By Rachel Bender
August 21, 2015
Described as the Avengers for the "elementary school set," Rise of the Guardians is an epic adventure that tells the story of a group of heroes with extraordinary abilities. The latest animated offering from DreamWorks now hovering at number three at U.S. box offices is also the tangible result of an epic adventure for Loni Albertson '07 (Communication & the Arts), the animation coordinator on the film.
As the animation coordinator, Albertson served as the middle man in a team with the film's production supervisor and production assistant. She also acted as a liaison between the animation department and other departments, and took care of a team of 45 animation artists. "I was able to work alongside some of the most talented people in the animation world who were bringing the characters onscreen to life in the most beautiful way," she said. "There was so much emotion and passion coming out of these artists, and it was my job to protect that creativity and keep the artists focused on the right areas so that they didn't get distracted or burnt out."
Albertson, who earned her MFA in Directing from Regent, was hired by DreamWorks in 2009 to serve as an assistant to a handful of department managers and production executives charged with the oversight of DreamWorks animation. When she heard about Rise of the Guardians, she knew it was a project she wanted to be involved with. "I was very attracted to the story and production had always been my first love, so I was eager to get back into it," Albertson recalled.
A chance encounter with the production manager in line at Starbucks yielded results and, before she knew it, Albertson was signed on to the film, which has grossed approximately $48.8 million since it opened on Wednesday, Nov. 21.
The film has received a number of positive reviews, including this observation from Christopher Orr of The Atlantic: "A peculiar but delightful hybrid that just may be the best animated offering of the year."
Before landing at DreamWorks, Albertson worked on smaller film shoots for commercials, music videos, short films and television shows. While those jobs were challenging, they were also just what she needed to truly understand the business. "I was working alongside people in L.A. who were incredibly driven and willing to do anything to get ahead, and I really had to hold my own in each role, which was something I hadn't really experienced before," she said. "But, I rose to the challenge and managed to form solid working relationships while maintaining who I was at the core."
That hard work and diligence paid off. Although production on Rise of the Guardians has ended, Albertson continues her work at DreamWorks. "The environment is beautiful and completely conducive to artistic growth," she observed. "The people who work at DreamWorks are just a cut above; everyone is incredibly friendly, very professional, and knows what they're doing. It really is amazing to be here."
She'd never considered a career in animation before joining the DreamWorks team, but Albertson admits she's discovered a passion for animation and creating beautiful work. "While it wasn't planned, I don't think it's anything I settled for or fell into," she said. "It was more an amazing example of what God has for us when we allow Him to take the reins and trust that what He has in store is far better than what we can imagine for ourselves."
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