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VIDEO: Animation directors on the art of the pitch

November 28, 2012|By Rebecca Keegan

A crucial skill in the art of making animated movies is being able to convey the story — both to executives and to a large crew of animators and artists — before a single frame is drawn.

In this video from The Envelope's animation round table — a recent conversation held at the Los Angeles Times with the directors of "Brave," "Hotel Transylvania," "ParaNorman," "Rise of the Guardians" and "Wreck-It Ralph" — the five filmmakers shared their often wildly different styles of pitching their movie ideas.

In the case of "Wreck-It Ralph," director Rich Moore said that Disney and Pixar animation studios' chief creative officer, John Lasseter, had specifically asked him to envision a movie set in the world of video games.

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"John likes to hear multiple pitches," Moore said. "He doesn't want to just hear one precious idea... because it frees up the mind."

"Brave" director Mark Andrews said that after getting some advice from fellow Pixar director Andrew Stanton, he learned to rely on spontaneity when describing a concept for a movie.

"People get caught up in enthusiasm, right?" Andrews said. "And your own passion for it."

But for "Hotel Transylvania" director Genndy Tartakovsky, the sixth filmmaker to take on what had been a troubled project, the storytelling requirements were more delicate.

"In my situation, it was very unique because it was an abused property," Tartakovsky said. "The story crew’s beaten down, the executives, everybody. I have to come in there and have conviction. That’s the only thing I can have to win everybody over, is to pretend that I know what I’m doing and convince everybody that I’m doing it," the director explained.

"A lot of live-action directors are very strong-minded, and they don’t get bullied. They fight. And so I felt like I had to do that. I had to stand up for what I believed in even if I’m not even there yet story-wise," said Tartakovsky.

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