Teresa Drilling

*Birth: *

Animation Director/Supervisor and Stop Motion Animator

Instructor at the Art Institute of Portland

*Bio Summary:*
Teresa Drilling is one of the nation’s best stop-motion animators. She has
worked on projects for the big screen, for broadcast, advertising and the
web. As stated on her website, she has worked as an animator, animator
supervisor, director, designer, developer and consultant.

*Early Life/Family:*
Teresa Drilling grew up in Oakfield, a small rural community in upstate New
York. She is from a blue-collar family and was the first person in her
family to get a college degree. She got her first acrylic art kit from her
uncle who was an arti director for advertising agencies in North Carolina.
She learned about crafts and painting from her grandmother.

She was a kind of bookish kid and self-motivated. She would draw, create
collage and things like that on her own. Her parents were very good about
letting her do her own thing. Aside from her parents, music was also a big
inspiration for her when she was younger. She was in a marching band.

In a spring 2012 About Face Magazine issue, Teresa Drilling shares a bit on
her early life such as how she grew up in a small rural community in
upstate New York. She comes from a blue-collar family and is the first
person in her family to get a college degree. When growing up, her parents
would allow her to do her own thing, and as a bookish and self-motivated
kid, she would draw, create collages and do other projects of the sort on
her own. Within her family, Teresa had the artistic influence of her uncle
and her grandmother. She received her first acrylic kit from her uncle who
was an art director for advertising agencies in North and she also learned
a lot from her grandmother who was into painting and arts and crafts. In
addition, Teresa also shares that music was another big inspiration for her
when she was younger and she adds that she was in marching band.

- OACS alumni ‘79

- The Rochester Institute of Technology—Rochester, NY

(Associate of Science in Graphic Design/ Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting)

*Career Outline:*
Teresa Drilling has had over twenty years of experience in the animation
industry. She grew up in upstate New York and attended Rochester Institute
of Technology and obtained an Associate of Science in Graphic Design and a
Bachelors of Fine Arts in Painting. While a student, she worked with
photographer Robin Crist on a stop-motion film, *The Owl and the Pussycat. *It
received a lot of recognition and aired on HBO for two years. This led her
to a job in New York City for Broadcast Arts. Teresa had joined ASIFA-East
and learned through a newsletter that Vinton Studios was advertising for
staff. She applied and was hired, and in 1987, Teresa moved to Portland,
Oregon to work at there. She worked there for fourteen years and became
master animator and director. In 1991 she won an Emmy for Outstanding
Individual Achievement in Animation for “Claymation Comedy of Horrors”. In
1999, Teresa was invited by Peter Lord to work on Chicken Run in Britain
with Aardman Features as a key animator. She also joined Chiodo Bros as
Lead Animator on the feature *Elf *(2003) showing her passion and
dedication by animating sometimes up to eighteen hours straight. In her
career, Teresa Drilling also designed Sesame Street’s “Cecille the Ball”.
In 2008, Teresa Drilling was awarded another Emmy on “Creatures Comfort
America”. She most recently worked on Coraline and currently works as a
stop-motion animator at Starburns Industries.

Throughout her career as an animator, Teresa Drilling has also been a
teacher and instructor on the side and shared her knowledge and skills with

Educational/Teaching Experience:
2009 to present *The Art Institute of Portland* (Part-Time Faculty: Stop-Motion Studies)

2011 *NBC/PBS Sprout Network*, Philadelphia PA (Workshop Organizer and Instructor)

*Pacific Northwest College of Art*, Portland OR (Guest Instructor)

2010 *California Institute of the Arts (*Guest Artist & Lecturer)

2009 *The Portland Creative Conference* (Featured Speaker)

2009 *Oregon Museum of Science & Industry Animation Camp,* Portland OR ( Guest Instructor)

2006 *Zeum, Multimedia Arts and Technology Museum,* San Francisco CA (Guest Instructor)

*Association International du Film d’Animation (ASIFA), USA- NW Chapter* (Curator)

*Oregon Museum of Science and Industry*, Portland OR

2005 *Rochester Institute of Technology*, Rochester NY (Guest Lecturer)

*High Falls Film Festival,* Rochester NY (Featured Speaker)

2002 *Portland State University* (Curriculum Developer/Instructor of Record)

2001 *Vinton Studios*, Portland OR (Coordinator)

2000 *Vinton Studios*, Portland OR (Curriculum Developer/Instructor)

1989-90 *Vinton Studios*, Portland OR (Curriculum Developer/Instructor)

1992 *Oregon Art Institute*, Portland OR (Speaker)

1991 *University Film & Video Association Conference* (Speaker)

1989 *International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House (* Speaker)

*Comments on Style:*
Teresa Drilling explains on her website that she “can do a lot of things,
in a lot of different styles”. She is known as one of the nation’s top
stop-motion animators and specializes in Claymation. Teresa also explains,
“I’m one of the few people who still practice the classic Vinton
Claymation® style. Frankly, I’d feel better if there were more of us to
ensure it doesn’t become a lost art”.

In addition, in regards to her style, Teresa explains the following:

"A good analogy I have to describe my range is to compare what I do
professionally to what a seasoned studio musician can do. If you want me
to do classical, I can do that. If you want me to do hip hop, or rock, or
experimental John Cage, I can do all of that. The biggest hallmark of my
style is my ability to flexibly mimic or craft whatever is needed, yet
maintain a real sense of life and character in the work. I don't believe
one style is superior to another. I like the fact that there is a range.
When someone comes up with another way of doing things, I find that
immensely interesting.

Left to my own devices (which doesn't happen often enough), I tend to
gravitate toward focusing on timing and pose rather than on following
photorealistic perfection in the rendering (although I can do that too). I
like the energy that shooting on twos imparts, and I am very focused on
composition and design elements (color, texture, tone, line and shadow).

I am also more drawn to experimental renditions of narrative structure. Not
so artsy fartsy that most viewers are confused, because connecting with the
viewer is important to me, but still something that looks different and is
beautiful in its own way. Beauty and a sense of emotional life is more
important to me than perfect surface and action."

Teresa Drilling has many different influences such as the following:

"A lot of stop motion animators are heavily influenced by Ray
Harryhausen's work and approach. While I admire and appreciate the
Harryhausen style, I've been much more influenced by the work of the
Canadian National Film Board and the work of independents like Jan
Svankmajer, Peter Lord, I.D. Marinescu, and George Griffin."

In an ASIFA Seattle 2002 interview, Teresa reveals some more of those who
had a big impact on her:

Teresa shares: “I had the good fortune and privilege of working closely
with Barry Bruce, the creative force behind Vinton’s for many years. He was
a great role model in expanding boundaries, exploring alternatives, and
engaging the heart of creativity. He had very high expectations that one
had to work hard to satisfy, and one got better in the process. He gave me
opportunities to be challenged and to experiment, and was generous and
supportive of my efforts, which of course made a huge impact. The time I
spent at Aardman also made a great impact on me, by challenging my
assumptions and exposing me to another very well developed and intricate
animation system. It’s really true, you can’t know what working on a
feature is truly like until you’ve done it”.

Other big influences on Teresa Drilling were Canadian National Television
Board Shorts that she got to watch on television when she was younger.

In addition, around the age of 13, she was also very influenced by “Closed
Monday” created by Will Vinton and Bob Gardner as well as “Icarus” both of
which were shown in some of the earliest Animation Festivals.

The following are just a few of the many great things people have to say
about working with Teresa Drilling:

“Teresa is a consummate professional. Time and again she has demonstrated
her ability to look beyond immediate obstacles and find a way to get the
work done; and she does this while maintaining a calm and cool demeanor
which only reassures those around her that they can rise to the occasion.
I do not hesitate to recommend Teresa for any group that would be smart
enough to welcome her to their team.”

Keld Bangsberg, *The Art Institute of Portland, Media Arts & Animation
Department Director*

“Teresa is one of the most under-rated talents in the stop motion industry.
Her skills as an animator and animation director are second to none. She
knows this art form and practices at a very high level. I have been
animating for 30 years and I don't know many people who can match her
skills. She is very thorough, conscientious and is attentive to the needs
of those working for and with her.

I can't recommend her highly enough.”
Tom Gasek, Assistant Professor, RIT

*Director, Out of Hand Animation, Sculptoons, Aardman Animations, Olive
Jar, Will Vinton Studios*

“Teresa is an incredibly talented animator whose depth of experience,
innate sense of motion/timing, sensible approach to design and ability to
set realistic goals added volumes to my project. She offered a variety of
solutions to challenges in production from the design of sets and
characters, reading of tracks, prioritizing & scheduling shots, to
practical, intensely focused and refined animation. She is, after all, a
director/animator - yet she never interfered with my ability to direct but
rather enhanced my vision with considerate, sage council and only when
asked or invited to do so. As an animator, Teresa’s ability to create
convincing movements, perfecting subtleties of gesture, added a level of
sophistication and elegance uncommon in stop-motion. She is intuitive,
intelligent, patient and overall great to work with.”
Dan Ackerman, *Owner/Director, Ackerman Films/Stage 13 Studio*

“Teresa Drilling is without a doubt one of the best stop motion animators
in the business today. Her knowledge of the entire animation process makes
her an extremely valuable collaborator because she can jump in and fulfill
any task with top notch results. Teresa's drive and dedication make her an
extraordinary to have her join one of my projects.”
Stephen Chiodo,* Creative Director, Chiodo Brothers Productions*

“Teresa is not your average animator. She’s always been an amazingly
dedicated animator. She’s really into the art of animation, studying it,
working at it. She’s always been someone who liked to take on pretty
tough challenges, and stop-motion has especially tricky qualities. She
became a very important part of the studio”
Will Vinton, *Owner, Freewill Entertainment*

Teresa Drilling was a guest for the 2005 Animation Program of the High
Falls Film Festival. On an Animatus Studio site, Teresa expresses the

"What's exciting to me is the process of putting that spark of life into a
place where it hasn't been before. Pushing the envelope in terms of
performance, movement, aesthetics, and experience… using a variety of
techniques and media... that's important to me. I'm drawn to the
possibility and potential of the work, especially when it rings true."

On deadline for the Frosty the Snowman scene for Elf, Teresa animated 3
takes in a 45 hour period with only short naps between takes. Stephen
Chiodo told her that she could shoot it on 2s but she refused to
compromise her animation. She made her deadline and the Frosty scene
was in the advanced screening and thus in the finished picture.

She is one of only a few American animators who has worked with Aardman and knows their style and timing.

Professional Bibliography:
*Coraline: A Visual Companion* by Stephen Jones, 2009 (HarperCollins, NY)
*Stop Motion Craft Skills for Model Animation* by Susannah Shaw,
2nd edition 2008 (Focal Press, Oxford)
*Stop Motion: Passion, Process and Performance* by Barry J.C. Purves,
008 (Focal Press, Oxford)
*The Animated Movie Guide* by Jerry Beck, 2005 (Chicago Review Press) pg. 52
*3-Dimensional Illustration Awards Annua**l* Editor Nick Greco,
1995 (Rockport Publishers, Rockport MA)
*Clay Animation: American Highlights 1908 to the Present* by Michael Frierson,
1994 (Twayne Publishers, NY)

Professional Organizations:
- National member of the American Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
International Animated Film Association (ASIFA)-Hollywood, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle
Registered with Television Academy Foundation's Visiting Professionals Program

6/13- Present: *Anomalisa *(Starburns Industry) (stop-motion animator)
8/12-8/12 *Stereotype *(Partizan Worldwide) (animator)
5/12-8/12 *Jingle & Bell's Christmas Star* (TV Movie) (animation supervisor) / (key animator)
3/12–4/12 *Cartoon Network/Adult Swim *– “Beforeal Orel” (Animation Supervisor/Animator)
5/11–8/11 *Hallmark *– “Jingle All the Way” (Animation Supervisor/Lead Animator)
12/10 *The Simpsons* – “Angry Dad; The Movie” (Key Animator)
9/10–11/10 *Community* – “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”
(Animation Director, stop-motion TV episode)
7/07–10/08 *Coraline –*Animator* / *LAIKA Entertainment (Focus Features)
2007 *Creature Comforts America* (TV Series) (animator - 6 episodes) (key animator - 2 episodes)
1999-2006 *Sesame Street* (TV Series) (animation director - 3 episodes)
2005 *The Curse of the Were-Rabbit* (key animator)
2004 *Magda* (Short) (stop motion animator)
2003 *Elf* (animator: Leon the Snowman, Chiodo Brothers)
2001 *Playhouse Disney* (TV Series) (lead animator: "Clay Play" interstitials)
2000 *Chicken Run* (additional key animator) Additional Key Animator* / *Aardman Features (DreamWorks SKG)
1996 *Home Improvement* (TV Series) (additional character designer - 1 episode) (animation director - 1 episode) The Wood, the Bad and the Hungry (1996)
1992 *Claymation Easter* (TV Special) (lead animator)
1992 *Dance! Workout with Barbie* (Video short) (animation co-director) / (animation designer) / (animation director) / (animator)
1991 *Adventures in Wonderland* (TV Series) (animator)
1991 *Sesame Street* “Cecille: I'm Gonna Get to You"
1990 *Claymation Comedy of Horrors Show* Primetime Special (TV Short)
1988 *Meet the Raisins!* (TV Short) (lead animator)
1987 *A Claymation Christmas Celebration* (TV Special short) (animator)

3/12 Caliri Studio – Additional Animator (Music video: The Shins, “The Rifle’s Spiral”).
2/12 Bix Pix Productions – Lead Animator, fabrication specialist, track reader.
6/10–7/10 Hornet, Inc. – Lead Animator, clay sculpting and metamorphosis specialist
11/08–4/09 Zornado Productions – Director, Animator, Designer
2/07–7/07 Ackerman Films, LLC. – Production Specialist: Lead Animator & Character Design
1/06, 5/06 Bent Image Lab – Director, Animator, Model Builder
2001– 2005 Bowes & Associates – Associate, Director, Consultant
6/02– 8/03 Chel White Films – Lead Design Animator
1995–2001 Vinton Studios – Director (CG & Stop-Motion), Master Animator (Stop-Motion)

*Honors: *
Emmy: Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation
*Creature Comforts America* (2008)
*Claymation Comedy of Horrors* (1991)
Emmy: Certificates of Contribution *Sesame Street* (1991)
*A Claymation Christmas* (1987)
Bronze Telly—Local, regional & cable: “Touchmark Origami: Business” (2009)
Portland Creative Conference—Portland, OR: Featured presenter, 9/09

*Related Links:*,0,489743.story#sthash.fY6kuVgm.CLZhmD3B.dpuf

*Bibliographic References:*

*Contributors to This Listing:*
Teresa Drilling
Michelle Trujillo
Larry Loc

Animators Hall of Fame