Conference Masterclasses
ON SITE Bertha-Benz-Saal Wednesday, May 04, 17:00

Story Structure

When animation studios say, "it's about the story!" everyone nods in agreement, but creating a "dramatic" story is one of the biggest challenges in media today. This session covers the essential story elements and different plot structures. It is designed specifically for animators, technical artists, and designers whose work is vital to making the story come to life.

What are the story elements (i.e., theme, character, setting, conflict) and plot points (i.e., setup, inciting incident, rising action, climax, resolution)? We analyze the journey a character must take and the conflict along the way (i.e., internal, external, environmental). Included are story acts versus beginning/middle/end, turning points/reversals, and how choice defines a character. In all stories, there must be narrative questions raised and answered for a dramatic story to engage the audience. What is at stake (i.e., survival, safety, love, esteem…) that drives the main character to take action, which in turn forces them to move from their status quo to a different world, where the real action takes place.

This session reveals audience expectations when watching your story (i.e., Genres, Story types). What makes a good ending? A good beginning? A scene? Intended audience: Professionals and young people who want a solid understanding of the fundamentals of story structure for creating content for animated films, VFX, video games, interactive media. This presentation contains many visuals to illustrate the concepts.

This presentation will only be available as video-on-demand on May 6!

Craig Caldwell, USTAR Professor, University of Utah, Film & Media Arts

Craig Caldwell, USTAR Professor, Digital Media Cluster, and a founder of the University of Utah, Entertainment Arts & Engineering (#3 USA Video Game program). DeTao Master at the Institute of Animation and Creative Content, SIVA Campus, Shanghai, China. Industry experience: Head of Creative Training at Electronic Arts, Tiburon Studio and 3D Technology Specialist, Walt Disney Feature Animation (Mulan, Tarzan, Chicken Little, Bolt, Meet the Robinsons), Burbank, CA. Academic background includes Head of the largest Film School in Australia at Griffith University and Chair of the Media Arts Department at University of Arizona. Presented at conferences such as Sundance, Comic-Con, SXSW, View, Mundos Digitales, SIGGRAPH, and GAFX. His book Story Structure and Development – A Guide for Animators, VFX Artists, Game Designers, and Virtual Reality; CRC Publishers.