Show 004 – Nik Ranieri, Part One

Nik Ranieri

The Animation Podcast returns with a Canadian invasion! Here’s part one (of many more) with Nik Ranieri. Nik tells us about going to Sheridan to learn animation and what good animation means to him.

Get it here: Show 4: Nik Ranieri, Part One
Animation Podcast Show 4 MP3

(11.1MB, 32:15 minutes)

38 Comments on “Show 004 – Nik Ranieri, Part One

  1. Great work Clay! I’m gonna listen to it right now, just had to finally comment on the site, as a student at Sheridan right now, I can’t tell you how phenominal this is going to be. Thanks from all students everywhere.

  2. Real nice interview Clay. Let me make a couple comments:

    1) On this one, the volume went up and down a couple times – at one point it almost sounded like you were in a echo chamber a bit. Not a huge deal but I figured I would mention it.

    2) I was going to say this earlier, but I wanted to let you get your feet wet first 🙂 For your introduction/endings – throw away the script you are reading and just TALK to us! You come off sounding really stiff in the beginning and at some parts toward the end (the end is looser than the intros). I’m sure some of this will flow better as you do more shows too. If you need flashcards with bullet points on them to remind you to say each thing, maybe use that – but talk in your own words. It’s not a big deal if you pause or stumble over a word. The presentation is going to be much smoother for the listener even with those in there because we’ll hear you speak naturally instead of read to us. Remember, this is ‘radio’ – think of yourself as a radio host. The only thing they really read is excepts, commercials and promos.

    Hope that didn’t come off too critical, as always I loved the interview and I think you are doing a wonderful job. Looking forward to the next one – and I know what he means about the Warner Bros. stuff – I fully agree!


  3. Hey Tom,
    Thanks for the feedback, I truly appreciate it.

    Technically, I still feel like I’m wading through mud. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes I can’t make a thing work. Every show is like two steps forward, one step back. Yes, the audio needs a lot of help on show 4. I’ve actually got HOURS of material to work with and I end up moving things around for continuity and clarity, and often the sound suffers since it doesn’t match. I’m trying, believe me, I’m trying.

    As far as the “reading” – says who, jerk? I always sound like a robot. I’m only joking. It’s actually pretty funny that I would end up doing an audio program because I am about one of the worst speakers I can imagine. It’s not a stretch to say that I do more talking to make a show than I do in an entire day sometimes. I know that’s no excuse, but I do need to ween myself off of the written notes. No one knows more than I do how painful it is to listen to me read. I can only laugh about it and try to improve. What a way to practice, on all you poor souls.

    I always try to do my best, and next show I’ll give your approach a shot. If it doesn’t work I’ll just change the name to The Animation Snoozefest. Thanks for bringing it up, really.


  4. Clay, I think both you and Tom are being a bit too critical. Yes, it would be great if you could “relax” a bit more but the truth is what you are doing with this site is bigger than your voice… it’s about the guest’s voice and I think you are damn brave for doing it in the first place! Rock on my love!!

  5. Great Show Clay!

    It’s funny how I posted a message earlier asking for you to talk to Nik Ranieri here on animationpodcast and I only assumed you should know him, I mean, I wans’t sure, but here he is on this month’s show and I’m like WOW!!!

    thanks a lot!


  6. Hi Clay, just finished the latest podcast. There may be some volume issues, and you may use a script so you don’t leave anything out… but so what? These podcasts are AWESOME! I’m currently enrolled in, just starting the second semester, and it’s great to be able to hear from these contemporary greats in their own words. It’s very inspiring, especially just trying to start out as I am. What I really like is not only hearing about what your interviewees did, but why they made certain choices, where they came from, things that inspire them, and so on. Your interviews make me think as well, about what inspires me, or what I want to achieve. Keep up the great work!

  7. Hi Clay!

    First of all, the animation podcast is amazing! I want to thank you for the initiative and for the effort! I got here from Jason’s blog. Keep it up! I’m really looking foward to more episodes!



  8. Yes, thank you Intro Voice 😉 . As long as the guests can be heard, I’m happy too.

    Kaveh, it was sort of an inevitibility since I worked with Nik for the last two years on Chicken Little. I knew I’d have to make him get on the show at some point. Like I said before, I talked to Nik for a long time so there will be at least four (and probably more) shows with him.

    Matt, thanks for the support. I’m glad you like the podcast now, and I can almost guarantee that it will only get better in the future.

    Mau, I appreciate the feedback. Thanks for listening.

  9. Wow! First of all, I want to thank you for this site and all the effort you’ve put into making this happen!
    To hear these animation masters speak about an artform we all love so much is simply amazing!
    Being on the other side of the Atlantic, we don’t get many chances to see or listen to any of today’s top professionals, so these interviews are a real treat!
    I really enjoyed all the shows so far and I listen to them over and over again, because they’re so inspirational!
    Is there any chance you could organize a live chat with one of these animators somtimes in the future? That would be fantastic!
    Anyway, I love what you’re doing and I can’t wait for the rest of the interview with Nik Ranieri!

    Best regards,


  10. Awesome show, Clay. After checking the site everyday for so long, the show seemed extra special today.

    You know, I have to agree with Nik also, that the Warner stuff always seemed funnier, more full of attitude. I think Walt was the first to admit though, that much of the inspiration for Disney shorts came from the pastoral Midwest. Didn’t somebody once say you break ’em all down into two types: barnyard characters and poolhall characters? I guess I always went for the wiseass two-bit Warners characters who were trying to get one over on somebody.

    I’d tip my hat to you, but I haven’t got a hat.
    Corey Barba

  11. Gabor, good suggestion. I’m not going to rule that out for the future, but for now just getting the shows out is enough to keep me busy for a very long time. Let me get a handle on that and then I’ll see about branching out.

    Hi Corey. Thanks for the music for Show 4. I’ll add it to the show notes later, but until then, I hope you don’t mind me plugging your site here:

  12. Due to my final exams (which I passed, yipee!) I hadn’t got the chance to listen to it until now, and once again a lovely show! There’s only one tiny nitpicking small comment I have: the previous podcasts all seemed kind of finished parts of one whole interview, while this one doesn’t. It’s because he was talking about the guys from his former studio, and he saw they could do good animation, and then you interupted him to talk about “good animation”. But you didn’t turn back to the starting point after this (great) tangent, and this causes this show to seem “unfinished”, if you get what I mean. If you didn’t talk about that anymore at all in the interview, than of course there’s no reason to start a new subject, but if you did, I had put something of it at the end. Even if it was just to make some kind of cliffhanger. Now it just didn’t seem “finished”, structure-wise.

    Still a great, inspirational interview, though! Can’t wait to hear more.

    Oh, and about the reading cards. I don’t really have a problem with it. Especially when you throw stuff inbetween like the “putumptum tsssh” after the canadians part. That was just hilarious! It sounded so staged that it became amazingly funny. There’s absolutely no need for you to become a great radio-like presentator, definitly not if you can laugh with it yourself 🙂

    – Ben

  13. Thanks for your comment Ben.

    Nik is a great storyteller and he has so much to share, the hardest part for me is deciding where to break of the interviews so they stay at digestible lengths. Nik Part Two will pick up where this show left off.


  14. Hey, Clay, once again, fantastic show and can’t wait to hear more from Nik!

    And thanks for the mention! Whatta guy.

    Keep it up,

  15. Hey Clay….

    Great interview…and the past shows have been fantastic as well. Keep them coming and thank you again for creating the website.


  16. Hey Clay,

    What a great idea you had ! The Podcast is really a great way to to hear it directly from the animation artists we admire. It is much more interesting to hear them than it is to read an edited interview in magazines or books. Make sure you get Joe Moshier for an interview!
    By the way, I did not know the he was also a DJ! He’s good!
    Keep them coming!
    All the best.

  17. Ward – thanks for being part of the show!

    JB – thanks for listening and for the comments!

    Sandro – I’ve been wondering if you had found the show. Thanks for the message. You’re one of my favorite animators so it’s an honor to hear from you. We’ll have to figure out how to get you on the show one of these days. I keep telling Joe he WILL be on the show, but he’s one of the most modest (and talented) guys I know. I’ll keep working on him.


  18. Hey Clay,
    Odd question for a comment, but since I can’t get in touch with Mr. Ranieri, is it true as I read in the SDCC update, that he will be attending the San Diego Comic Con? Will he have any sketchbooks or anything for sale?
    Any Info would be helpful.

  19. Randeep,
    I was planning on attending the Con this year as a patron, not as a guest. Unfortunately, a family situation came up that will prevent me from going this year.

  20. Hey Mr. Ranieri!

    big fan, saw your drawing of Lumiere in Vivi’s office at Sheridan by the way,
    Thanks for replying. Good to know, hope all is well with your family and wish you all the best.

    Thanks for the reply

    ps. If there’s any way for me to e-mail you, I’d love to talk to you about a couple of things, please get in touch with me at

  21. Clay,

    I’m really enjoying The Animation Podcast. Looking forward to Part 2 of the Nik Ranieri interview . This is a great project you’ve embarked on. I only wish someone with a reel-to-reel tape recorder had done this with people like Ken Harris and Milt Kahl back in the 40’s and 50’s when they were at the height of their careers .


  22. David,
    I couldn’t agree more. I love hearing the Milt audio on Seward Street and there’s some great Walt audio floating around out there. Those were the inspiration for doing this. I find it so nice to hear “un-produced” audio, meaning not meant for broadcast, just talking. That’s how I try to keep it – nice and informal. If anyone is out there interviewing animators now, I haven’t heard of any audio, so I figured, “Why not be the one to get it going and share what I find?” No reason to keep it all for myself, right?

  23. Walt audio? As in Disney or Stanchfield? You should make an announcement to see if anyone has it and have a bunch of people host it! I’d be in!

  24. Will all the interviews be with Disney animators? Of course there are a lot of good animators at Disney but I would think there are one or two good at for example Pixar as well 🙂
    I am not criticizing, just asking. I understand that it is a lot easier for you to interview people that work in the same place as yourself.

  25. Randeep,
    the Walt Audio is Walt Disney. I’m not sure who has the rights to it, if anybody. Right now I’m going to concentrate on getting new audio online. I’ll leave the Walt audio to someone who A) has it and B) feels they can legally put it out there.

    No I’m not limiting myself to Disney animators. I wanted to start with people I’m comfortable with because I knew they would be understanding and patient when technical problems came up – and they have. For a while, I’ll probably stick with people I know and when I get more comfortable with the whole interviewing thing I’ll reach out to people I don’t know as well. I’ve talked to some Pixar animators about interviews. I’ll just have to find the time to fly up and record a conversation.

  26. Hey can you get Joe Moshier to come in and talk about character design? that would be awesome..

  27. Hi there, It would be awesome if you could get some of the former Pixar animators on your show like Kyle Balda or Mark oftedal, and find out about there experiences and also what life is like for them after they left the feature film arena. These guys are up there with the best!!!



  28. I don’t know about Mark Oftedal, but Kyle Balda still is in the feature film arena. I believe he’s currently Animation Supervisor for the upcoming French CG film “Why I Did (Not) Eat My Father”. I don’t really know much about the film, except for a little paragraph and a picture in an issue of 3D World Magazine.

    @David: we’re all excited to hear the second part, but don’t be impatient, man 🙂
    I bet he’s working on it as much as he can.

    – Benjamin

  29. Thanks for the suggestions Ross. I’ll add them to my growing list. Maybe I should just make a post asking for suggestions.

    Benjamin, thanks for the info. And, yes I’m working on the show right now. In fact, I’m interupting myself to post this. 🙂
    You can’t blame David, though. He went to school with Nik and I think he’s mentioned in the next installment.


  30. Clay
    Great podcasts!

    During a part of Nik Ranieri interview, you mentioned a handout that some older Disney greats gave? And that there was a link with some of that stuff posted “that will keep us busy for hours.”

    Can you post the link? Or can anyone else point me there?

    Also the Walt stuff would be great to hear, anyone willing to share the link?

    Show production critiques:

    My 2 cents regarding the show, cut the intro music… to something like three measures of music. On the second listen, and if I am any example of a listener these get plenty of repeat listens, the opening is boring (sorry) and unnecessary.

    The listener is “Psyched Up to Hear You & Your Guest” Not Buzz & Bugs, over and over. Blah. As they teach in screenwriting, just cut to the chase!

    Your voice has a nice tone and I didn’t mind the scripted stuff, but ad lib is probably the best way to go. But don’t go changing your voice. I found it ironic that Deja & you had similar pacing in speaking speed. Relaxed. Very soothing. And I know Andy Gaskill (Art Director of Lion King) and he has that same soothing relaxing speech pattern. So strange given the nature of the biz you are in – face paced, kinetic.

    But you guys are so Zen and I’m thinking, maybe this is why I haven’t made the leap to features, I am a Maya animator for TV. But I am on overdrive, since us one man bands have so much to master in Maya, I guess?

    Then along comes Nik Ranieri and he blows the myth. All is not Zen behind the EARS! Nik has energy but you keep him on track.

    Give a listen to the Ebert & Roeper PodCast, they edit out the breathing – it is insane! It just zooms by, but it is ok for them because half of what they are saying is so lame anyway.

    Don’t edit out the breaths, but I’d cut the intros, outros (is that a word?).

    And hope it’s ok to share some links to audio.

    The Comics Journal did some interviews and used to post them as mp3 to download. You can still catch R. Crumb interview on,
    – click on Audio Archives.

    Similar fan base, comics book artist interviews – I have all the back issues if someone wants to trade for some animation interviews lost on the web!

    Sorry for going on so long, I did not want to leave a voice mail, thought it would be better to post online. Easier access for others to read.

    I hope you can keep up the podcast – it is a sweet treat for us animators!

    Maya Animator,New Jersey! U.S.A.

  31. Daniel- Thanks for the feedback – good and bad.

    I think the handouts you’re referring to are the Walt Stanchfield notes available at Animation Meat.

    I have to admit, the intro music is running a little long (even The Intro Voice agrees). That’s going to have to be a little lower on my list of priorities for now since I want to post shows more often, but at 50 seconds, I don’t think it’s too much to bear for the time being. Besides, I think Joe did a great job of putting it together for me.

    I do like the Ebert & Roeper podcast. It frees me from half and hour of tv watching. And a little secret – I edit out breaths too. The goal for me is to fit as much good stuff (IMHO) in to as little listening time as possible.

    As far as intros and outros (the parts where I talk at the start and end), I’m not planning on changing them. I make sure not to take too long before the interviews. I think the intros are useful and brief, especially for people who may not know who I’m talking to. I made a concious choice to isolate the interview section of the program, so if you don’t like the audio after the interview ends, you can stop listening there. I won’t know. But again, for those who care to listen, I’ll attempt to respond to the audio messages I receive and share any other info relating to the show.

    Thanks for the auido links. I’ll check them out when I get the time.


  32. Clay,
    WOW and I mean WOW. I’ve never come across those Walt Stanchfield notes, I’ve seen the model sheets – which are really cool. But thanks for the link to Animation Meat. I am looking forward to catching up on the stuff on that site.
    I don’t know how I missed this site? It is worth a mention or two again on your PodCast again at some time.

    Sorry for the confusion, when I was referring to the intros and outros, I simply meant the music.

    Your dialogue at beginning and end can go on for as long as you’d like, I listen to those parts in full.

    I was merely referring to the intro with buzz/bugs, Joe did a good job and it sounds very pro and well produced. I actually thought it was shorter than 50 secs. so it must not be that bad to hear each episode. And of course it is the last thing to worry about.

    Your content (opening & closing dialogue) are great – and listening to the voice mails are fun, along with any tidbits you can add, links like Animation Meat. Also bits of comments that you find worthy would be fine to read, most of us don’t have time to check out long posts like mine.

    I’d like you to read this quote “”All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
    – ¬†Walt Disney” And ask all listeners if they know the source.

    It would be really something if there was an actual audio clip of Walt saying this.

    Great stuff, please keep it coming, it must be hard to juggle with work and all.


  33. Again, what a source of information! I don¬¥t know yet if I like this “interview style” better than the previous ones, I¬¥ll make up my mind while listening to the several podcasts I have ahead of me (yippeee). I got the link to the site quite a while ago, but didn¬¥t check it out. If I had known what I missed, I would have been here asap. Now, I¬¥m going through the nine existing podcasts in a dedicated sunday, which really is a blast!


  34. Hii Clay

    I must say you are doing an amazing job…tip my hat to you…and I agree with what you and David Nethery were talking about in one of the earlier posts – they should have done some recordings with the top animators of that time…would have been something great, hearing what they would of had to say in their prime. Just wondering, could you possibly do an interview with one of the cleanup artist veterans like Vera Lanpher – I really agree cleanup animators are the unsung heroes of animation – THEY SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED!!! – I would love to hear about their careers and time in animation.



  35. I had no idea Nik Ranieri had worked on “The Racoons”. If it helps at all, that show was loved very much by myself and other kids in this part of the world and, even though the animation wasn’t amazing, it was one of the shows that got me to love the medium.

  36. The Racoons!!! YES!!! I had been watching this show back when i was a kid. And i agree with Liz above, i loved it, even though the animation was not that great!

    I’ve been going through all these podcasts lately, and they’re great!! Keep up bringing the inspiring stuff!!
    And i definitely agree, if someone is interested in animation, at some point they will find out about this website. Just like me 🙂