Eric GoldbergAdjunct Faculty
ERIC GOLDBERG is a veteran Director, Designer, and Animator who has worked extensively in New York, London, and Hollywood, creating feature films, commercials, title sequences, and television specials. He is equally at home with traditional hand-drawn animation and the most up-to-date computer animation, and has pioneered ground-breaking techniques in both worlds.
Eric’s animation knowledge started early, creating flip books at age six and eventually creating Super-8 films from the age of thirteen. He received a full scholarship to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, where he majored in Illustration, and took supplemental animation and film courses. He eventually wound up as a full-time assistant animator on Raggedy Ann and Andy, directed by Richard Williams in New York City. There, he worked with master animator Tissa David (UPA, Hubley Studios), as well as animation legends Emery Hawkins (Walter Lantz, Warner Bros., Hubley Studios) and Art Babbitt (Disney, UPA, Hubley, Quartet).
When the film was completed, Richard Williams invited Eric to work in his London studio as a director-animator on countless television spots. He had the good fortune to work with Ken Harris at that time, learning techniques honed during Ken’s stint as Chuck Jones’ greatest animator (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Road Runner, Pepe Le Pew, et al). Eric’s association with Richard Williams continued in Los Angeles, where Eric served as Director of Animation on the Emmy-winning “Ziggy’s Gift,” based on the popular newspaper cartoon.
Eric met his future wife Susan while on holiday in New York, where she was the head background painter for Zander’s Animation Parlour. Married during the making of “Ziggy,” Eric and Susan have enjoyed both a personal and professional relationship, with Susan frequently serving as Art Director on their projects together. The two of them landed back in London, where Eric co-founded Pizazz Pictures, a commercials studio with a world-wide clientele, where Eric directed spots with such diverse techniques as cel-animation, brush-painting, stop-motion and pixillation, colored-pencil rendering, live-action and animation combinations, and digital compositing.
Eventually, after the success of films like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and The Little Mermaid, Disney came knocking at Eric’s door, and convinced him to return to California for what turned out to be a 10-year run at the studio. Eric’s first assignment was as Supervising Animator of Aladdin’s wise-cracking Genie, who endlessly morphed and shape-shifted into whatever form the brilliant mind of Robin Williams could conjure up. After that, he co-directed the successful Pocahontas, the first Disney feature based on events and people who actually existed as a vivid part of America’s history. Eric then animated the feisty Danny DeVito-voiced satyr Phil in Hercules, and followed that with a stint on Fantasia/2000. Eric directed two critically-acclaimed sequences for that film: “Carnival of the Animals” (flamingos with yo-yos, rendered in animated watercolor) and “Rhapsody in Blue”, a slice-of-life story of intersecting lives, set in 1930’s New York. The piece, a labor of love, was inspired by both George Gershwin and the legendary theatrical caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, who served as Artistic Consultant. Susan brought her formidable talents to the film as Art Director on both sequences.
Also during his time at Disney, Eric experimented with ground-breaking computer animation techniques which replicated the fluidity and “squash-and-stretch” of the best hand-drawn animation, first on a Roger Rabbit test sequence, and then on the Tokyo Disney Seas theme park attraction, “Magic Lamp Theatre,” starring Eric’s signature character, the Genie, in stereoscopic, gratuitously-throw-everything-at-the-audience, 3-D computer animation.
Eric spent a year at Universal Studios developing Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are as a CG animated feature film, until the project became bogged down in classic “development hell.” From there, he went across the street to Warner Bros., becoming Animation Director on the live-action/animation feature Looney Tunes: Back in Action, directed by Joe Dante. Joe and Eric considered their work on the film as a personal tribute to the late Chuck Jones, who was friend to both and peerless among his peers as the most brilliant animation director ever at Warner Bros. On this film, Eric got to handle the legendary Bugs, Daffy, Elmer, Wile E. Coyote, Yosemite Sam and the entire Warners stable, as well as providing the voices (!) for Speedy Gonzales, Tweety, and Marvin the Martian.
In 2006, Eric directed a 12-minute high-definition cartoon for a Buddhist cultural center in Hong Kong. “A Monkey’s Tale” is the fanciful story of three monkeys who attempt to steal a peach from the hand of the ancient Monkey King, and learn a lesson in greed in the bargain. Eric also directed 4 minutes of brand-new animation starring Disney’s “The Three Caballeros” (Donald Duck, Jose Carioca, and Panchito) for the updated Mexico Pavilion at EPCOT Center in Florida.
Eric has authored and illustrated two books: the first, Character Animation Crash Course! (Silman-James Press) is Eric’s step-by-step book about classic techniques used to create convincing and compelling characters in animation, culled from his over 40 years of experience in the field. The second, Enjoy It While You Can, Kid (Stuart Ng Press) is a collection of Eric’s personal sketchbook cartoons, amassed from a lifetime of doodling.
In 2006, Eric returned to his alma mater, Walt Disney Animation Studios, where he served as Supervising Animator for “Louis” (the trumpet-playing alligator), and “Tiana’s Song” in Disney’s recent hand-drawn animated feature The Princess and the Frog. For this role, Eric won his third Annie Award for Best Character Animation in 2009. He also animated on Disney’s latest feature -length take on Winnie the Pooh, where he supervised both the character of “Rabbit” and the “Backson Song” sequence. For Wreck-It Ralph, he created hand-drawn animation tests of “King Candy” and “Sour Bill” as a creative guide for the CG animators on the film. Recently, Eric was the Supervisor of Hand-Drawn Animation in the recent Oscar-nominated Mickey Mouse cartoon “Get a Horse.” Currently, Eric is producing exploratory animation for Disney’s upcoming Moana.
In February 2011, Eric was awarded the prestigious Winsor McCay award from ASIFA-Hollywood for lifetime achievement in animation.