Our Supporters: Michael Woodside
Disney Animation Supervisor
Michael will be drawing Disney’s favourite snowman, Olaf, for our latest classroom, Global Generations. Join us for the event at 16:30GMT on the 20th November 2020.
About Michael Woodside
Michael began drawing at an early age and confirmed his lifelong passion for animation when he visited the animation studio at the Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios) at the age of six.
After numerous visits and repeat viewings of the “Back to Never Land” video (with Robin Williams and Walter Cronkite), he summoned the courage to tap on the glass one day, and an animator came out to offer encouragement and provide a list of animation schools. When he followed-up with a letter to one of the schools and got an enthusiastic reply, he had to admit that he wasn’t quite old enough to apply.
Born in Santa Clarita, California, Woodside spent his formative years in Central Florida, where his father was an engineer for the space shuttle program, and he was able to attend many launches. Early attempts to create his own hand-drawn films, using the family’s glass dining room table and light from below as a makeshift lightbox, helped him explore his interests. He was accepted into the Visual Language program (taught by former Disney animators) at the University of Central Florida, graduating in May 2008. Following that, he moved to Los Angeles and got his first industry job at Rhythm & Hues working as a Technical Animator responsible for simulating cloth, fur, muscles and whiskers (for the “Chipmunk” movies).
Impressed by the advancements of the Disney Animation team on “Tangled,” Woodside was more determined than ever to work there and spent 15 consecutive weekends driving up to San Francisco from Los Angeles to perfect his craft with a mentor from Pixar Animator through a school called The Animation Collaborative. He joined Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2012 as an Assistant Animator, animating crowd characters for “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Frozen” before being promoted to full animator status on “Big Hero 6,” “Zootopia” and “Moana.” On “Frozen 2,” Woodside supervised the Crowd Animation Team as well as the characters of Sven as well as Anna and Elsa’s parents. He explains, “The crowds need to support the story but not distract from it. They also help tell the audience how they should feel about a given moment.”
Woodside’s love of film and stage musicals, instilled by his grandmother and an influential junior high school teacher, has added to his excitement about working on animated musicals like “Frozen.” He has brought in several top Broadway stars to exchange ideas with the animation team, and to help get a better understanding of stage musical performances.
Woodside and his wife, Brittany, live in Burbank, California, with their pet corgi, Jack the Firetruck, who is a ready model for the animator in his spare time. Michael’s mother has worked at Epcot for more than 20 years and shares his love of all things Disney. He credits both of his parents for supporting and encouraging his artistic pursuits.