guru studio announces the addition of two producers to its team, Susan Ma and Skye Bjarnason. Both bring extensive experience in commercials, episodic television, feature and short animated films to the company. Ma will oversee TV and longform projects for the studio, while Bjarnason will produce broadcast and commercials.
Said Frank Falcone, creative director, guru studio, Were thrilled to have both these talented individuals bring their unique skills to guru. Susans reputation for producing for award-winning TV and longform is based on her uncanny ability to nurture artistic temperaments while managing the expectations of producers and directors. Skye coming on board was more a homecoming, since we were the first to suggest her as a producer for a sister animation studio years ago. With so much recent growth at guru, it was important to add people who understand and complement the studio ethos.
Ma has 10-plus years experience managing television series from development through to post. In her new position at guru, she will oversee production team of 30 on season three of Nickelodeon Jr.s popular animated show THE BACKYARDIGANS and work toward developing new longform and episodic work. Ma was previously a production consultant at Yowza Digital, where she worked on the DINOSAPIENS series for CBBC/Discovery Kids. She was also producer at Calibre Digital Pictures, Cuppa Coffee Animation, Gajdecki Visual Effects and, more recently, on Brad Peytons first stop-motion TV series. She continues to produce independent animated shorts, including the recent award-winning stop-motion short THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, which was exec produced by Ray Harryhausen.
Guru is the premier character animation studio in North America, said Ma. The shop is known for its hilarious and buoyant animation, outstanding character design and scrupulous attention to detail, so when the opportunity arose to work with Frank and take guru in a new direction in episodic work, I jumped on it knowing that the results would be amazing.
Bjarnason will oversee gurus commercial and broadcast projects, and brings seven years experience to the position. Her career has taken her from production-side to agency, with stints as an account exec at DDB Toronto, where she worked on the Dell account, to serving as exec producer at Torontos Chuck Gammage Animation, where she supervised the creation of both hand-drawn traditional 2D and mixed CGI TV spots. She has also logged time at Roadhouse Commercials, and even spent a year recently as a project manager for Alias (now owned by Autodesk). This diverse career path gives Bjarnason rich insights into the creative process in advertising and communication.
Said Bjarnason, Working at a large agency has taught me how to hone my problem solving skills. So as a producer, whenever I encounter a road bump, Im trained to automatically shift gears and find the best, fastest and most cost-effective way to fix things. Working at a software firm taught me patience, because not every job is as fast moving as production! Im so happy to be returning to what I love--overseeing animation--and what better place to do it than guru. I love the atmosphere. Theres a lot of laughing here, and everyone feels like theyre part of a team.
guru (www.gurustudio.com) is an award-winning animation studio specializing in 3D character animation and design for television and film. The companys credits include work for Leo Burnett, DDB, FCB, Ogilvy & Mather, YTV and Nelvana and Nick Jr.