Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Pixar’

Just a quick note about a part of the media creation process that has the potential to provide fertile ground for classroom discussion and skill development: The Pitch.*  (See also: Pitch Notes 101.) 

IMG_0370

I am commenting here because this spring, my Advanced Video Production class has engaged in what have been the most fruitful, productive, constructive pitch sessions I have seen.  In this case, for the final project of the course, based on Chapter 7 writing and Chapter 8 project in Moving Images, the students came to class with outlines and project development materials (story breakdown, log line, other possible elements) and needed to pitch their concept and gameplan to a collaborative team.  Very positive attitudes, creative and respectful reactions and conversations, and concrete story development (along with discussions of sound, visuals, and more) was achieved by all group members.  

One resource available related to the development of skills in pitching and workshopping is a unit on media storytelling from members of Pixar studios (by Khan Academy) and which features a section on Pitching and Feedback.

* Please note: This process also has the potential to provide some of the most thorny challenges to any learning environment: through pitches, students open up themselves to group feedback in ways that can make them vulnerable and defensive.  It is critical to put into place effective, healthy approaches to workshop-type classroom situations and feedback-based interactions.  Make sure to examine a variety of project-based learning strategies outlined in texts like Moving Images and in resources available such as through mediateacher.net or the Journal of Media Literacy Education.

Read Full Post »

Developing dynamic and moving performances can be one of the greatest challenges for actors and directors working in collaboration.  Let’s add to the mix another set of creators who generate performances in motion pictures: animators.

Here are some interesting resources that highlight the extensive work of animators in developing compelling and well-defined characters through drawn or CG images.  First, there is an excellent article on the work of Pixar animators for a new movie featuring a beloved character: Woody in Toy Story 4.  Along with Tom Hanks’s exceptional voice work, a team of animators led by director Josh Cooley (at least for this fourth installment of the franchise) worked diligently to capture the wide range of emotions and traits seen in Woody and the rest of the Toy Story gang, and this is explored extensively in this piece by journalist Darryn King.

To investigate the ties between acting and animated film, it is critical to explore the creations of the Japanese master director Hayao Miyazaki.  Here are two articles on Miyazaki: an interview from The Telegraph and an overview of his career and the films of Studio Ghibli.

From “Cumo” by Emily Fabrizi

Speaking of performance through animation, here are two films from students of mine.  Cumo is an exceptionally crafted and delightful piece of animation by high school senior Emily Fabrizi that is highly worthwhile to explore for its reliance on performance — and without dialogue!  Another animated movie that weaves a strong character-driven portrait — and once again without any dialogue — is this award-winning college project by my former student Brendan Kirschbaum: Solo.  Both shorts feature many elements worthy of study for nuances in performance, all crafted by animators.

Read Full Post »

Daniel GersonI am deeply saddened to receive the news that Daniel Gerson, one of the screenwriters of Monsters, Inc., Monsters University, Big Hero 6, and others, has passed away at 49.  Dan was one of my classmates in the NYU Graduate Film & TV program, and he was always such a friendly, profoundly funny man.  All those who worked with him share many fond memories of fun times and very memorable shoots and hilarious writing by Dan right from the start.

I highly recommend checking out this video of Dan and frequent collaborator Robert L. Baird discussing their writing for Monsters University and the process of developing a screenplay with Pixar from the red carpet premiere of the movie.  Also, here is another piece in which Gerson and Baird discuss story specifics of Monsters University including the overall theme of the movie, character development, and writing a prequel.  

He was always such a stellar person in a sometimes not-so-nice business. Our condolences from my family to his.

Read Full Post »