of Thrones (VG) and more.

Allen has worked with Pixar, DreamWorks, Disney, Blue Sky, The Third Floor, Cinesite, Telltale Games, CTN, LAAFA, Chapman University, and California College of the Arts among others. 

Rachelle Lambden

Actor, Teacher, Animator Laika Studios

With several critical animation contributions for major film and television series to her credit, Rachelle Lambden has solidified her stature as a character animator amongst the very finest in the stop motion animation industry.  Her list of high profile credits include LAIKA’s Kubo and the Two Strings, The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman, Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie and Missing Link (2019).   Rachelle was nominated for Best Character Animation at the 47th Annual Annie Awards and a recipient of a Visual Effects Society Award in the Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature category for her work in Missing Link

Rachelle has a keen interest in documentary style filmmaking as a character study and continues to challenge the boundaries of performance in character animation, borrowing from realism to create a range of complex and emotional animated performances. 

Ed Hooks

Actor, Teacher

Ed Hooks has taken his time to put together a wonderful video lecture specifically for our students at AnimC.


Acting for Reference is designed to encourage the animator to explore performance in a creative environment; providing them with exercises to elevate their work so that it resonates emotionally with the audience.

A performance that resonates with an audience comes from truth; the goal of every actor. The purpose of this Workshop is to provide the animator with the tools to create reference that adheres to the same values that an actor would bring to the stage or screen.

There are many styles or techniques of acting: from Strasberg’s “Method” to Chekhov’s “Psychological Gestures”, from the big broad demands of the stage to the tiniest minutia of the camera, the styles and approaches to acting are endless, but they all share the same goal: to present the truth of the moment so the audience can come along on the journey.

“Animation is a medium, not a genre”: Animation is an art form, it plays in a variety of genres and styles; from sweeping theatrical productions to intimate portrayals of human experience. We think it is wonderful that animation gets to take advantage of all the various styles and the goal of the Acting for Reference Workshop is to present the various styles; their applications and possibilities of use to the animator so that they may pick and choose what works for them in their pursuit of bringing truthful performance to their animation.

Acting for Reference will present a variety of common exercises actors utilize every day to prepare for their roles along with a variety of reference clips highlighting successful and sometimes not so successful performances so that the animator can recognize the value behind learning the tools and techniques of the actor.

Students of the Acting for Reference Workshop will be expected to participate in in-class activities designed to open up the creative spirit of the actor; both mentally and physically so they are prepared to deliver. Students will also be expected to appear on camera as part of their critique. Homework for the Workshop will consist of recording reference exercises along with finding script material and viewing various clips at home as preparation.


There are no formal prerequisites for the Acting for Reference Workshop. Students will need access to a video recording device in order to record their reference and a usb drive to bring their work into class.

*Acting for Reference is limited to 8 students to allow for maximum individualized focus. We encourage a comfortable, collaborative environment so that students can learn from their own assignments, the critiques of others’, instructor demos, lectures, and guest speakers.