For Siblings Mike and Tim Rauch, Animation is Like a Second Language
After studying Graphic Design and Illustration at St. John’s University, brothers Michael Rauch ’04C and Timothy Rauch ’06C are using the skills they honed in the classroom to tell tales through animation.
Among their most notable projects is a series of animated shorts they collaborated on for StoryCorps, Inc., which earned them a Peabody Award, as well as four Emmy Award nominations and two Annie Award nominations.
The shorts were created to complement the recorded histories of participants of the popular StoryCorps program, which celebrates the lives of everyday Americans by listening to their personal tales. These accounts often involve race, veterans’ concerns, gender equality issues, and social justice—areas that are all important to the Rauches.
According to Mike and Tim, their success on the StoryCorps shorts—and in animation in general—can likely be traced back to their childhood: they developed a strong sense of social justice as a result of their Catholic education, and their storytelling abilities are the byproduct of watching Disney cartoons.
“I remember watching Beauty and the Beast and being captivated by how drawings can come to life and generate empathy in the audience,” said Tim. “We thought we could use animation to talk about real life.”
Today, both brothers live in Los Angeles, California. Mike is a network executive at Cartoon Network, while Tim is working on an independent film entitled Mushroom Park and has directed episodes for the Netflix series Bojack Horseman. He has also been involved with various projects with Cartoon Network and Disney.
Reflecting on their decision to enroll in St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, rather than a specialized animation school, the brothers believe the choice allowed them to build a strong foundation in the fundamentals of drawing, painting, and controlling visual language. They also found that the people at St. John’s made a real impact.
“Two indelible impressions I have about the Rauch brothers as students at St. John’s are their focus and standards of excellence,” said Prof. Fabozzi. “Even at that young age, they had deeply informed ideas of what they wanted—which was to contribute to the language of animation.”
Asked what advice they would offer aspiring animators, the brothers agreed: “Stay hungry, and always carry a sketchbook.”