Dylan Hoffman, a character technical director and rigging artist who worked at Nickelodeon and Disney, died aged 33 on Sunday, February 6. He was involved in a fatal accident while riding his motorbike on the Angeles Crest Highway, according to a Gofundme memorial page.
Hoffman trained as a firefighter at Utah Valley University, viewing the profession as a secure way to provide for his family. At the same time, he took art classes at Brigham Young University, eventually landing an internship at Disney. “It turns out, as an animator, you make way more money than a firefighter,” he told the podcast Ability Beast Talk.
His work at Disney appealed to Hoffman, who came to love the collaborative side of animation production. After graduating, he returned to the studio as a character TD trainee, working on features like Big Hero 6, Moana, and Ralph Breaks the Internet.
Stints followed at Sandman Studios, Blizzard Entertainment, and Nickelodeon, where he had been since 2019 (according to his Linkedin profile). There, he most recently worked as a lead character technical director on the Paramount+ series Kamp Koral: Spongebob’s Under Years. Here is his most recent rigging reel:
Hoffman loved the outdoors, even turning down a job in 2017 to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. As he told Ability Beast Talk, he could see himself working in wilderness therapy: “I could take people on hikes and we could talk about our feelings on the mountaintop!”
Asked where he saw himself in ten years’ time, he gave a simple answer: “I want to be doing something where I’m making a difference.”