Questions and Answers

Your questions, my answers

Anonymous asked storyshots:

I have a question from the Drawing from films post! What do you think bout Christopher Nolan’s movies? I was thinking about giving Inception a shot.
  • You can do the exercise with any film. With each filmmaker you’ll start to notice their specific visual style. The most important thing your first time through is to actually do it, so just pick a movie or filmmaker you love — eventually you’ll get to Lawrence of Arabia and it’ll blow your mind. 
hey emma! what’s gonna put me above all of the other applicants for the next story artist opening at pixar? like, what is gonna make ‘em be like “daayumm, hire this guy now.”? I have a ways to go before I apply, but what do they look for other than a rock-solid portfolio and an award-winning personality?
  • Rock-solid portfolio and winning personality are about it, as far as I know. Tons of industry experience and great reputation are a plus, I guess, but not strictly necessary…!

My question/s: in your opinion, what’s the difference between a story artist and a director? Can any story artist direct? What about an animator? I have the impression that some of the recent flops in animation are, in some degree, related to poor direction. Thanks a lot. Alberto.
  • Story artists are kind of like directors for their own sequences - of course you have to defer to the actual director when they disagree with your take, but you’re making decisions about camerawork, acting choices, pacing, and even editing. The thing about storyboarding, though, is that you don’t have to make trade-offs quite as often as when you’re responsible for the whole movie. In a sequence, you may have a moment that doesn’t work, so you try something else. In the grand scope, having a moment that doesn’t work may affect the whole movie. The story artist is playing chess; the director is commanding armies (to put it in the most epic terms).
  • Recent flops in animation being related to poor direction? That’s a hard thing to say. Once you see a movie being made, you realize how many things can go wrong along the way. It’s a wonder that anything is decent. It’s very rare that you can find one person to lay the blame on. 
Hey, lately I feel like my drawing skills aren’t good enough, and I’m being a bit paranoid I won’t get into CalArts when I have to start my portfolio in a couple of years. What are some exercises that I can fit into my daily schedule that will help me in the long-run if I do it every day?
  • Draw from life. Be the kid with the sketchbook. Take it everywhere with you. If you’re in highschool or college, there is no reason not to be filling up a sketchbook every month. Draw your friends, draw your pets. If there’s a community college or university or art studio nearby that offers life drawing, go draw naked people. Failing that, take your sketchbook and a pair of sunglasses to the pool with you. Draw at the zoo. Draw at a farm. Draw cars and bikes and people at Walmart. Draw everythinggggggg. You’ll be glad you did! It’ll build a foundation for you and CalArts loves to see volume. 

How did you break into the business? Ive heard a lot of people say it’s all about who you know, but is there hope for those of us without connections?? 
  • Just because you don’t have connections now doesn’t mean you will never have connections. Be friendly, work hard, be useful, always keep learning, and you’ve got as good a chance as any of a career in the animation industry.

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