When I was going to Cal Arts we had working artists from the studios teaching night classes. It was great to learn from these people and it made me feel like I could actually get a job at one of these studios after I graduated. Since my graduation I've worked at several different studios and storyboarded on 14 features including Iron Giant, Ice Age, Horton Hears a Who , Rio, Epic, and the recently released Grinch
There's a lot more colleges teaching animation now. Most of the schools I've spoken at don't have the same connection to the animation studios that Cal Arts did and that got me thinking, why not do an online class to help close this gap? So here it is -- Yeti School!
Why storyboarding? Well, that's what I'm good at. Also, without a good story you've got nothing. Storytelling in animation is one of those things you learn best by doing. I wrote and boarded stories in school but didn't really start learning story until I was given assignments and story problems to solve.
When I was working on Iron Giant I had the assignment to come up with some action for Hogarth to get away from Kent. I like humor and drawing gags so I ran off in the direction of Hogarth easily outsmarting Kent because I treated him like a buffoon. When I pitched the boards to Brad he didn't go for my ideas. He explained to me that if your villain is a buffoon then he's not a real threat. It would be hard for the audience to make the stretch that he could defeat the hero. These are the kind of basic storytelling principals that once understood, can give a student of story a real boost.
Storyboarding is like writing on steroids. You are not only writing a story you are showing it. Sure, you can throw a few stick figures together in a rectangle and get a basic idea of a shot across but without the right expression, staging or mood in a story drawing you risk losing your audiences interest. I've seen some good Ideas get discarded because they weren't drawn clear enough. You can stand out as a board artist who KNOWS visual storytelling for animation and not just someone who can illustrate a script. Story artists write with pictures, not so much with words. I like to call it visual writing.
I've put together this website with information and assignments geared to help you get a job in the industry.