Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Slowly working on some stuff for my Flat Work portfolio. It is truly freeing every time I get the chance to paint again. All the love for Photoshop...

... and buffalo :)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

3D Workshop

As my reel is primarily 2D and with this being my last quarter at the Art Institute I decided I was going to spend all of my time for 3D Workshop, as it's required credit, playing in ZBrush 4R4. More specifically, I'm looking to play with Fibermesh and it's a blast so far! The ingenuity of those who work day in and day out to better these programs never fails to blow me away, especially when it comes to Pixologic.

Some WIP pictures of this little Tiger Guy.

ALAS here's mah dawg... er cat.

Heh, a fluke I liked while pulling in a sphere for an eye before resizing.. He might go disco dancer after the actual assignment is done, haha.

I really love playing in this program. Anyway I guess I'm off to either post something else do some more storyboards as the time ticks away. I wish my branding wasn't giving me so much damn trouble.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Storytelling at it's Basics

This has been floating around the Interwebz for quite some time but I'm sure someone somewhere can still benefit from it. Below is a list of 22 Story Basics picked up by a former Story Artist at Pixar by the name of Emma Coats. She posts loads of excellent material on her tumblr Story Shots and twitter @lawnrockets. Check them out I promise you'll leave with something that will make you a better storyboard artist, writer, or storyteller in general.

22 #storybasics I’ve picked up in my time at Pixar
Here they are, a mix of things learned from directors & coworkers at Pixar, listening to writers & directors talk about their craft, and via trial and error in the making of my own films.
#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.
Another helpful post I've come across on her blog:

As someone quickly approaching the real world filled with storyboards and pitches of said storyboard I found this segment of Emma's Q&A to be incredibly helpful. I really need to implement this technique cause Pitching and I... let's just say there are no wedding bells on the horizon just yet.

"Hi, Emma! Lately I have been feeling that my story skills have been stagnating. I feel like I have run up against a wall—I know I need to improve on a bunch of things, mostly in story structure, clarity, and pitching, but I don’t know how best to go about it. My usual solution would be to just draw, draw, draw, but presently I am not sure that is the best way to go about addressing my specific story problems.Halp prease?"
That’s a tough question… you’re right, drawing won’t help your story structure or your pitch skills. You can really only get better at those by doing - and it’s pretty brutal to do those when you’re struggling with them.

A way to practice & get better at pitching is to take a video of yourself pitching one of your ideas. This is mortifying, but you have to get over that part of it. Then take a video of you relating the plot of a movie you have seen, or a short story you read, or a TV episode you watched. The second video will be a good pitch, I can almost guarantee - this is because you know it exists, you had a response to it, and you are now sharing that response with someone. Watch both, and notice the differences between how you talk about YOUR idea and how you talk about this pre-existing idea.

The best pitch is when you come off like you’re telling someone about the amazing movie you watched the other night, or walking them through a scene you thought was the best thing ever.
Clarity you need outside eyes for. When you get feedback from people, ask them specifically where they bumped or got lost and had to reread your story/ask you to repeat yourself. Do it enough and you will figure out what people are confused over, and you can address it.

Story structure: Get away from the stories you’re attached to. Think about characters who might be interesting, and what they might want. Think about, do they get it? What might get in the way of them getting what they want? What bad things happen to them? What hard choices do they have to make? A structure will usually present itself. It just takes practice to get quick at it.

Neat, no? Go look at her awesomeness meow!

Check out Emma Coats' (former Pixar Story Artist) Twitter for some helpful advice, hints, and stories

Friday, October 5, 2012