Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Emma Coats

 Emma Coats (pixar storyboard artist) tweeted these, someone collected them, now they're here.

#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different. ...
#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.

#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.

#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.

#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.

#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.

#17: No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.

#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.

#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?

#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?

#22: What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there. ...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Michael Calwood - Animators from film makers perspective

 Michael Calwood who managed the impossible and actually made a collaborative short online. He has some making of videos on his site.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Just read the valve handbook. Really crazy stuff. All about hiring the strongest people you can, putting them in a flat hierarchy environment so they have to bosses or minions just peers, and letting them individually decide how they can be the most valuable to the company.

 article on making half life

2 months to releasing half life they felt like it was just a jumble of a couple of cool things but didn't hold together as a game. So... "We set up a small group of people to take every silly idea, every cool trick, everything interesting that existed in any kind of working state somewhere in the game and put them into a single prototype level. When the level started to get fun, they added more variations of the fun things. If an idea wasn’t fun, they cut it. When they needed a software feature, they simplified it until it was something that could be written in a few days. They all worked together on this one small level for a month while the rest of us basically did nothing. When they were done, we all played it. It was great. It was Die Hard meets Evil Dead. It was the vision. It was going to be our game. It was huge and scary and going to take a lot of work, but after seeing it we weren’t going to be satisfied with anything less."

The second step in the pre-cabal process was to analyze what was fun about our prototype level.

first theory was 'experiential density'; the more interesting things happen to the player the funner. If it's based on distance then the player just needs to move to get more stimulation.

2nd theory 'player acknowledgement'; player feels like they have an affect on the world, shooting hitting things leaves a mark (decal) npc's react to players arrival.

3rd theory 'player's fault'; game warn players about danger and offers solution, then players do better next time, if game just kills em without warning players will dislike the game.

meetings dedicated to a section of the game.
 high level concepts and specific events that will be fun.
 then arranged into a storyline/chronology
then ruff map w/ notes of what where and when
sometimes try to design around a random prop or idea and that constraint led to funner designs, which got even better when the constraint was taken away once a web was built up, so started doing requirements just for idea generators.
 then build it. then play test it.
then fix everything play tester found that wasn't fun.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dog Body Language

cartoony, but I think it's actually accurate

Shin's Rifle's Spiral

Director Jamie Caliri

The Shins: The Rifle’s Spiral on

animated at 15fps

Stop Mo Nick

Nick Helligloss who does awesome shorts in stop motion has some fantastic tutorials up as well.

Build Up Bodies

Build up Heads

Slush Casting

Silicone Head

there's a few others on his youtube page as well

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Apocolypse Panda

Wastelander Panda Prologue from Epic Films on Vimeo.

more and more stuff is popping up in kickstarter type things. This is what it looks like when there's not gatekeepers? Creator's go straight to audience for funding? Going straight out to the audience instead of winding through theaters or tv.

Friday, April 13, 2012


sorry not film related at all, but got my hands on a looper recently so was checking what's possible out

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Glen Keane Interview in French

english transcript here

Rencontre avec Glen Keane by cloneweb

Would you consider going back to directing?

GK: Possibly… but I developed this idea mostly to create a character.
For me, I really think of the heart of the character… Ariel or Beast… and afterwards I start to develop a story. So I’m a different kind of director perhaps.
I started developing Rapunzel so I could animate her.
If there’s another character that interests me, maybe – and no one else is going to direct the film

Many directors used to be animators. They had to stop animating when they took the role of director. John Lasseter, for example.

GK: That’s not me.

But for me, the best moment of the creative process is the moment where I draw at my table, with the light… That is the magic moment for me. Not necessarily the moment the film is projected on the big screen.
I feel like a line is like a kind of seismograph… of emotions.

when you animate with the computer it’s always trying to seduce the animator into accepting something other than what they envisioned, to accept something less

So I encouraged the animators on Tangled to have something really personal to say. This is important. If we don’t have something that comes from inside the soul, we’ll be tempted to accept something much easier.

If you reduced Pixar to a phrase it would be: « Wouldn’t it be cool if? »
Like if a kid was looking at their toy: What if the toy could talk? All their films are like this.
If you reduced the Disney films it would be: « Once upon a time… »
There is big difference. « Once upon a time » it’s make believe. It’s the atmosphere we breathe in the two studios

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Jennifer Yuh Nelson

interview with Jennifer Nelson

I always keep in mind: How does it make you feel emotionally? The rest is just mechanics.

*found on Brenda Chapman's blog

Monday, April 9, 2012

Nick Heligloss

This guy is the man!

*found on StopmoWorks

Chipotle ad

the look doesn't feel very stop mo, why not just do it CG? And why 3d print the characters, couldn't have knocked out spheres and pill shapes pretty quick traditionally.

*found on StopmoWorks

Wednesday, April 4, 2012



Luminaris from Juan Pablo Zaramella on Vimeo.

oh, it's everywhere now

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Good photo and composition advice.

"A photographer shoots pictures every single day. Wear your camera around your neck and use it all day every day. It doesn't matter if someone seems ahead of you if you have your camera and you shoot every single day you'll be able to do it, that's it."

*found by JHD