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The Art of Writing, Directing, and Producing Animation

March 22 - 26

Daytime Class:

2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pacific)

Evening Class:

9 p.m. - 11 p.m. Eastern (6 to 8 p.m. Pacific)

What would the world be like without animation? What would it be without the adventure, excitement, humor, and fantasy of it all? From Blue Skies Animation to Pixar to Disney Animation, this genre is wildly popular with plenty of opportunity for aspiring and established writers.

How do you plot a populist animated story? What do producers look for in an animated script? What kinds of tension are expected between characters, and how can you introduce unique twists?

This five-day live course, a once in a lifetime experience, is for storytellers and screenwriters alike—and for anyone who wants a behind-the-scenes look at the writing, making, and marketing of animated joy.

Come join us!

It's going to be a VERY ANIMATED WEEK.

This power-packed course will center on the “Disney Renaissance” of 1983-2001 which produced the animated classics including “Little Mermaid,” “Tarzan,” “Aladdin,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Mulan,” “Brother Bear,” “Lion King,” and “Atlantis, The Lost Empire.”


The Disney Renaissance movies continue to define what is made and not made in the wonderful world of modern worldwide animation. The course will include the writers, directors, producers who were the pathfinders of the Disney Renaissance and brought these stories to cinematic life! Learn from the best-of-the-best on how to create your animated story. And it is not just for screenwriters, but for writers and illustrators of
children’s picture books as well.

© Walt Disney Studios

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FACULTY

From concept, screenplay, storyboard, production, and marketing, our faculty members

know animation inside and out.

The course will overflow with writing tips, inside secrets, and specific instructions to help you write YOUR perfect animation screenplay.

Tab Murphy will reveal the difference between writing a live action screenplay and an animated script. Tab should know. He wrote the live action script for “Gorillas in the Mist”; and he also wrote another famous jungle movie, this time, for Disney, the animated classic, “Tarzan.” Have you thought of jumping into the animated pool? Tab, the writer of Disney’s“Hunchback of Notre Dame”, “Atlantis”, The Lost Empire”, and “Brother Bear", can help you.


David Paul Kirkpatrick will talk live about the “Golden Mean of Disney”, the desirable middle ground in family entertainment. When David arrived as production chief at Walt Disney Studios, there was a plan to end animation, calling the recent Disney animated pictures like “Rescuers Down Under” “Adult Punishers.” Discover the 7 ingredients of the “secret sauce” that made “Little Mermaid” a surprise worldwide blockbuster for audiences of all ages, not just children, and built an animated empire including

Pixar’s latest, “Soul.”


Don Hahn will be taking us on a journey through the storyboarding and production of the animated story. What does a producer look for in writers and how does he/she work with them after they’re hired? Don will be talking about all the steps including budgets, music, art—the different layers of production nuts and bolts.  And this from the producer of such classics as “The Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast!” Can it get any better?


Lorna Cook will talk about the essence of storyboarding: turning words into images. Lorna spent several years as a valued story artist at Disney including being a key story artist on “The Lion King” and “Mulan,” and later as co-head of story on DreamWorks’ “The Prince of Egypt.” Lorna co-directed “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron,” which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and won four Annie Awards.

Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise will talk about directing feature-length animated movies. Their initial feature together, the beloved “Beauty and the Beast,” was the first Disney animated feature to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. Gary and Kirk also co-directed two screenplays written by Tab Murphy, “Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Atlantis, The Lost Empire.”


Aaron Blaise, the director of “Brother Bear” will speak about “Creating Stories for Animated Films.” This includes Aaron’s personal history and goes in-depth about storytelling and character development. Plus, Aaron uses the actual visuals and a pitch from a production that ultimately did not happen as a great teaching tool for the class.

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© Walt Disney Studios

Who doesn't need a great animated film at this time of year?

Animated Stories have a greater impact than we may realize. Often, it seems, their combination of beauty, love, humor and happy endings help people get through

tough times.


Because of the “Disney Renaissance”, we adults often enjoy the movies we loved as children. It’s not just nostalgia. It’s also an affirmation of our own character. Often, these animated treasures were the teachers of our souls. They are where we learned lessons in integrity, truth, and perseverance.


Watching the beloved classics of our own childhood with our own children or our own grandchildren or other family members is a beloved tradition at any time of year. The truth is, these animated stories bring us together and keep us alive.

So if these animated treasures hold a place in your heart—as a writer or a viewer—please join us. You’re sure to be encouraged, inspired, and informed by this

once-in-a-lifetime class.

This is the way the schedule unfolds:

Monday, March 22nd: Tab Murphy and David Kirkpatrick
David and Tab will launch the week. David will talk briefly about how the Disney Renaissance started with “Little Mermaid’, its historical context that envelops today’s animation, and the seven ingredients to Walt Disney’s “Secret Sauce”. Tab who has worked as a writer consistently for Disney will speak live about his work and specifically the difference in writing live action versus animation. How do you elevate your writing to be able to create universal messages? As Story Summit Writer’s School prides itself
in live, integrated studies, there will be plenty of time for Q & A.
 

Tuesday, March 23rd: Don Hahn
As an esteemed producer of animated works, Don will talk about navigating the deep seas of animation. What does a producer look for in writers and how does he/she work with them after they’re hired? Storytelling traditions and archetypes, engaging with your audience on a universal and emotional level. Budgets, music, art—the different layers of production nuts and bolts. Don will also speak on how to break into the business of animation, plus opportunities for new animation storytellers.
 

Wednesday, March 24th: Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale
Story Summit Writer’s School co-directors, Amy Ferris and Deb Engle, will moderate a Q&A with co-directors, Kirk and Gary. The sure-to-be lively conversation will cover their background as cartoonists and storyboard artists and specifically in putting together the classic, “Beauty and the Beast,” the first animated Disney feature to earn an Academy Award nomination for best picture. As co-directors on many memorable films, they’ll talk about the realities of the collaborative process.
 

Thursday, March 25th: Aaron Blaise 
Aaron, the director of “Brother Bear”, will speak about “Creating Stories for Animated Films.” This includes Aaron’s personal history and goes in-depth about storytelling and character development. Plus, Aaron uses the actual visuals and a pitch from a production that ultimately did not happen as a great teaching tool for the class. Are visual “decks” important for the sale and production of your screenplay? How do you go about finding an illustrator-collaborator for a deck? These questions and others will be answered during Aaron’s Q&A.


Friday, March 26th: Lorna Cook

Lorna will speak about the essence of storyboarding: turning words into images. Lorna spent several years as a valued story artist at Disney including being a key story artist on “The Lion King” and “Mulan.” How is the style of a setting created? Who determines the look of the key characters? When are those decisions made?


Friday, March 26th Round Table (evening only)
Don Hahn suggested the week’s faculty get together Friday evening for a round table discussion since they all know and like each other. We think it’s a brilliant idea and we are putting the pieces together now. Both daytime and evening students are invited. And for those in the evening class who miss Aaron’s lecture and Q&A, we’ll make that recording available. And for those in the daytime class, we will make the round table discussion available as a recording in case you miss it.

© Walt Disney Studios

Faculty