Long before I knew it was him, Nik Ranieri has been entertaining and inspiring me with his character animation. Nik is a talented artist whose bold personality has translated into Lumiere, Hades, Kuzco, Buck Cluck, Lewis Robinson, Charlotte La Bouff and my dad’s favorite animated character, Meeko—all characters he supervised. I first heard Nik on Clay Kaytis’ Animation Podcast and I have been an ardent fan of this passionate animator ever since. I asked him if he may be game for an informal interview over Facebook about various topics related to the state of animation today and he very kindly agreed. Nik is such a kind person, yet he will not sidestep the truth to appease popular sentiment. It was an absolute pleasure getting to interview one of my heroes.
Earlier this year, Disney chief executive Bog Iger said that the company has no plans to do another hand-drawn, feature-length film. This news is disheartening to many of us animation fanatics, as anyone perusing the animation blogosphere this year can attest to. The sentiments are predictable and apt: Disney’s legacy began with hand-drawn animation, it’s wrong to blame an art form for bad stories, and it’s depressing to imagine Disney as only doing CG films.