Hop isn't a good movie, but it allows a St. Petersburg native to get a rabbit's foot in the door of Hollywood.
Valerie Scheiber, 26, makes her debut among a small army of animators making E.B. the bunny appear real. The St. Petersburg Catholic High School graduate is the daughter of former St. Petersburg Times writer Dave Scheiber.
In a telephone chat from her home in Los Angeles, Scheiber said she first considered an animation career when she was 17, watching VeggieTales.
"They had a segment showing behind the scenes, people working on the animation," she said. "I thought: 'That would be awesome, to be able to do that all day.' "
Scheiber graduated from the University of Central Florida's digital media and animation program then joined Animation Mentor (www.animationmentor.com), an online program taught by industry insiders. The site posted a job offer for Hop and Scheiber got the gig, working alongside one of her instructors.
It's a small step in the right direction. Scheiber was assigned to animate E.B.'s movements for only a few seconds of the film's running time. But it's a start already leading to another job, animating Mr. Popper's Penguins, starring Jim Carrey and CGI birds. That movie is slated for a June 17 release.
Steve Persall, Times film critic