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Alumni Profiles

Jeff Astolfo

Jeff Astolfo

Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Year of Graduation: 1992
Program: Bachelor of Animation

Learn, Grow, Experience

Career Path

After graduating I started as a Key Animator on the show Here Comes Mumfie. I have worked for Bardel studios in Vancouver, Sullivan Bluth in Dublin, Ireland, Walt Disney Studios in Toronto, and am currently working for Nelvana Studios on The Backyardigans.

I have worked as an animator on such shows as Stickin’ Around, All Dogs Go to Heaven II, Beauty and the Beast: Enchanted Christmas, and various Mickey Mouse and Goofy shorts.

I moved into 3D animation on the hit show The Backyardigans, a show which I have worked on as an animator and am currently the show’s Assistant Director.

I won the 2007 Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation for my work on The Backyardigans.

I am currently living in Burlington with wife Nadine and three wonderful children Breandán, 10, Teleri, 8, and Ailis, 5. Oh, and three dogs as well.

Personal and Professional Accomplishments

I’m extremely grateful to have been able to work for so many years in my field of choice. I’m very happy with the progress I’ve made and in my accomplishments as an artist. My work has allowed me to travel and meet many great people and work on many great projects. Obviously wining an Emmy Award for animation has certainly been a highlight of my career. I continue to learn and grow each and every day.

Memories from Sheridan

One particular memory comes to mind when I think of my time at Sheridan. I think it was the first week of school when I attended my first Life drawing class. The high school I attended didn’t really have an art program and I considered myself extremely fortunate to be accepted by Sheridan based on my limited portfolio. I remember very vividly stepping into that first Life drawing class.

model came in, disrobed and struck a pose, it all hit home. I was way in over my head. I had never drawn from a live model before. I felt that everyone else in the room knew what they were doing but me. I quickly picked up my piece of conté and started scribbling away on my manila paper. Everyone around me appeared so relaxed. The model changed poses; I flipped my page and scribbled again. About an hour later we stopped for a break. I covered my work and stood as far away from my spot as possible, prolonging my inevitable exposure of being a hack.

But, as I walked around the room I noticed all different levels/styles of artistic ability. Oh sure there were some extremely talented people who drew absolutely amazingly, but there were also those who were very inexperienced, just like myself. I realized I had a long way to go but also that that was why I was here. To learn. To grow. To gain experience.

When I look back, I find myself very grateful that I was able to have a place that allowed me to learn how things were done in the old days. I was able to gain

first-hand knowledge on pretty much every aspect of the career I was to one day enter. I learned how to film on a Bolex camera, watch and edit my work on Moviola’s, and breakdown/ edit sound and of course animate. It was a great time, and one I won’t forget.

A Faculty Member That Inspired Me

You’d be hard pressed to find a student who had the fortune of having Charlie Bonifacio teach them and not include him as having a huge impact on their life. Charlie’s love for the medium and sheer talent were enough to inspire. The best way to learn is to observe, and he certainly gave his students enough to observe. He once gave me a great piece of advice: ‘Know that where you are (in your ability) is exactly where you’re supposed to be.’ In my frustration of trying to become a better animator, quicker, I had forgotten to realize how far I’d come. I was, in fact, exactly where I should be in my ability. I should still strive to learn and grow but I should also be aware that my progress is moving at the rate right for me.

Advice for a Current Sheridan Student

The main bit of advice I can give about wanting to be an artist is to never be afraid of failure. It's going to happen but don't worry about it. Learn from it and try again. Be open minded and be a good person. There are a few jerks out there who are great artists but just as many who are not jerks. Who would you want to work with?

Current Occupation: Assistant Director, Nelvana Studios