Monday, June 18, 2012

New Demo Reel

 It's been a while:)
Since my last post I've had the pleasure of working at Sony Imageworks on Arthur Christmas. Soon after I got married to my awesome husband who I met while working on Cats and Dogs 2 at Tippett, and since then I have been working on my animation and updating my personal pieces on my reel, as well as training with my dragon boat team on the side.
 It's been a busy couple of years!
 Here is my new reel, including Arthur Christmas work, as well as two new personal pieces. I am currently available for work :)

Sue Houston Safianoff - Character Animator -Demo Reel- Summer 2012 from Sue Houston Safianoff on Vimeo.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Reel FX!

After about two months off, I am happy to say that I am now animating for Reel FX! I started almost three weeks ago, and am really loving it so far. I am working remotely on Open Season 3, and what a fun project it is! I love the characters in it and I have having a great time animating them. The crew is very friendly and I am looking forward to the next couple of months.

After leaving Tippett I had a nice break and suddenly a lot of time to think of what I wanted to do next. I had started on a personal project that I've always wanted to try animating. I had just started on the actual animation after planning it all out when I got the call from Reel FX. I still hope to finish it, but it will have to be later. But for now, some pretty fun character animating on Open Season :).

Friday, December 4, 2009

Goodbye, Tippett

It's coming on two weeks since my last day at Tippett. I guess it's only now starting to feel that way now that Thanksgiving is over. The show I was working on, (Cats and Dogs2) ended up going longer than August, which was great. But now it has finally come to an end.
This was my first non-Flash animation job and it was a fantastic experience. A year ago I was still looking for my first break. I remember the frustration very well of coming close, but not being able to land a job. I remember using that frustration and channeling it into energy to keep working at it, to keep doing my own work. It was sometimes a hard thing to do.
Almost a year a go a got an email from Tippett. They were interested in my work, and wanted me to take a test. I had never animated a cat, or any kind of four legged animal. I was nervous, to say the least. Nervous, but excited.
It's been a really fast 10 months. Before I came to Tippett, I felt I was in a bit of a rut as far as progressing with my work. I was doing my own assignments, but I was missing having mentors and others give me a push, and a real critical eye. I was growing, but not much. and I knew it. At Tippett, I feel I have grown again. Being surrounded by awesome animators, having your work critiqued on a daily basis, and being able to see what your peers are working on does so much for you. I recently took a look at some of my old work, and I can see things I couldn't see a year ago. Looking at my old work, I see that I've grown. I still like the ideas I had, but I can see ways I can improve. I can't wait to start animating again :)
I miss Tippett. It was an awesome experience for me. Though my project ended, I will be taking with me a lot of knowledge, and a lot of good friends.:)

Here are some cat sketches I did while at Tippett. They were fun to do, and I don't think I ever got to do cat gestures before :)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Having a blast!

July already! Time is still flying by since starting work at Tippett. I am getting closer to the end of my contract, and that's a sad thought. It'll be hard to say goodbye.
I feel I am really growing as an animator, and the more I grow, the more I come to realize how much more I have to grow (if that makes any sense!) It's weird at this point in my life to still be discovering stuff about myself. I guess it's things that I already knew, but realizing them for the first time.
I think a turning point for me was a couple months ago. Tippett sponsored some improv classes for us. I had no idea what to expect, and for some reason I had the image in my head of improv being 'artsy' people pretending to be flowers, or something. It turned out the classes were truly fun, well thought out, and eye opening. I consider myself a pretty shy person, but something about performing really excites me. It's a very strange thing, and hard to explain, but I am both scared, but at the same time crave the stage. Something clicked that day when acting out a skit, and I felt like I knew what to do. The words and ideas were coming, but I didn't know from where. It's like the classes gave me 'permission' to act out and be this other person, so I just followed my gut. And it worked!
I animate from my gut. I like to feel the performance and work with the faces right away along with the body. They are connected to me, and in many cases what is happening in the face drives alot of the animation for me. I was finding it a little difficult at work when I was animating the bodies and saving the face for last. It seemed a whole different mind-set for me. It made me think of it technically instead of as a performance. I think I knew that deep down, but didn't start realizing it until the imrov classes.
-Weekends have been interesting! Anything from go-karting to being a zombie in a short film. Fun stuff. I am still dragon boating every week, and am getting better. Or at least not sucking as much :).
Next week I am having a couple of friends from Animation Mentor coming into town for the graduation and BBQ. Two of my friends will be staying over my place, and I can't wait to see them!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Time flies...

Time flies, or so they say, but I've never felt it go by as swiftly as it is now.
It seems like a week ago that I got the news that Tippett was hiring me. Since then time has been sprinting forward at an incredible pace, and I am determined to enjoy it while it lasts.
It is strange to be starting over again career wise. It seems just when I was getting comfortable with my Illustration/ Flash work I decided to go switch it up. It's all about following your heart.
I love it at Tippett. It's one of those places that has a really good vibe to it. It's a happy place, and I feel very much at home there.
I love being an animator. I think that's why time seems to be in fast forward because I am having so much fun. I really love it! I feel like I am back in school again because I am learning so much everyday. Every new shot is a challenge and an opportunity to grow, and I am so very thankful for this experience. I remember a mentor of mine, Nick Bruno, saying that you work hard in school to try and get your foot in the door. Once you get your foot in the door the real learning begins. He was so right. There have been bumps (lets just say I am no longer worried about embarrassing myself because I already checked that off my list) but I am saying truly that I am happy. Happy to be doing what I love, happy to meet so many new friends, and happy to be learning from people I truly respect.
Outside of work has been pretty awesome too. A couple of weeks ago I had lunch with a mentor of mine who works just a short distance away. It was very nice to be able to talk to him and I only regret that my lunch break has a time limit.
I bought a used bike for cheap and have been biking to work, and on the weekend I've been dragon boating. My body is in shock from the sudden burst of exercise, but over the last week it has forgiven me and I am feeling better already. I've neglected so much while studying, and it's a nice change to get out again. Balance is good, but it's sometimes easy to forget that. :)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A new start!!!!!!!

It has been a crazy last month, and an even crazier last two weeks. I am very happy to say that I've gotten my very first 3d animation job!!! On Monday I will be starting work at Tippett Studio!! I will be working there on the movie 'Cats and Dogs 2' for the next few months. :)
A week ago my father and I started a 5 day trip driving my car across the country from Massachusetts to California. It's all happening so fast that it doesn't seem real. I am really excited and am very much looking forward to working and learning from the awesome animators that work there. I am also a little nervous, but I think in a good way.
I am so thankful for my mentors and my friends who have helped, taught, and pushed me to work hard. Honestly, without Animation Mentor and the wonderful community it created I don't know where I would be. I really mean that. I am so thankful.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


The end of another year. I hope that everyone is happy, healthy, and excited about what's to come. :)
Last night I was talking to a good friend of mine. We are both graduates of Animation Mentor and met while taking classes, so a good portion of our conversations relate to animation. Last night we were talking about what we found fascinating about animation... what was our real draw to it and why do we want to do it. We started talking about 'moments'.

We kind of struggled to define a moment, but that's just it.. it is hard to describe. It's that little magic moment when you connect with the character, when the character is alive, gets swept away in their actions. When YOU the viewer are uplifted and inspired because of what is happening on screen. When you think about it long after it's through. And, sometimes, when it changes you. That's what we want to be a part of. As my friend said, "the who and the why instead of the how". It's a weird thing, and like a dream, sometimes the grasp of it escapes me.

Ratatouille. I was asking myself why did I find this movie so appealing, so moving. Why am I able to watch it again and again. I don't particularly like rats, and I don't like cooking (except cookies and pies :). On paper the movie has nothing for me, but despite of that I find myself able to relate to Remy. The movie has many 'moments' for me. The one that sticks out first is when he first starts to fix the soup. I love that scene! He gets so swept away into what he's doing that he can't help himself. What's more is I always get this great uplifted feeling just seeing this rat doing what he loves and enjoying it so much! He is cooking with his heart and bounds of joy and you canFEEL it! What I love about animation is that it is so powerful. Throughout that whole sequence Remy doesn't say a word, but there is no doubt at all what is going through his mind. When Linguini discovers him I am startled right along with Remy because I was so absorbed by that moment. I was able to escape into Remy's world for a moment. Why? It's like a little bit of what made him tick leaked out for all to see. Same with Ego when he takes that bite.

"Moments" aren't unique to animation by any means. They happen everyday, big and small. I was telling my friend that there is a clip on youtube of Sarah Hughes skating in the Olympics back in 2002. No one expected her to be a contender. Going into the Olympics she was certainly not the best skater. Good, but not the best. While others were duking it out for the gold, Sarah had the skate of her life. She knew that a victory was unlikely, and skated with joy and passion and life. She ended up surprising everyone (including herself, I believe) and won the gold. I have watched that clip several times looking for the 'moment'. The moment she knew she was on fire. She was so caught up in it. Stuff like that. What made that skate more special than any of her others? Why was it contagious to the audience? Why do I care about it? Why did she win when nobody even thought it possible? I believe that nothing that night could've stopped her. It was her moment.

Stuff like that fascinates me. It's so amazing what people are capable of. Animators who create them obviously put so much of themselves into their work. I can't see any other way they could do it.
I am really glad my friend brought it up. I think moments can be different for every individual. Personal, almost. But it was really eye opening to break down what it is about animation that we love. It's not the moving stuff around. It's the ability to capture a moment and make people care, and the potential that we too will be able to do that one day.

Have a wonderful New Year, everyone! Take care.