I did receive an all expenses paid trip to The Good Dinosaur press event, but all opinions are my own.
It’s not very often that you get to sit in the actual room where magic is made; where creative genius comes together to throw ideas around that meld into something families will remember for lifetimes. That’s what happened when I had a chance to chat with Screenwriter Meg LaFauve and Story Supervisor Kelsey Mann during our Pixar Studios tour for The Good Dinosaur, opening November 25th. We had a chance to sit in THE room where the stories start to form for this great film!
If you’ve ever written a story or brainstormed an idea, you have a small sense of what goes on in the story boarding room at Pixar Studios. It’s this neat room where technology meets good old pencil and paper. There are overhead projectors so the story artists can present their ideas, and good old sticky notes along the wall to follow a story from the beginning to the end of the sequence. It was really awesome to see that I am not the only one that uses sticky notes to hash out my ideas so they stop rattling around in my brain.
Meg LaFauve is the screenwriter on The Good Dinosaur, and she gave us some insight how her role helps with the story building process. After the story artists are done hashing out the basics of a scene, it’s up to her to add all the words to the characters. Each time an idea changes, she goes back to the drawing board. One fact that surprised me was just how many times that they write and rewrite the script over and over again.
When the beginning ideas start to flow, there is an initial draft of the whole script, but after they revisit which scenes look like they are working, and which ones need to get cut, Meg goes back and edits those scripts until they are just right! There were several times when they started almost from scratch all over again because things just weren’t melding they way Pixar wanted to tell the story.
Kelsey Mann shared the storyboarding side of the script making process. This was probably my favorite part because he not only shared the nuts and bolts of what goes into storyboarding, but he also gave us an example of how the story tellers would present their ideas for a scene. It’s not your usual board room presentation but a mini play. The artists would really get into the action with adding their own sound effects and animated voices as they are presenting their ideas to the team.
Kelsey shared with us a really funny scene involving Spot blowing air into holes in the ground and these little creatures popping up out of the holes. It was quite amusing. This was a scene that even made it past the editors into the movie, so I can’t wait to see it on the big screen.
After we had a chance to chat with the story team, we were given a quick tutorial on how to draw Arlo. He must’ve been a great teacher because my Arlo actually was recognizable as an Arlo, but sadly I lost my little drawing. I guess I will have to give up my new dream to be a Pixar Studios employee, but take my word on it. It was at least good enough to pass for a fourth graders art project, so I’ve at least graduation from stick figures!
The whole adventure at Pixar Studios was a magical time, and even though our The Good Dinosaur posts are drawing to a close these are memories that I will have for a lifetime. Meeting such creative genius, that have such a passion for what they do, really has motivated me to make sure I live each and every day to the fullest. I went in thinking that I would just be learning about a cool movie, but I left having learnt that life is about embracing what you are passionate about and sharing that joy with the world.
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