story-department

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Bill Peet began his career at Walt Disney Studios in 1937. He started off as an ‘in-betweener’ on the animated shorts. Peet would later describe the position as a “tedious, painstaking job of adding hundreds of drawings in between hundreds of other drawings to move Donald or Mickey from here to there.”

One day a large stack of Donald Duck drawings was dumped on Peet’s desk. More in-betweens, please! The sight of those drawings caused Peet to have a near-nervous breakdown. He jumped up from his chair and ran out of the studio, shouting “NO MORE DUCKS!!! NO MORE LOUSY DUCKS!” The next day, Peet returned to the studio to pick up his things. He saw a letter on his desk. He was sure he had been fired. Instead, he’d been promoted to the story department!

Peet worked as a Disney story artist for years. He really came into his own on Dumbo. Walt Disney noticed this, too, and asked him to do ALL of the storyboards for the animated sequences in Song of the South. Walt was so impressed with Peet’s work on SotS, he tasked Peet with doing the storyboards (i.e. writing) for 101 Dalmatians and The Sword in the Stone.

Looking at this small selection of Peet’s storyboards from Song of the South, it’s not hard to see why Peet was one of Walt’s go-to story men!

To learn more about Peet, check out his delightfully illustrated autobiography: Bill Peet: An Autobiography (Link leads to Amazon.com)

Hotel de la Plage.
#pascalcampion
Quick ones ..busy again… By the way.. when I say quick ones and you see a fully drawn image and you’re wondering..wow..what could he do with more time.. let me explain this.
Even when I do a quick image, I try to draw it well. The time does not go into the rendering for me.. it goes into the thought behind the composition, the subtle shades of light and colors , the impact of the story.. all these little invisible details that make the difference between a good piece and a great piece( I was just talking about this with my friend Tom Fluharty last night in fact).
So.. a quick one for me is mainly an image that is nice but not necessarily thought out or worked out as much in the story department or the emotional charge.. just as an FYI!

Big Hero 6 co-director Chris Williams on Collaboration

“A collaborative environment is important, but that kind of environment can be difficult to achieve in reality, because in some ways, it fights human nature.

“We all want to be told, all the time, that all of our ideas are amazing, and every thought we have is gold. But if that’s all you ever get, the story’s not going to get any better.

“You have to fight the human desire for affirmation and you have to actively foster an environment where people feel comfortable disagreeing with you — and disagreeing with each other — if that’s how they feel.

“We want honest and open debate because you can’t overemphasize that when it comes to the story, conflict is good and disagreement is good.

“Because in that collision between two contradictory ideas, often a third and better idea will emerge that would never have seen the light of day had there not been a vigorous discussion.

“The flip-side of that is, even when you disagree, you have to be respectful of other peoples’ points of view because when you talk story you make yourself very vulnerable.

“When you talk about story you’ll end up in the story room for hours and days on end talking about things you love, things you hate, things that make you sad, and you’re pulling from your own life experience.

“When you offer an idea, to some extent, you are saying, ‘This is who I am,’ and that line between who you are and what you do begins to become very fuzzy.

“It’s important to find that place where you can be honest and open but never let things get personal.”

Via: medium.com

From Our Story Department: Myths of Rewriting

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Contrary to popular belief, great screenplays aren’t born of a single burst of inspiration. They’re painstakingly built draft by draft by… draft.

Aspiring screenwriters are wooed by tales of Billy Wilder and I. A. Diamond writing Some Like It Hot in 12 days or better yet, Paul Schrader cranking out Taxi Driver in a hotel room over a weekend. These feats remain remarkable, not just because of the classic films these scripts became, but because they almost never happen. Tales of such instant success perpetuate some harmful myths about the craft of screenwriting. Let’s take a look at three of these myths.

MYTH #1: If rewrites are needed, the script must be lousy.

When a studio buys a script, they also provide the writer with notes to improve the current draft, or to at least bring it closer to the studio’s take. These notes can be wide-ranging and can have a substantial impact on the script, leaving the writer with the impression the studio doesn’t like his or her work. Notes might suggest that the hero needs to have a different job, be more “active”, or make a different decision at the midpoint of the movie, which of course changes the rest of the story. Maybe certain characters need to be cut; the climax doesn’t have sufficient stakes; perhaps the love interest should be someone else. But the fact that these notes are given doesn’t mean that the idea, or the writer, don’t have merit. Instead, they serve to guide the writer to make the most of what’s already on the page. Every screenplay, even during production, is a work in progress, and these changes are part of the script’s natural evolution. Having to write another draft doesn’t mean the writing failed, it just means the journey from script to screen needs another step. Professional screenwriters often view finishing the first draft like a potter putting the clay on the wheel. The work’s begun, but there’s much left to do. Everybody in Hollywood dreams of a perfect first draft. Nobody in Hollywood expects one. 

MYTH #2: Professional writers are so good they don’t have to rewrite.

Director Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, No Strings Attached) recently told Amazon Studios that all of the films he’s made went through at least 20 drafts before going into production. That’s not a typo. That’s 2-0, twenty. Professional screenwriters expect to perform multiple rewrites, addressing notes from studios, directors and stars. In fact, often times other professional writers will be brought onto a project to rewrite the first writer’s script, just to get an additional take on the story. Rewriting is a very real part of a professional writer’s life, no matter the number of Oscars or hit movies on their resumes.

MYTH #3: Rewriting is “tweaking.”

This is the most heartbreaking myth of all. When Steven Zaillian (American Gangster, Schindler’s List) or David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Spider-Man) refer to doing a new “draft” they aren’t talking about moving a few scenes, polishing a few lines of dialogue and weeding out typos. No, each draft is a substantially NEW SCRIPT. Each draft involves new sequences, characters, back stories, endings, and in some cases, even a different lead. New screenwriters often think that adding a line here and an extra scene there will address a note about a character’s motivation or the rules of a given supernatural world. The reason these small fixes don’t work in most cases is that story issues are best addressed not through explanation, but through action. A monologue about how the killer was once abused as a child might explain his behavior, but it doesn’t dramatize it, and drama is what makes great comedies, thrillers and sci-fi epics. The other problem with small fixes is that one small change can create all kinds of inconsistencies in scenes and characters before and after that “explanation.” So what constitutes a rewrite? It often requires revising the “architecture” of the entire story. That means going back to an outline or treatment and rebuilding the story, scene by scene, as if the script was being written for the first time. Not every draft involves starting with a blank page, but many do.

Sounds like work, doesn’t it? Rest assured, it is. Rewriting courts frustration, boredom and despair, and in most cases, all three. It’s why there are so many screenplays and so few professional screenwriters. The pros understand that the first few drafts are just the start of a long journey, but that journey might just end with a classic flick.

             – The Amazon Studios Story Department

P.S. Here are some great books on rewriting, available at Amazon.com:

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In honor of tonight’s Game of Thrones season premiere, here’s a story sequence that I did as part of my transition from the animation department to story department at Pixar. The Imp & The Pimp in “Two Lannisters Walk into a Bar”

Between credit and break time.

Another story about my job. Not a fuck customers story.

This big department store I work at has his own credit card. So I’m taking my break, passing by the credit area, when a young girl (my guess is 16) and her friend talked to me.

Girl: Hi! Hey, I just gonna ask you something very quick.

Me: Ok.

Girl: So… do I REALLY need to proof my address to get a credit card with you?

Me: Yeah. So we could send you the credit report.

Friend: See?

Girl: Oh… Ok. So, if I want to get and additional credit card linked to the one my dad have, what do I need?

Me: In this case, your father will have to come here and approve said adittional card.

Girl: Ah… Look, I got a little problem. My dad is not in town and I want to buy something from here. What can I do?

Me: I’ll suggest for you to pay in cash. If you really want to use credit, your father must be present to accept the purchase.

Girl: Oh… ok. Thanks.

Friend: Told ya.

I don’t really know what to say. Personally, I want to believe this girl honestly didn’t know the whole credit method. That’s cool, not everybody has credit cards. It just… some of this information is basic

Maybe the bottom of the line is: if you use credit, and you have kids, try to explain them how the ordeal is so they know what to ask went they need one.

Fun story from the theater department

So today was the last show of the department’s production of “The Cherry Orchard,” and for non-theater people, after ashore you take down the set, a process called “Strike.” So during strike today we were being helped by the two scene shop guys from the department, a somewhat older guy named Dave, and a younger guy named PJ.

Everyone loves both of them, but PJ is particularly renowned for his blunt, tough love nature. He’ll make sure you get shit done, and he won’t sugarcoat it if you’re fucking up or pissing him off, but he has a heart of gold and is a great guy at the end of the day, so he’s someone that immediately makes you feel friendly and familiar with him. Being a shithead myself, it brings me great pleasure when I make him laugh.

So anyway, during strike today, PJ was doing something and messed up a bit, to which someone jokes that he was fired. He immediately responded saying “How dare you, I have 15 children to feed!” There was a pause, and I pitched in, saying “are your children named AJ, BJ, CJ…” And so on. He got a good laugh and commended me on that joke, which of course put a big smile on my face. But then I thought about it.

And I realized, and remarked, that P is in fact the 16th letter in the alphabet.

So it could have totally worked.

Needless to say I won the joke award today.

i got asked “ why are xalias eyes purple if shes in a somewhat realistic canon based off society today ” and, well, like ive said countless of times before ( just not on here ? i am head over heels for symbolism in things no matter how Subtle it may be? from just a brief summary alone, you can look at a character and see what theyre standing for/have become, characters could be meant to represent anything, really— whether its about your early life or a life youve always wanted; xalia is a character i wanted the viewers to see how fucked it was to grow up in the poorer, shittier sides of things, where youre left alone with no parents or anyone to look over because you were forced to be left alone at such a young age. i guess this may be a tad too personal to share but xalia is based off the experiences my mother had when she was a child— having to go up and out the house of her dysfunctional family that only grew worse as she got older because she began to Notice what was being let on, a truth of some sort— just what exactly is going on with the world around her and what /shes/ going to have to do once faced with the precautions of it.

so, i guess hers would be…a type of meaning for…survival. necessary chaos. ’ i had to do what i did to live on’. violet represents the shade of change and unpredictability, a powerful domineering kinda color for those seeking the meaning of life and stability, a peace of mind– which, in xalias case, is exactly what happened to her. she was just a young woman figuring out just what itd take to live in a big, corrupted, criminal-reigned world; because the cops almost never help, you have to take care of yourself, support yourself, feed yourself, get a job, etc etc.

shes the result of something that doesn’t get spoken about enough, because people dont spare the time to care or turn their head the other way and see whats Really going on in real time /today/.

Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, circa 1905.  The clock tower is a notable feature here–it belongs to the Hickox Building (1890-1946).  It was saved from the site’s previous occupant, the First Baptist Church, and integrated into the building’s design.  The Hickox Building was demolished in 1946 to make way for a 3-story Bond department store, which was subsequently demolished in 1978 to make way for the building currently occupying this corner, the National City Center

Photo by Detroit Publishing Company via shorpy.com; information about the clock tower from emporis.com.

I wonder if in ACNL humans get treated better by the Nooks etc than the animal villagers because they’re better with money, like, you move in and Tom Nook is like, “oh my god a kid moved in, I’d better give them lots of benefits and incentives because soon they will have millions of bells and be able to spend so much that my children will be able to upgrade their shop from a cobweb-filled shack to a three-story department store with escalators and a luxury goods department”, whereas I’m pretty sure the animal villagers only source of income is like, when I hit the money rock and am too lazy to pick up all the bells. 

#ArtLitPhx: RED INK Kickoff w/ Sherman Alexie

#ArtLitPhx: RED INK Kickoff w/ Sherman Alexie

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Friday, Apr. 22, 2016 @ 7:15-8:15 p.m.

Murdock Hall (MUR) 101, ASU, Tempe campus

Help celebrate the inaugural issue of RED INK International Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art, and Humanitieswith National Book Award-winner Sherman Alexie, a Spokane-Coeur de Alene poet, filmmaker, and novelist. Alexie will give a talk and then read from and sign copies of his books, which will be available…

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There is something deeply satisfying about proofreading a thesis and discovering that it contains citations to several other theses you proofread last year and the year before for past students in the same department. Not to mention getting to find out the ongoing story of how the department’s research is progressing from thesis to thesis.