During our behind the scene look at how The Good Dinosaur was made we spoke with screenwriter Meg LaFauve and Story Supervisor Kelsey Mann on how the story gets developed and boarded, and we also learned how to draw Arlo, the main character!
Kelsey Mann immediately made us feel at home, he was super animated, lively and just a pleasure to listen to. He told us that the very room we were sitting in was essentially where The Good Dinosaur was made and that seeing all of us in the seats situated around the massive table made it feel like we were the story team.
“The DNA of the movie is in the walls in here” ~ Kelsey Mann
The Disney story teams primary job is to take screenwriter Meg LaFauve’s words and translate them into the visual medium. The artists draw the entire story to see how it looks and they are happy with it, it gets worked up and presented.
Years ago to work on the story and the art they had to use pencil and paper and literally draw thousands and thousands of images. These days they use a Wacom drawing board to do the artwork, instead of drawing on paper, which they still do for some things, they can use this computer program exclusive to Pixar called Pitch Docter. Kelsey explained that this method makes it extremely easy to edit the artwork, but limits you to where you can create, so good old pencil and paper is still great.
Pete Sohn wanted everyone to work together, so they would all go to the room and they had paper and all the materials they needed and literally feed off the energy of all being together.
“If everyone is having a good time making the film then you see it up on the screen.” ~ Meg LaFauve
How do they (story)board? – They begin with Meg and Pete with the writing and pulling out what Pete wants in the movie. His vision is the main focus and then they throw out various ideas and ways to make each scene better.Each Pixar movie has a writer – Pete also writes for is as well. The storyboard artists are also “writers” – adding sequences, etc. There is no ownership per say, it is Pete’s movie and everyone else is there to make his idea/story come to life.
“Bring your heart, we need your heart” ~ Pete Sohn
Once the artist has drawn up their scene it is time to pitch it to Pete and to the room. Kelsey showed us how this would be done using the scene above as reference. When they present they basically act out the scene with sound effects, expression etc. This allows the viewer to really understand the scene and what is happening.
Kelsey then walked us through on how to draw Arlo, which was so much fun. here’s my finished artwork, which came out very Simpsonesque looking. It was so fun though, I am proud of my little guy.
The Good Dinosaur opens in theaters on November 25th
STAY SOCIAL WITH THE GOOD DINOSAUR
Disclosure: I was provided with an all-expense trip to San Francisco by Walt Disney Studios to attend various events. All opinions are 100% my own.