Story Content: It's Not Just for Writers... Anymore

    Tuesday, 19 November

    14:15 - 16:00

    Room S426 + S427

    When animation studios say “it is about the story!” everyone nods in agreement. But story creation remains a mystery for many in computer animation, VFX, and games because their focus has not been on screenwriting. This course covers the universal elements of story: plot, characters, and narrative structure. It analyzes conflict (internal, external, environmental), turning points, cause and effect, archetypes vs. stereotypes, inciting incidents, and how choice defines character. Included are many visual examples from the CG industry to illustrate the concepts and keep the course interesting.

    This course has been designed for technical directors, programmers, technical artists, animators, modelers, programmers, and designers who’s work is essential in making “the story” come to life in movies, animation, VFX, and games. This information is particularly useful when communicating with screenwriters, directors, producers, and supervisors. This course answers the question “what is the story?” for non-writers.

    Course Structure includes:
    • Introduction, "It's About Story", What is a Dramatic Story?
    • Story Structure versus Plot Structure (Acts); Setup, Inciting Incident (Survival, Safety, Love etc.), Rising Action/Turning Points, Climax, Resolution. Shorts versus Feature Film structure
    • Story Elements - Character, Setting, Theme, Goal (What Character Wants), and Conflict (Internal, External, Environmental). Connections Through Cause & Effect
    • Character Backstory vs. Character Profile, Archetype vs. Stereotype, Point-of-View, What's at Stake?, Character Arc & Change, Choices reveals Character
    • Audience Expectations: Genres, Types, and Goals, Using Character Gaps, Creating Identification With Character
    • Generating Ideas, Developing Story (Pre-Vis & Post-Vis), Character Identification, Summary, Questions and Answers



    Intended Audience

    Professionals and students who want a solid understanding of the fundamentals of story structure used in creating content for animation, VFX, transmedia, and videogames.


    No prerequisite


    Craig Caldwell, University of Utah

    Craig Caldwell, DeTao Masters Academy, Institute of Animation and Creative Content, Shanghai, China and USTAR (Utah Science Technology and Research) Professor, University of Utah. Industry experience: 3D Technology Specialist, Walt Disney Feature Animation in Burbank, CA and Creative Training, Electronic Arts, Tiburon Studio. Academic background includes Head of the largest Film School in Australia at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia, and Head of Media Arts, University of Arizona. Currently Director of Arts Track, Master Games Studio, University of Utah and DeTao Master, IACC. Recent conference presentations include FMX ’12 & ’13, SIGGRAPH ’13, and Mundos Digitales ’12 & ’13.