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Student Showcase 2013: Behind-the-Story Tips

by | Jun 6, 2013

Storytelling can sometimes take on a life of its own. And sometimes, well, life just takes over. Nobody can recite the life story better than Animation Mentor alumnus, Brock Boyts. It should also be noted that storytelling is an experience best shared. So be sure to share the story of Student Showcase 2013. Then get ready to tell yours.

— The Animation Mentor Crew
@AnimationMentor #storyteller

You really should look at your experiences and pull from that
Just prior to the start of class 4 (of the classic Character Animation Program), my wife and I found out we were pregnant. It was very exciting. When it came time to develop my first pantomime shot for class 4, my mentor, Nick Bruno, said something that encouraged me to do something a little more personal with my shot. He said, “Create something relatable for your audience. Look at your own experiences and pull from that.” While not everyone has experienced a crying baby before, including myself, everyone is aware of the challenges of being a new parent. Personally, I am anticipating this experience so I wanted to create a little story that shows what I imagine my future will be like.

animation mentor baby

An added bonus, Nellie and I used this animation to surprise my parents with the good news of our pregnancy. We Skyped with my mom and dad and sent them a private link to the animation. It was so neat to see my mom’s face and her reactions to this incredible blessing. An extra tidbit, I made this room a little baby girl’s room before we knew our baby’s gender. I just had a feeling we were going to have a little girl. Just a few weeks ago, my gut feeling was confirmed, we are having a little baby girl in October this year. An Animation Mentor baby.

When Animation Mentor released the first wave of the new tribal characters, I was immediately drawn to Stan. He is large, muscular, and would be expected to do mighty things. However, I wanted to show the softer side of Stan. Here, he is being this macho man but being completely controlled by this helpless and tiny little baby. The little extra joke in this story is that it really wasn’t the baby that needed to be calmed down, it was Stan and that is why the bottle ends in his mouth.

My intention of this animation is very simple. To bring a smile and hopefully a laugh to another person. I used a father’s love and care for his new baby girl to tap into the audience’s heart.

My advice to all of you
I enjoyed this assignment because it reflected the blessings and joy of my own life. It is a neat experience to take something special inside of my heart and allow it to touch others. When you go to create your next character and story — do not look too far away. Take some time to reflect on what has happened in your own life and share that with the world.

I am a storyteller
I am a storyteller by nature because I grew up with a family that loves to tell stories. I myself created stories constantly with my toys and action figurines. Personally, stories have always been great memories retold in an interesting way. From fishing trips with my dad and brothers to dates with my wife, it is fulfilling to share and remember great times and rough times with loved ones.

I also started telling stories when I was young
As I slowly closed the door to my bedroom, I said really loudly, “I am leaving now and I won’t be back for awhile.” I wanted to be sure everyone and everything could hear me. Just before the door completely closed, I got as quiet as I could and crouched low to the ground. I peeked through the tiniest of cracks between the door and frame.

“There is no way I can be seen from the other side,” I thought to myself. So I waited and waited to see if it was true. I believed that when I am not looking, my toys come to life. I was determined to catch them this time.

I was around eight years old when I did this test. Unfortunately, the toys were a lot smarter than I expected. A couple of years later, a normal day turned into an unforgettable day. My mom and dad treated me to a movie at our small movie theater in our humble town of Syracuse, Indiana. They were taking me to see Toy Story. This was the day that my imagination exploded. It WAS true! Toys ARE alive. I knew, from this day on, that Pixar was special and they created something I wanted to be a part of.

To be honest, I did not know that I wanted to be a storyteller. It has just been a journey up to this point. When it came time as an adult to choose a “career” — this was my thought process. If I have to be away from my wife and family for nine or more hours a day, it better be something I enjoy. Not only will I benefit from doing something I enjoy but my family will have a husband and father who comes home fulfilled.

— Brock

P.S. Did you spot the hidden easter egg in Brock’s animation? Hint: It’s a shout-out to Animation Mentor.

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