‘Janie & Jerome’: Producer Eric Weil’s exercise in Storytelling

Eric Weil is an Emmy-Winning producer and indie kids’ filmmaker who has been teaching Storytelling at the School of Visual Arts for six years now. Select shorts from Weil’s seven-part Sesame Workshop series, ‘Janie & Jerome,’ were featured at festivals like the Tribeca Film Festival and the BAMKids Festival in 2005.

During our chat, Weil explained that the idea for ‘Janie’ came from a dream his younger sister described to him when they were growing up. She described her dreams as “movies coming out of her pillow.” Thus the idea for Janie, a little girl that dreams in movie strip pictures, was born.

‘Janie & Jerome’s’ crayon-drawn style was a distinct choice that Weil made as a storytelling strategy. “It was what was true to that world,” he said. See ‘Janie & Jerome’ short, ‘Rain,’ below:


Veteran Artist and Visual Arts Professor, Martin Abrahams Talks History of Amination

Martin Abrahams, a self-proclaimed pioneer of the music video medium and veteran animator, is an enthusiastic advocate of his students at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He has been teaching since 1971, but is also an alumni of SVA, having studied painting and fine arts. Soon, as a way to make a living, Abrahams veered off into the world of animation, a very new field at the time.

When I first visited his classroom on Saturday, which was full of advanced graphic design and animation students, I could barely tell him apart from his pupils. Wearing dark skinny jeans, a plaid green button up and Chuck Taylors, at first glance it’s hard to believe he’s had over 30 years of animation experience.

Here are some of the highlights from our hour-long chat together:

What was working on one of ABC’s first educational children’s programs, ‘Make A Wish,’ (1971-76) like?

That particular show was a very unique show. It incorporated these kinds of little quick animation vignettes. It would mix animation with quick cut stock footage.  It was great. It allowed myself as an animator to be able to work independently, and offer what only I could do in my style, my ideas, storyboarding concept based on a script—and because it was cut so fast, you know, it was young kid quality.

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School of Visual Arts Student, Nuno Nobre, Works on His Film

Today, during my visit to the School of Visual Arts in New York City, I sat in on an Advanced Digital Compositing class taught by animators Martin Abrahams and Eric Eiser.

One of the highlights of my trip was meeting animation student Nuno Nobre, 29. Nobre, who studied for two years at ESDIP professional drawing and animation school in Madrid, Spain, came to SVA to finish his thesis.

Part of Nobre’s thesis is a short film called “Foot Fetish,” a quirky story about a man who falls in love and pursues a women with his feet. After showing me a very rough cut of the film, Nobre went to a nearby drawing room to work on a 2-3 second scene.

Below is a short video of Nobre working on his animation:

The scene Nobre is working on is when the woman tries to escape from the lovelorn man by crawling out the window.

All Nobre’s favorite animated films, including Waltz With Bashir and Persepolis feature non-traditional types of animation. Unique styles that he hopes to emulate in his own work. When our talk came around to “The Secret of Kells,” he said he was very excited to see the movie, saying that he “loves the textures and the backgrounds” incorporated in the Oscar nominated film.

To learn more about Nobre, check out his website.