Friday, November 30, 2012

Brenda Chapman -- CTN Kickoff

The unbelievably talented story artist and director, most recently known for her work on Brave, Brenda Chapman offered to CTN a heartwarming discussion on her work, where she started, and her inspirations -- most notably her family, and the relationship with her daughter that inspired Brave.

Brenda's lecture centered around four key elements that helped her as a zealous young woman looking to break into a world of men:

Now, because of the nature of her lecture, I found that much of it was a "had to be there" sort of thing. However, in speaking on passion there were a few gems in her lecture that I thought were too irresistible to share.

"If it doesn't immediately capture you, dig deep and find a place you can connect to."
As students, at least where we're studying, we don't come across this so often. We have a lot of liberty with choosing what shots we're going to do based upon our own desires. However, getting in to the industry, it's not so much a choice anymore as it is an assignment -- it's a job, right? At some point, each and every one of us is going to be assigned a shot we don't see eye-to-eye with. That's where this comes in.

Even in a shot we think is boring, it's important to find a way to connect with it on a level we understand. If the animator is bored or detached, the shot will be tough to get through and more often than not, the audience can feel that through their work. Sitting and really thinking on a shot and finding a way to get into it will make your life easier as a professional (you won't be sitting and hacking away at something you gate), and will truly make your own work sing.

"If you don't get the job that you really, really, really it still worth doing?"
I found this to be a particularly engaging question -- and in her lecture she left it fairly open ended. I've discussed this subject with a few people since then and I've heard mixed responses. Yes...No...
That won't happen, I'll try until I get there...etc...

Brenda, on the other hand said "Who knows! Maybe not, but is that a reason to stop?" Even if we don't end up with our dream jobs, all that means is we have to find an outlet. If we're not satisfying creative desires in the workplace, it just gives us the opportunity to pursue that craving elsewhere. We're not all going to get those golden opportunities, it doesn't mean we can't make something great.

"Find it...then share it!"
I know, I know -- how many times are we going to put pressure on the fact that this is a collaborative industry? But I want to emphasize that it's not just about helping each other with shots and patting each other on the back upon getting the work done, but it's about keeping the fire alive in each other. For me, at least, animating -- yeah, I love it -- but it can feel like work, and there's been times where I've hated it. But when I'm excited and passionate and talking and sharing and "Oh my gosh have you seen this?!" with others, it never gets old -- no matter how bogus the shot.

For anyone who missed this amazing lecture and happens to be an aspiring story artist, Brenda Chapman teaches a one-on-one workshop through Motivarti. You can also check out Brenda's personal website and blog for some more insight into the industry and Brenda Chapman, herself.

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