Webster University makes it a priority to bring in guest speakers that are leading researchers, artists, academics, and entertainers. The animation program itself brings in leading industry professionals to give lecturers on industry insight and trends, presentations on professional development, and even master classes taught by legendary veterans in the field.
Floyd Norman is an American animator, writer, and comic book artist. Over the course of his career, Norman has worked for a number of animation companies, among them Walt Disney Animation Studios, Hanna-Barbera Productions, Ruby-Spears, Film Roman and Pixar.
Marlon West is an effects animation supervisor at Walt Disney Animation Studios. He won a 2017 Annie Award in Outstanding Achievement, Animated Effects in an Animated Production for his work on Moana.
Byron P. Howard is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, animator, story artist and occasional voice actor at Walt Disney Animation Studios. He is best known as the co-director of Bolt (2008), Tangled (2010), and Zootopia (2016), and a supervising animator on Lilo & Stitch (2002) and Brother Bear (2003). He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Tangled and won for Zootopia.
Rich Moore is an American film and television animation director, screenwriter, voice actor, and a creative partner at both Rough Draft Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios. He is best known for his work on the animated television shows The Simpsons, The Critic, and Futurama, and for directing the Disney animated film Wreck-It Ralph (2012) and co-directing Zootopia (2016). He is a two-time Emmy Award winner, a three-time Annie Award winner, and an Academy Award winner.
Charles Martin “Chuck” Jones was an American animator, cartoon artist, screenwriter, producer, and director of animated films, most memorably of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts for the Warner Bros. Cartoons studio. He directed many classic animated cartoon shorts starring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, Pepé Le Pew, Porky Pig and a slew of other Warner characters.
Franklin Rosborough “Frank” Thomas was an American animator. He was one of Walt Disney’s team of animators; known as the Nine Old Men. Among the characters and scenes Thomas animated were the dwarfs crying over Snow White’s “dead” body, Pinocchio singing at the marionette theatre, Bambi and Thumper on the ice, Lady and the Tramp eating spaghetti, the three fairies in Sleeping Beauty, Merlin and Arthur as squirrels and the “wizard’s duel” between Merlin and Madam Mim in The Sword in the Stone (in which he was paired with animator Milt Kahl to great effect), King Louie in The Jungle Book (the song number “I Wan’na Be Like You” featuring King Louie and Baloo the Bear re-teamed him with Kahl), the dancing penguins in Mary Poppins, and Winnie The Pooh and Piglet in Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too.
Oliver Martin “Ollie” Johnston, Jr. was an American motion picture animator. He was one of Disney’s Nine Old Men. He was an animator at Walt Disney Studios from 1935 to 1978, and became a directing animator beginning with Pinocchio, released in 1940. He contributed to most Disney animated features, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia and Bambi. His last full work for Disney came with The Rescuers, in which he was caricatured as one of the film’s characters, the cat Rufus. The very last film he worked on was The Fox and the Hound.
John Canemaker has won an Academy Award, an Emmy and a Peabody Award for his animation and is an internationally-renowned animation historian and teacher. A key figure in American independent animation, Canemaker’s work has a distinctive personal style emphasizing emotion, personality and dynamic visual expression.
Canemaker is also a noted author who has written nine books on animation, as well as numerous essays, articles and monographs for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications.
Will Vinton is the world renowned Claymation® pioneer having coined and trademarked the word and created some of the most innovative dimensional animation in history. He has received an Academy Award and multiple Emmys for his films and has created, directed and produced some of the best known animated characters in the world, including The California Raisins and the “CG” (“Computer Animated”) M&Ms “Red” and “Yellow”. He produced the acclaimed television series “THE PJs” for The WB, and “GARY AND MIKE” for UPN.
When it comes to motion picture special effects, there is only one name that personifies movie magic – Ray Harryhausen. His most memorable works include the animation on Mighty Joe Young (1949), with his mentor Willis H. O’Brien, which won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects; The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), his first color film; and Jason and the Argonauts (1963), featuring a famous sword fight with seven skeleton warriors. His last film was Clash of the Titans (1981).
Kathy Rose’s work has evolved from her early drawn animated films of the 1970’s, through her unique, pioneering performance work combining dance with film in the 1980-90’s, to her current surreal performance video spectacles and installations, with influence from symbolist art and the Japanese Noh theater.
Bill Plympton is an American animator, graphic designer, cartoonist, and filmmaker best known for his 1987 Academy Award-nominated animated short Your Face and his series of shorts Guard Dog,Guide Dog, Hot Dog and Horn Dog.
Plympton’s illustrations and cartoons have been published in The New York Times and the weekly newspaper The Village Voice, as well as in the magazinesVogue, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Penthouse, and National Lampoon. His political cartoon strip Plympton, which began in 1975 in the Soho Weekly News, eventually was syndicated and appeared in over 20 newspapers. His distinctive style is easily recognized.
Saschka Unseld is known for his work on The Blue Umbrella (2013), Toy Story 3 (2010) and Brave (2012).
Alan Chan is most known for being Senior Technical Director and Stereoscopic Lead at Sony Pictures Imageworks, where he has served on projects such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers.
Leonard Michael Maltin is an American film critic and historian, author of several mainstream books on cinema, focusing on nostalgic, celebratory narratives. He is known as a “go-to” critic for the major studios, for writing the shortest review in the U.S.and creating the Walt Disney Treasures series.
Jerry Beck is an American animation historian, author, blogger, and video producer. The author or editor of several books on classic American animation. Beck is also an entertainment industry consultant for TV and home entertainment productions and releases related to classic cartoons and operates the blog “Cartoon Research.” He appears frequently as a documentary subject and audio commentator on releases of A&E’s Cartoons Go To War as well as DVD collections of Looney Tunes, Popeye the Sailor, and Woody Woodpecker cartoons, on which he serves a consultant and curator.
“I’m very happy that so many young fans have told me that my films have changed their lives. That’s a great compliment. It means I did more than just make entertaining films. I actually touched people’s lives — and, I hope, changed them for the better.”Ray Harryhausen