Behind the Title: Sony Animation’s Michael Kurinsky

NAME: Michael Kurinsky @mkurinsky

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Animation

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
We develop family friendly animated movies.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Production Designer

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
I’m responsible for developing and overseeing the look of the entire film, from the characters to the environments, props, lighting and color. I also have to oversee how my team’s development work gets translated into the digital images we see on the screen.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
I think people would be surprised about the amount of things that need to be thought out when designing a film. Things as incidental as a matchbook or paper clip need to be designed for the style of the film, just as a main character or large set piece would.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
Color and lighting… hands down. I love coming up with ways to support the story with a unique color palette or lighting scenario.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Having to watch my team get smaller as the workload diminishes during the last months of production.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
When I first get in; that’s when I do my “check-ins” with all the artists.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
Probably teaching. I like helping to inspire young talent.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I have been drawing all my life, but things really came together for me when I was in art school in college. I knew then that my career would be doing something that involved drawing and painting. The animation aspect came later on when I did my first freelance job on an animated TV commercial. From that point on, I was hooked.

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Hotel Transylvania 2, coming September 2015.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
Hotel Transylvania 1 and 2, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and Open Season.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs will always hold a special place in my heart because it was my first artistic leadership role on a film. I got to make major decisions that shaped the entire look of the movie.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
My iPhone, my Wacom Cintiq tablet for painting and my Sony TV for watching movies with my daughter.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
I love posting things on Facebook for my friends and family to see, and I like Twitter for keeping me up to date with all my interests.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK?
My favorite thing to listen to is the music I grew up on — classic rock from the ‘60s and ‘70s and “new wave” music from the ‘80s.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I practice yoga several times a week. It’s great physically, but also serves as a kind of meditation that clears out the chatter in my head and let’s me start each day fresh.


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