2017 TFA Concluded with International Animation and Special Effects Forum
2017 TFA Concluded with International Animation and Special Effects Forum - Taipei Film Commission
Organized by Taipei Film Commission (TFC), the 2017 Taipei Film Academy (TFA) concluded with the “International Animation and Special Effects Forum” on Oct 2nd at the Shangri-La Far Eastern Hotel, after two weeks of forums and workshops. This year, TFA has invited Production Executive Christina Lee Storm and Producer Kate Spencer from DreamWorks Animation to share with the participants their extensive experiences from story development to production pipelines, which attracted more than 200 attendees.
Lecturers and participants of the 2017 TFA-International Animation and Special Effects Forum
(from left) TFC Director Jennifer Jao, lecturers Kate Spencer and Christina Lee Storm
In her opening speech, TFC Director Jennifer Jao revealed that the past editions of International Animation and Special Effects Forum have received enthusiastic feedback from the participants, who all looked forward to this year’s forum. TFC spared no effort to invite distinguished lecturers to travel all the way from America, in the hope of enhancing mutual understanding and cooperation between international lecturers and Taiwanese participants and visibly improving the visual effects and animation field within Taiwan. Director Jao then presented certificates of appreciation to the lecturers as an expression of her profound gratitude.
Our Imagination Unleashed: Technology in Storytelling
lecturer Christina Lee Storm
Production Executive Christina Lee Storm began by sharing her family background and personal experience working in visual effects and feature animation, discussing the production pipeline, creative teams, and software needed to make creative imagery. Having received a BA in Communication (TV/Film) with a minor degree in business, Storm debuted her career in Paramount Pictures. She had joined projects and worked with directors and artists around the world, developing expertise as a producer before becoming Production Executive at DreamWorks Animation.
Storm commented that nowadays, people are overwhelmed by the choices of contents easily available via the Internet. Therefore, how to create stories that are able to catch the audience’s attention has become the key question. Storm quoted from Robert McKee to illustrate the best media lie in storytelling, and introduced the mission of Producers Guild America (PGA) as well as the responsibilities of producers specified by the PGA.
She then moved on to talk about the landscape of new media and transmedia, games, and visual effects, going through the production pipeline at DreamWorks Animation, ending up with discussion on the use of virtual reality and augmented reality technology in storytelling. In particular, she emphasized on human connection, and reminded the participants to start with story.
From Script to Screen: An Inside Look at Story Development in Feature Animation
lecturer Kate Spencer (left)
In the afternoon session, producer Kate Spencer shared her 20 years of experience in the world of feature animation via her talk on the behind-the-scenes stories about the creative process on popular movies How to Train Your Dragon trilogy and Over the Hedge, and how she satisfied various demands during the process as a producer.
Having majored in TV and Film, Spencer joined the production of The Road to El Dorado at DreamWorks as a PA right after she finished her studies, therefore beginning her career at DreamWorks. She witnessed the change from hand-drawn animation to CG, pointing out good storytelling remains as essential as ever. Using the film How to Train Your Dragon as an example of a brining a script to the big screen, Spencer carefully examined the steps from development, pre-production, to production.
Spencer also recollected the experience of doing research on time travel for Mr. Peabody & Sherman, and compared the movie adaption of How to Train Your Dragon with British author Cressida Cowell’s original book series, offering insights on the production pipeline as well as the roles of the creative team and the creative partnerships required to achieve universal stories and convincing characters that are able to take the audience to whimsical worlds. She encouraged the participants to find inspiration from their own lives or look to classic films and stories, and spend time to understand the original material when doing an adaptation.
The forum concluded with a Q&A session, during which the lecturer and the audience had much discussion and feedback.