Eric Goldberg

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 making Super-8 films from the age of 13. His teenage years included guest appearances on local Philadelphia television programs, as well as a national appearance on To Tell the Truth. Eric’s Super-8 films won top prizes in the Kodak Teenage Movie Awards, including 1974’s Grand Prize for summer film courses at the University of Southern California.

Eric received a full scholarship to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, where he majored in Illustration, and took supplemental animation and film courses.

His first professional jobs were free-lance animation while still in school (including one from his animation teacher!), and he eventually wound up as a full-time assistant animator on Raggedy Ann & 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, Pepé 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. At this commercials studio with a worldwide clientele, he 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, wrote, and animated 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 DisneySea theme-park attraction “The Magic Lamp Theater,” 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 a personal tribute to the late Chuck Jones, who was friend to both and peerless among his colleagues 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 provide the voices (!) for Speedy Gonzales, Tweety, and Marvin the Martian.

Recently 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. Also recently completed is Eric’s direction of 4 minutes of brand-new animation starring Disney’s “The Three Caballeros” (Donald Duck, José Carioca, and Panchito) for the updated Mexico Pavilion at Epcot in Florida.

At present, Eric is back at his alma mater, Walt Disney Animation Studios, serving as Supervising Animator for “Louis” (the trumpet-playing alligator) in Disney’s upcoming hand-drawn animated feature The Princess and the Frog, slated for a holiday 2009 release.

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