Q&A with Tom and Tony Bancroft

The Bancroft Brothers

The Animator Letters Project is proud to feature a Q&A with the Bancroft brothersTom and Tony Bancroft, both former animators at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Currently, Tom is the Art Director for The Christian Broadcasting Network, and Tony is a director at RGH Entertainment.

Tom’s feature film credits include The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Mulan, and Tarzan, to name a few. Check out Tom’s book, Character Mentor Studio.

Tony’s feature film credits include The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and The Emperor’s New Groove, to name a few. Check out Tony’s book, Directing for Animation.

The Q&A will take place on Thursday, October 1st, 12:00 – 1:00 pm, Central Time, where the Bancroft brothers will respond to your questions in the comments section below. You will not want to miss this valuable opportunity to ask questions of Tom and Tony Bancroft, where you will be able to gleam wisdom and advice from their time in the animation industry.

The Bancroft brothers are contributors of The Animator Letters Project, and you can read their inspiring letter here on the website.

Two lucky Q&A participants will win a unique, original piece of artwork by either Tom or Tony Bancroft. The giveaway will be held at the end of the Q&A and I will announce the winner, so be sure to check back to see if you won! Tom said he will do a drawing by request for whoever wins, and Tony is giving away the Pumbaa drawing below, which he was supervising animator on.


Please write your questions for Tom and Tony in the comments section below before Thursday, October 1st at 12:00 pm for it to be included in the Q&A.

Doctors for the Human Spirit


Here is a letter written by Amelia LorenzCalArts graduate, and animator at JibJab Media Inc.

Lorenz had the opportunity to go through the internship program at Pixar Animation Studios during the summer of 2011. You can watch her demo reel here.

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Dear Willie,

Animation has been an incredibly rewarding career for me, so I encourage you to go for your goals and don’t give up. I haven’t been in the industry for even a year yet, so most of my learning experience has been from school and talking with professionals in the industry. But I’d love to pass on their advice to others, since it has greatly helped me:

  • Keep it simple. This is deceptively difficult. But I find that sometimes, when something I’m working on isn’t working out, I apply this rule and it helps me approach my problem from a new, clearer perspective.
  • Work smarter, not harder. It’s tempting to stay up all night and crunch to finish a shot…and in school, at first I thought this was a necessary part of the process. But I found that it’s just counter-productive. I made sub-par work, and it took me way longer! So plan, commit, and follow-through with your schedule. Get up early. Avoid crunching cause you’re just going to crash later.
  • “Done” is better than “perfect”. This advice helps me keep things in perspective. First of all, our opinion of “perfect” can change at any time. so we could be “perfecting” something indefinitely. Secondly, what you might see as a flaw in your work could go completely unnoticed by someone else. And our goal in the end is to share our work with others, right? So shoot for something complete that others can enjoy. A complete shot or a complete short film, not necessarily a “perfect” one.

All of this advice has helped me keep both feet on the ground in a pretty wacky career. It doesn’t sound glamorous, but I found it incredibly valuable.

One other thing that I sometimes remind myself- storytelling is a way of bringing people together, and it can be a way of healing sometimes. So animators may not be like police officers or fireman or doctors, in the traditional sense, but I believe as storytellers we can be like doctors for the human spirit. We can show that the world can be beautiful, that people can learn and grow, and that life can be pretty cool. We can be like the cheer-leaders of the human race! So that makes me feel good, even though “all I do” is draw. I try to draw for good reasons. It seems like as long as I enjoy what I do, and others enjoy it too, then it’s worth it.

Good luck! Hope this helps.

Amelia Lorenz (signed)

What Is The Animator Letters Project All About?

In the video below, aspiring animators from around the world share their stories about how The Animator Letters Project has impacted their lives. They share how the letters have encouraged and inspired them to not give up and to pursue their dreams. They are just a few out of the thousands who have been impacted by this project. You may be asking yourself why you should write a letter for this project. Watch this video and let their stories speak to you, and I think you will see why your participation makes a difference.


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