Online Summer Session


SESSION STARTS: July 3rd, 2023



Visual Storytelling

*Special Time*

Michal Makarewicz

Head of Character Animation, Spire Animation Studios
20 year Pixar Animation Veteran

Length of Workshop: 10 weeks. Once a week.
Days: Tuesdays starting April 11th, 2023
Time: 9pm – Midnight pacific time *Special Time*
Tuition: $1,600 (Includes a $200 non-refundable registration fee)
Prerequisite: none

Johnny Arkoosh

Johnny Arkoosh

Actor, Director of Operations at AnimC

Johnny will be co-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

Victor Navone

Animator, Pixar Animation Studios

With an eye for performance, Victor will bring his expertise to the Acting for Reference class by answering the questions: “What do I do with this amazing reference clip I shot?  How do I pick and choose what to use and how to use it?”

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 is a multi-faceted theatrical professional, respected as an actor, author and acting teacher. He has taught professional-level workshops and scene study in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. His stage, film and television credits include more than 100 roles.

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


 “Make better choices!“
Acting for Reference is designed for the animator to dig in to the work of “performance”.  This course provides a wonderful curriculum of exercises along with the insight of industry experts, to elevate your work so that it resonates emotionally with the audience.  This, in turn, translates to improved performance in your animation workflow; as you learn to make stronger choices, experiment with fewer iterations, get your shots approved more quickly and receive fewer “re-do’s” in your working life.

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.

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 that they are prepared to deliver.  Homework for the Workshop will consist of recording reference exercises along with finding script material and viewing various clips at home as preparation.  Students will be expected to appear on camera as part of their critique.


  • Developing your “eye” for Behavior

  • The “Who, What and Where”

  • The “Why and How”

  • Scene Analysis

  • Character Development

  • Shooting Reference and Critique


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 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.