May 31, 2016

Tips for Preparing for Your Animated Movie Pitch

Need help with creating a movie pitch? Wacom and Disney Animator Aaron Blaise have got you covered!

Aaron Blaise spent more than 20 years as a Disney animator and director. He’s now creating his own films. With all of this experience, he’s become very familiar with the art of the movie pitch. He has a great story about an epic pitch meeting, how he won that pitch, and how his tip also helped his workflow.

Create Finished, Polished Images

“I learned early that the closer you can get an image to look like the finished frame of film that you envisioned for the movie, the quicker it’s going to get approved by executives,” he explained.  Blaise found that executives did not fully understand his vision if he showed them line drawings of the character; they didn’t share his artistic vision.  “I started training myself when I created a character in Photoshop to paint them and light them correctly, but also to bring in photographic textures and blend it all together.  Basically I use anything I can digitally to create an image that looks like what I think the movie should look like.”

Epic Pitch Meeting

“One of the biggest meetings I ever had,” he said, “I was at Pixar pitching to Steve Jobs, John Lasseter, Ed Catmull, who is John Lasseter’s partner, and Bob Iger, who is the head of Walt Disney Pictures.  It was just all these big titans.  And I had been spending about a year or so creating imagery for how I thought this movie should look.  We pitched the movie, and I also explained the imagery.  At the end of the meeting, it was Steve Jobs who sat up and pointed at the main image I created for the whole presentation and said, ‘That’s the movie I want to see.’”  Blaise laughed.  “There you go!  One image.”

Workflow Benefits

Blaise explained that this also helped with workflow.  “If I give somebody a rough sketch, they’re going to go away and say, ‘I think I understand,’ and they’ll do something and bring it back, and then I go, ‘No, no, no.  Do it more like this.’  But if I can really sit down and create what I think I want it to look like, then we might only go back and forth once or twice.  Compound that over the course of an entire film with 200 different people, you’re saving millions and millions of dollars in the budget.  Over three or four years and that many people, those man hours really add up.  That’s the practical side of it.” 

Art Story

Blaise’s method of creating finished, polished images has also served him well on Kickstarter, where he found more than 1700 backers to fund his latest movie, Art Story.
Art Story is about a boy and his grandfather who get stuck in a world of master paintings.  Explaining the premise to people who are only engaged in animation as consumers might seem like a daunting battle, but Blaise’s pictures told the story for him.  It received full funding and is on the path to being made.  Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.

 
 
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