Think about the most compelling characters in animation – Woody, Simba, even Mr. Incredible – we see the wonder, pain, joy come through on their faces. We connect, relate, and root for them. Good on-camera actors know how to do this. And as we all know, animating IS acting. We want to distill the moment, bring out the personalities, frailties, eccentricities of our characters. Like Frank and Ollie said, we want to create “the illusion of life."

Acting and Facial Expression Training
for Animators

Whether the creature is an animal or a human, single shot or a sequence of shots, having the skills and tools of an on-camera actor is what will bring your animation to "infinity and beyond." Whether you are making your own reference, or animating your scene under deadline, these classes can take your animators from technicians to storytellers.

They will also learn how to determine the appropriate intensity and decide when to go subtle or broad. They'll determine if it's a joke the director is after or a serious or dramatic moment.

All workshops or consulting options are customizable. All workshops can be done via Zoom or on location. See which workshop fits you or your company's needs.

The Animation Goal


Animators often struggle to authentically connect with a character's emotional journey, hindering their ability to create impactful,  relatable and or believeable performances


*Time-Consuming Iterations:** Repeated attempts to achieve the desired emotional expression can be time-consuming and frustrating for animators, potentially affecting project deadlines and overall productivity.


I teach animators how use their body, voice and face in a very specific way that connects them into a character’s thoughts, desires and physical action. This process ultimately leads them to a more truthful, specific, and inspirational performance


Overcoming emotional animation challenges results in more powerful and emotionally engaging storytelling, leaving a lasting impact on audiences and setting your company apart as a masterful storyteller.

Workshops designed for Animators


Understanding and experiencing the connection between facial expressions and thought, feeling and emotions lays the foundation to building realistic and recognizable characters. It's also the primary goal of the Meet Your Face Class. It's designed to give the animator a tour around their own face.

I’ll supply the tools and show them how to locate, isolate, and activate specific facial muscle groups in order to elicit certain feelings.

In this one of a kind class, the animator gets to experience first hand, what emotions feel like in the body, sound like in the voice and look like on their face.


Having the tools and process to tap into the emotional life of any character gives the animator creative freedom. This creative freedom becomes incredibly powerful when it's coupled with emotional precision.

That's exactly what the Emotion Building Class is designed to do.

This unique class takes the animator through the whole emotion building process. From the onset (trigger) to the response (emotional state) to the recovery and all points in between.  

This course isn’t about dredging up or dwelling on past events. it’s about combining science with imagination. 


The facial reaction is critical to the storytelling process. It gives insight to the inner workings of the character, makes the joke funny or moves the story forward.  

The animator who knows how to find and execute the reaction through their body and face becomes a more powerful storyteller.

The Nail the Reaction Class teaches the animator how to make each shot stand out by breaking it down on the action/reaction timeline. This timeline determines the cadence of the shot and guides the animator into and out of every reaction to underscore the humor or drama with a precise look.


This is project-specific. Here I work with small groups or 1-on-1 to build characters or develop personality through facial expression.

Consultation can include:
* Analyzing and interpreting previz, storyboards, voice tracks
* Shot breakdown and intent clarification.
* Finding the comedy
* Actor for reference videos
* Actor for scratch/temp dialogue
* Director for actor/animator reference

Talk around town

Whether you're an actor or animator, understanding how you personally reveal what you feel and think on your face is paramount to making you emotional life real, recongizable and believeable to the viewer. That's why I developed the Emotion Screen Test. Here what these actors have to say about it's value. 

... creating interesting and unique characters or a useful and inspiring reference, starts with knowing what the emotional muscle groups look and feel like on your own face and how to activate them and then reveal them with the appropriate timing, intensity and duration.

To learn more about this class and others offered, click the button below and set up a time for us to chat.


Check out the "Acting: Face to Face" series.

Both books are now available in digital and paperback.
"Acting: Face to Face" Book 1 is now an audiobook as well!

"These books are worth their weight in gold!"