Michael Berenstein
Animator/Animation Instructor/Storyteller

677 35th Ave
San Francisco CA
Tel: 415/750-1355

Career history

Academy of Art University San Francisco Ca
Animation Instructor 2009-current     
Teaching classes using lecture, practical demos and individual critiques. It is truly a blast and I'm having time of my life. Main objective is to prepare students for professional application in the field of 3D computer animation.               
Pacific Data Images/Dreamworks Emeryville Ca
Character Animator 2006-2008    
Worked on Animated Feature "Madagascar II". Animated most of the characters.
Character Animator 2004-2005

Tippet Studio Berkley Ca
3D Animator 2005-2006                                                                             

 Animated Timpleton-the-Rat for Charlotte's Web, Worked on Commercials for Milka Chocolate. Combined real like like Rat animation with acting, adjusting animation to Clients' direction. Worked with a team of fellow animators to create seamless transitions between the shots.

De Anza College Cupertino Ca 
Animation Instructor Summer 2004     
Taught class with the goal of helping students to complete their shorts. Managed a class of 32 pupils, all with different backgrounds, different level of preparedness. Was able to switch on a fly between advanced students with complex storyboards and true beginners without prior animation experience. It was true blast for me, except for the enormous class size. Main objective has always been to keep ideas simple, enabling students to complete them at least on the level of animatic in reasonable time.

Pixar Animation Studios Emeryville Ca
Character Animator 1994-2003                                                     

Animated characters for Pixar’s projects following Directors’ input
As part of Pixar team, participated in creation of all classic features and various shorts of the Studio: Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, Geri’s Game, For the Birds, etc.                                                                                                                              As directing animator on CD-Rom project for Intel, led crew of 12 animators, created storyboard and supervised production of demo reel for the client, trained new animators and got them “Production ready”.

Danger Productions Brisbane Ca
Puppet Animator 1993-1994                                                      

Animated puppet characters for TV series “Bump in the Night”.
Added to the overall quality of animation in a crew of mostly fresh out of school animators.
Animated some of the best selling shots: Bumpy and Squishy singing, dancing bugs at the bar.
Helped to design rig to suspend puppets in the air, designed rigs for various purposes.

Will Vinton Studio Claymation Portland, Ore   
Animator 1991-1993                                          

 Designed and animated clay characters for the 1-minute long shorts for Disney Channel’s “Alice in Wonderland, using unique Clay-on-glass technique.
Actively participated in design of the layered glass rig. Improved the rig by adding two more glass layers.
Worked independently, with very little supervision from the Director.
To complete “Prince’s Shoes” ( in very short time, quickly searched for and hired an animator from Russia to finish the spot , which ended up being one of the best short of the series.

Degree in Architecture from Byelorussian Polytechnic Institute in Minsk, Faculty of Architecture. Equivalent of Master’s Degree.
9 Months Moscow Course for Animators.

Professional Development
PDI proprietary software EMO, Pixar’s proprietary software “Menv”, Animation module in Maya, some modeling in Maya and Zbrush, rigging in Maya. Working knowledge of 2-d Vector based animation package “Anime Studio”, traditional techniques, including clay animation, stop-motion, cut-outs, clay on glass, sand on glass.

Animated Shorts                                                                                       
Pillow Case - Russian made Stop Motion Drama, classical love triangle, made with real pillows. Done in 10 days, including 16mm film processing.    
The The End of Cone Rider - Russian made Stop Motion Drama about vanity of earthly efforts. Done at Minsk Film Studio for Mini-Max festival in Warsaw.          
Merry Christmas  - Animated postcard to my friends in Russia, using Anime Studio. - 1 week of work.        
Geri's Game - Academy award winning Pixar short, directed by Jan Pinkava, where I served as Director assistant and animator.

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