ANDREW L. SCHMIDT is a Director at Dreamworks Animation Television.  He has worked in the animation industry for 20 years and has a long list of credits in both traditional 2D animation and CG animated films.  He began his career in 1990 in London, UK at Amblimation Studios where he worked on Fievel Goes West, We’re Back and Balto.  In 1996, Schmidt relocated to Los Angeles, California where he worked for Dreamworks Feature Animation on The Prince of Egypt, then moved to Warner Brothers Feature Animation where he animated on The Iron Giant and Osmosis Jones. In 2000, Schmidt moved to San Francisco and joined Pixar Animation Studios where he has worked on Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Wall-e, Up and Toy Story 3.  He has also animated on various Pixar short films, including supervising animation for Partly Cloudy. Andy currently works as a Director at Dreamworks Animation Television.


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29 thoughts on “OCT 7- ANDREW SCHMIDT

  1. Evan Tedlock says:

    The lecture from Andrew Schmidt was insightful, honest and inspirational. His list of credits is long and earmarked with stellar projects, most of which I grew up watching. I found his career path to be of particular interest because he didn’t start out wanting to animate. The longing just to work in film set Andrew up to see the true potential of the medium as an extremely effective storytelling process. I learned that merely being open to continuing to learn can lead to some top tier jobs. It was really encouraging to hear someone from the industry speak about what it’s like to deal with higher ups, directors, other animators, etc. He really offered up an insider view of what goes on behind the curtain. Andrew’s advice about sticking up for yourself, doing research, protecting your time, and giving yourself space to play and relax is relevant as well as having deep implications. As we’ve seen before the emphasis is not on form or technique or style or structure; it’s all about concept and story. It will be helpful to remember that failure is necessary and it does much more good for you, in general, than constant mediocre successes.


  2. David Nessl says:

    Andrew’s lecture was informative and gave me a good picture of how the animation industry works. I also appreciate that he didn’t bullshit us about certain aspects of what we’re going into. It seems vitally important to develop good connections with friends and colleagues as an animator. It’s interesting to think that he never intended to be an animator when his work is so impressive. I think that his love and knowledge of live action can be seen in his demo reel, and it definitely gives his animating skills an awesome boost. It’s good to know that animators like Andrew are giving life to the characters in films we all love.

    I Sometimes ask myself, “Why do I have such a crazy dream and why can’t I just get a normal, average job…like filing papers, or doing boring things some normal, boring person would do?” Then speakers like Andrew come and inspire us, and I’m reminded that I could have a fun artistic job like him one day. It makes all the difference, and I can wake up in the morning to have another conversation about “Chee Hoo” with Mar.


  3. Mayra Flores says:

    I really appreciated Andrew Schmit’s candid lecture. He’s clearly been in the business long enough to know how to navigate it. We’ve had plenty of guests that ended up in animation by accident– I was actually more surprised that he hasn’t worked on personal projects despite being so passionate about film. What resonated with me the most was his advice on always looking for new to things to grow from and how he utilized his time in and out of school (he essentially developed his own curriculum, which proved to be a strong foundation for his career). I was dreading picking classes for the next semester but now I’m kind of looking forward to it.


  4. Okike Franklin says:

    Andrew Schmit’s lecture was insightful. it was shocking to see the amount of films he worked on. His demo reel was unbelievable, especially his character animation. I like how honest Andrew was regarding the industry and the CG world in general.

    One thing I found interesting about Andrew’s talk was the importance of ‘Friendship’ and Networking in general. Andrew also had a weird work ethic ‘Don’t over work yourself and play harder’ which was confusing to me because the only way to get better is by working twice as hard (in my opinion).

    In all, Andrews talk was motivational!! Remember inspiration doesn’t just land on you, you have to go look for it!!! So go out, meet people, have coitus, travel, network, watch films, spark that spliff, pray, and read alot.


  5. Amir Arzanian says:

    I found Andrew’s lecture perceptive. He give us a lot of information from working in industry with honesty. His biographical part of his lecture was inspirational. He had a great experiences earned in many years of work in different studios. It have been always a question for me why people quit their job in famous studios when they had a good position. I learned the answer from Andrew’s lecture. He explained he loved to animate and be an animator but he thought he needed new creative challenges. He couldn’t progress more than that in his position and as long as he stayed on that position he couldn’t get the satisfaction. Now he as a director learns about new things everyday he challenges himself. He said that he even don’t know photoshop that well but he had to improve his skills in different aspects to achieve the quality that it is expected of him. I also liked the part that he was talking about being a good animator. He had very good advices and tips like he said believability is the key point in animation.He also talked about being an actor as an animator that to me it was a very important point, sometimes it is forgotten by people in animation business.
    I think experience is not the something that it can be learned in class or school but it will be gained from working and hearing from an experienced man is a way to learn from the experiences better and faster.


  6. Megan Simon says:

    I think it is easy to assume Andrew Schmidt’s lecture was inspiration when considering the sheer goliath amount of projects he has been apart of. From classics like “We’re Back” and “Prince of Egypt” to modern hits like “Up” and “Toy Story 3”. I relate closely to Andrew Schmidt, not just because he was led to animation through a distinct longing just to be part of filmmaking – but also because of his honesty about his anxiety.

    I too have anxiety, which is not always easy to talk about. It has bothered me greatly as a new student here at USC. Do I be honest about my odd behavior at times? Or do I explain it? Do I talk about my unique experiences in response to this disease? Or do I avoid talking about it? Will explain it narrow the opportunities I can have in the future? Make my classmates no longer desire to associate with me? Would it be best if I hide it? Do people with anxiety even get opportunities like those without it do? If companies like Disney or Dreamworks find out about my anxiety will I get black listed? Will I never have opportunities to succeed because of this manageable condition?

    These have been questions rolling around in my brain since I came to california. Really since I found out I got into the animation program. In truth these questions were part of the reason I didn’t seek out treatment for a long time, for fear of my career as a painter, artist, animator – you name it. And I certainly suffered for it because my condition really only got worse until I gave in to seeking treatment.

    Andrew Schmidt brought peace of mind to me in a way I don’t think other lecturer’s could. Knowing that someone with anxiety has succeeded so thoroughly, worked on these films I grew up watching, became a director even… it is a powerful thing. Making this lecture out of the whole series having the deepest impact for me personally. I was able to talk with Andrew Schmidt about this particular topic one on one after class, and not only was he kind and open about it… but he gave me some exceptional advice on how to manage it and still maintain an often stressful career. So often this condition is misunderstood, and it was truly powerful to talk with someone who didn’t judge me for it, didn’t disregard me for it – but related to where I was coming from. I think what he said about how working calms him down was most relatable to me. I am most calm and my mind is most at ease when I am making. It motivates me to keep working, and keep learning. This perspective is already one I am utilizing today and it has begun to make a difference.

    I could be a filmmaker, a director, an employee on a blockbuster film. My anxiety doesn’t have to hold me back from that. No matter my own successes or failures, this is a message I will never forget.


  7. Joseph Etemadi says:

    Andrew gave us one of the weirdest talks I have ever heard. His advice was a little crazy, but at least he was honest. “Go experience life! Whatever that means…” I liked that about him. At least he didn’t just tell us what we wanted to hear with a watered down PG version. Andrew told us the truth about his life in the animation industry, the windy road of ups and downs, and the never ending journey for success.

    Andrew’s character animation was amazing. You could tell he really puts himself in the shoes of his characters. You could see that he really works hard to bring those characters to life. His discussion of reference was also really interesting, and how he uses inspiration from other movies and characters to build upon his own. I loved seeing the breakdown of “Ken” from Toy Story 3, and the steps it took to achieve the look of the final animation.

    I think the most interesting part of the night was when he talked about the proprietary software major animation studios use to animate their CG characters. I was shocked to learn that it is far removed from Autodesk Maya. Overall, it was a really great presentation, and big thanks to Andrew for bringing his open and honest persona to our classroom.


  8. Shang Song says:

    The importance of real performance and video reference. I know why Pixar’s role is so real.
    I think a lot of people are considering “why I like the role of” puppet “where is the motion???” , I think is half the reason a script (animator is not a wizard, they didn’t make a bad script good) and the other half in the performance .
    Of course, if you can, I would like to learn more about the animation show. I know that the performance of the animation is different from the film, and perhaps more close to the performance of the drama, I hope to learn more.


  9. Yijie Li says:

    It is great night for a excellent character animator to give us such a far-sighted presentation. His experiences and credits in the main stream industry are really persuasive. And I think the secret of creating intriguing character is observing our real world and serve the story. There is no doubt that ANDREW knows how to manage his career in the intense industry atmosphere.

    Despite his approved skill, ANDREW points out two interesting points about the industry network and scheduling the balance of working and life. And he even suggest us to play harder which I comprehend us observe life more and keep your daily view as your own inspiration collections. Art comes from life, that is why to some extent, the realistic art form is somehow more difficult to control cuz the normal audiences are easy to judge it.


  10. Kun Xia says:

    Andrew Schmidt’s presentation is inspiriting and fresh. One point he mentioned in the presentation was time management, when work in studio, those projection usually have a clear deadline, get work done on time is necessary, and time management is an important skill especially for animators, animation could long time to accomplish, use time wisely at the same time produce high quality work is important. He also states that animators should always be prepared to the opportunities, sometimes just give it a try even if you fail, and failure is not scary, it is fine to make mistakes as long as you don’t let them stop you from progressing. There is another point he expressed I thought is important is outdoor activities can be good for inspirations, sometimes when we stuck on problem or lacking inspirations, going outside could be a better solution rather than stay in front of computer. Our body was designed to be active and on the move all day long, sitting for long can also hurt our body badly.


  11. Yu Yu says:

    Andrew Schmidt was part of the animations that I’m all familiar with! He was once in Pixar, and knowing that the best way of learning is doing by yourself. In all those different animation films, from 2D feature to 3D feature and TV shows, the other important thing except learning is building the relationship with people.

    I can’t agree with this more. I worked in Taiwan only for two years, but I almost had already met everyone who work in our animation industry. Maybe because Taiwan is a small country, but I also surprised how small the working circle is. No one wants to work with someone who is hard to cooperate, and rumors spread really fast. If you want to built a relationship with others, you can’t be an asshole. At least you have to learn how to respect others first.


  12. Erik Dumas says:

    For me, this was the most interesting seminar we’ve had so far this semester. It was incredible to hear Andrew describe his career path and his experiences, both good and bad inside the industry. It’s always encouraging to hear from someone who has made a successful career doing the same thing that I hope to wind up doing. It’s good to know how tight knit the feature animation industry is and how often having friends in the industry will help you to find work. I think that’s something that almost everyone we’ve heard speak so far has said.
    I also really liked Andrew’s points about animation as acting. I know many people, including me, are incredibly passionate about storytelling and making an emotional impact to the audience. Sometimes in animation, it’s easy to lose sight of that in all the technicalities of animation. It’s important to make yourself step back and really consider the animation as it relates to the story. Does it tell the story you want to tell? Are the characters believable? Is the animation making the emotional impact you want it to? The techniques and tricks of animation are important to know, but they are all simply tools to help the animator tell a story.


  13. Katie Smith says:

    I left Andrew’s presentation feeling ready to take on the world (and go watch ‘The Iron Giant’ again for the zillionth time!) He was incredibly candid, honest, and inspiring. You can tell how much he loved worked for Pixar, and that he misses it – but that the opportunity to grow and learn as a Director at DWTV was something he could not pass up. I related to this, as I had left a job and place I called home for seven years. It was really hard, but I’m really excited about the opportunity to learn and grow that I have here. I think it’s awesome that Andrew took that risk and is a little out of his element. In life, sometimes the scariest things are the ones that are most important.

    His presentation was also incredibly informative regarding what type of work you should be creating (entertaining, interesting, make the viewer care about what they’re seeing!) and that it’s ok to fail. Andrew also emphasized making sure you live LIFE, and not just stay hunched behind the computer. It’s easy to get caught up in deadlines and forget to actually go and do things. I know he grapples with anxiety, but he seems like the type of guy who is prepared for what’s next, and isn’t stressing about it if it doesn’t happen immediately. For instance, when he graduated college and did construction for two years, or when jobs would come and go before he landed at Pixar. I thought it was a great message to remember that you should be ready for opportunities as they come (like Andrew was), that they do not just get handed to you. Last but not least… from what fountain of youth did he drink out of?! Andrew does not look his age at all. Even more reason to listen to him and his advice. Now let’s go out and do stuff and make something awesome!


  14. Tuo Kan says:

    Andrew Schmidt’s lecture let us have a overview of a good animator/director’s self improving and growing up. I remember that he showed us he built up his house. That is nothing about animation, but that gave me a sense of his mental journey. That is cool.

    And I am thinking back of my own life. I always put my strength on one thing, but don’t pay attention on other things. Like when my mum want me to work out, I was thinking, oh, that could be waste of time. I can draw a sketch or I can continue doing my P2. But when I see my post on facebook, there’re nothing fun at all. There are all animations, paintings, cute puppies…. I need to have more experiences of living my life. Then, I can have more to tell in my film and artworks. All of these are helpful for being a good animator.


  15. Yingzong Xin says:

    I always want to hear Andrew’s speech, after all I was a kid impressed me the most animated film is one of his works, “The Prince of Egypt”, Andrew’s movies are very unique interesting, informative and vivid story, the truth is simple and easy to understand, I have been exploring the story of how animated films go enrichment. However, this time Andrew’s speech is so attractive, he not only on the technical and operational animated films talked a lot. On the other hand, he talked a lot about his own life story, so twists and turns of life, so much life experience and so long-term vision and sense of direction, and can maintain a sustained passion for animated films and CG culture, let me admiration, I think I should continue to explore in life to discover, make my life more fulfilling, so that I’ll be even more exciting animated stories vivid.


  16. Joe Stucky says:

    Hearing Andrew’s story was fantastic! His experience in the industry of animation is very great! He has been able to work on so many films that we all love, and would love to work on. I really appreciated Andrew’s lecture for the realistic glimpse into his path in the animation business, his personal struggles, and realizations about his own artistic motivation. I think it is great that after obtaining a position in a company that many dream to have, Andrew decided to move to a new company to fulfill a new job position. The reason he moved to Dreamworks was to take a directing job. This was a challenge for him for sure, and a new field that he has already found new things learn. He mentioned that at Pixar he found himself falling into the same jobs doing the same things. This “rut” was keeping him from progressing in a direction that he felt he needed to go. This is inspirational for all when they are faced with a crossroad of what one “should” do, and what one “must” do. No one can tell you which road is the right road you, but it is good to hear that the way for an artist is always the road that must be taken, which doesn’t always correlate with the one that you “should” be taken!


  17. Andrew’s experiences can really serve as an optimal paragon to look into and ruminate. From his story, his courage, determination and positive attitude also brought him to different journey which is creative and transformative. What impressed me a lot is that he built houses before he went to London. I think that’s part of reason why he has good ability to build 3D models and know so many things about structure. So, during that period of time, although he had no idea toward future, everything he did became prolific ground to let his works in the future take root and thrive. To some degree, keeping life loose and leaving some space to wander around can accumulate more power to develop.

    What’s more, He also shared some rules and methods to make animation which he learned from different people and cases in the Pixar like spending time on doing researches before animating, protecting time from stealing by others, getting ready to accept multiple failures, etc. Everything he said is practical and essential for everyone who wants to be an animator.


  18. Ruchia Masuko says:

    His presentation taught me the basis and importance about animations and reminded me the reason and decision I made to be an animator. Also, He mentioned the importance of building a connection and relationships with people.

    I was very inspired by his presentation, because since I came to US and started to study in USC, I feel like I only worried that if I do things correctly, and passing the class. I was kind of forgetting the basis of my dream to create animations. And while I was listening to his presentation, I realised that I shouldn’t forces on small things about myself, and have more bigger perspective about myself around me, time, and animation.

    Also, what I liked in that he stated that acting is very important in animation. I was surprised that he said that animators in Pixar actually studies acting, and I recalled that many of animations in Pixar are very emotional, and have new, and interesting acting choice.


  19. Sequoyah Madison says:

    It was truly an honor to listen and meet Andrew Schmidt, who I would say has shaped my life by animating most of the animations that had a significant impact on my childhood psyche. As Andrew spoke of his experiences in London he emphasized the value of understanding cross cultural communication. The bottom line is can you entertain? Though there are cultural differences, there are many more similarities (given the fact that we are all human beings) and being able to identify and use those similarities to create moments that resonate with multiple audiences is part of what makes an amazing animation portfolio. The other three parts are a believable world, memorable characters and a compelling story. Somewhere in the middle, between two other monumentally important pieces of knowledge (which I don’t have space to share, or this entry would exceed what would be socially acceptable) Andrew had mentioned that story doesn’t stop until the entire film is in. So, if it’s twenty third hour and the most amazing change comes, don’t accept what you have, change the previous idea.
    Andrew showed through example not to live in fear, but to take chances (whether it be transferring to DreamWorks, or breaking away from normal routine) a risk can improve personal growth and the quality of life. Hire people who challenge you. It’s sad that this isn’t already a norm in society, but I imagine that if this ideal was embraced in all companies, by all employees the world would progress much faster. Take a chance by going outside – take photographs and have conversations when you run into people. The more you observe the more you are studying and learning the mechanics of movement and shape. And lastly take a chance by speaking up for yourself – no one else will do it for you, and people only see your value when you show them.


  20. Hyeon Jeong Cho says:

    I totally can say that Andrew’s lecture was the one of seminars I truly enjoyed. His amazing list of films he worked on overwhelmed me and all the challenges that he went through was indeed inspiring. If I were him, could I do that? I’m not sure, but at least I could consider – reminding his lecture, instead of immediately saying no.

    By the time that I took this seminar was the period that I was struggling with new life in US, and the school – his honest biographical talking really consoled me. I was stuck (still am stuck now though) in a cubicle, and spent a lot of time to work but felt I wasn’t doing well. However, his advice, said go out to find inspiration, go travel, and go drink really chilled me down. Working hard is absolutely the priority thing still, but I’m trying to give myself some room to breathe after this lecture.

    I love all the advice he gave, felt that I’ve got so many lesson from him – from establishing a believable world to how to study directing. Thank you so much for splendid seminar, I’ll try my best to “Fill in the gap” and “Dealing with limitation” for my animation career and my life.


  21. Jing Huang says:

    I really love this presentation of such a really creative guy! His experiences and credits in the main stream industry are really persuasive. I think the key of creating intriguing character is observing our real world first. And Andrew have told us how to observe our world and changed it to the animation.

    Andrew also points out two interesting points about the industry network and scheduling the balance of working and life. He also have something suggested for our life and study. Art comes from life, that is why we need learn to observe first, then create. I think I have learned the secret of creation and wish starting my life with my own life experience.


  22. Jinyue Wan says:

    I feel so lucky to have a chance to meet with Andrew Schmidt. Because there are so many his work on the list can recall my memory of childhood, such as The Prince of Egypt, Finding Nemo…

    I also very appreciate his advice for us. Sometimes, I feel really stressful and lost, and I just can’t understand why I have to pay so many things in animation, money, time…However, when I saw what he did in this industry, I can figure out why, because as an animation film maker, we have the possibility to make such great works. Maybe someday I can make a film for kids, became a part of there childhood.


  23. Min Shi says:

    Andrew’s experience in the industry of animation is very amazing!
    I really got two important things from today’s seminar.

    The first thing is that, when you work in a studio, projection have a clear deadline, so that time management is an important skill especially for animators. You can say deadline is a limitation in the production industry, however, animators and designers must have the ability to convert this limitation into productive way. Using limitation to enhance your time seclude is the thing we must learn and master.

    The second thing is that the importance of performance and personality of character. Since I really have no animation background, this advice ( focusing on performance and personality ) is very important to me.


  24. Jinzhi Du says:

    I really agree with Andrew’s point. Once one of my family asked me what do you want do in future. I said that I want to be a animator. And he just said, Oh, well, you should read more books and see more in the world and your life. My family is not that professional as Andrew, But I think that they have the same opinion.

    Art is from life, this is exactly truth. It also can be put on the animation field. except hard working, there still are many things we need to do. Going travel, reading books, socializing with people, working out… happy life happy animation.


  25. Aya Kashima says:

    Andrew Schmidt gave us the good advice to live as an artist. I appreciate for sharing his story how to get to working in one of the top studios. I was surprised that he started his career in architecture and eventually got to animation industry. What I learned most in his lecture is “trying everything you are interested.” He encouraged us to enjoy the life and work hard. It is hard to finding balance playing and working because I feel pressure for not accomplishing project. I think it is important to use time smart way, and enjoying life would also help me to be a good story teller.


  26. xiruiliu says:

    After knowing Andrew Schmidt will come to our seminar, I am so exciting about that. He is a really successful man, and after viewing his work experience, I am totally admire him and wants to know how he can get such further in his career. The most important key is always keep enthusiasm to your work and he is really like to working in Pixar and made a lot of fabulous movies such as Toy Story 3, Monsters and so on.

    I am really appreciate he can come and sharing a lot of experience to us. After his lecture, I feel that I find my own way and firmly to pursuing my own dream.


  27. Zhaoyu Zhou says:

    Many thanks to Andrew Schmidt to come to gave us the talk. I really appreciated Andrew Schmit’s insightful lecture. He is such an amazing filmmaker in animation industry and it is shocking to see the number of block-buster animated features he has been working on. One thing he inspired me a lot is his timing currculum and he talked about how he utilized his time outside of school. Building relationship with people will not only help you to make great works, but also make you improve as a person, this is another impact thing that his talk passed to me.


  28. mengna Lei says:

    I really like his speech, he gave us a good view of how to work in the industry and how do the time management. those two point is such useful for us.

    his opinion of how to manage the time is really good for me. when I am doing my work, I usually not making the schedule before starting the work. therefore, I have no awareness if I have fall behind the work speed or I can not finish it before the deadline, but working in studio, submit the work on time is really important for career. I hope I can do better in the future.
    also . he mentioned about our young people should take the opportunity to try new things, not just sitting in the cubic and work not move. it is not a smart and healthy way to work.
    we are artist, we need to go out and do new things meeting new people so that we can enrich our experiences and make our work with good idea.


  29. yudu2015 says:

    It was a great speech! Andrew Schmidt has worked on so many great animations that I love so much. I really appreciate he is welling to share his personal experience with us. The fact that he was not animator since the beginning of his career and also his major turning point from 2D animator to 3D animator, reconfirms that it is okay to have what you like to do now and change later on when your interest switched. Just like what he has said try everything that you are interested in.


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