Visual / Storytelling
A uniquely well-rounded masterclass for professional storytellers
From my early childhood devouring comics in my parent’s book store to a 27-year career as a professional animator/writer/director/comics creator for major studios and international publishers, I have never stopped learning. I have compiled and organized the key concepts and skills acquired on my own storytelling journey into a 6-hour masterclass: Visual / Storytelling.
Why the forward slash between “visual” and “storytelling”?
Because in a real professional setting, screenwriters are asked to “show it, not say it.”
Because board artists are staff writers as well as artists.
Because all directors are uncredited writers
Because comic book creators need to deliver the clarity, effectiveness and scope of film entertainment to make their books accessible to new readers who are the new comic book audience.
So in short, all of us need to know all of this, and this master class uniquely combines elements of writing/story design, visual communication, film language, sequential art, and aesthetics. It is the Jeet Kune Do of masterclasses, except no one gets punched in the face.
The masterclass is structured in 4 sections:
Creative writing and story structure: We discuss the story journey from lightbulb moment to well-structured dramatic form. We explore how human truth and spectacle combine in a story, how to find each idea’s correct place within the structure and how to introduce a character dynamically. We also examine the notion of high concept, and how to pitch a story.
Visual continuity: We get down in the weeds of visual storytelling. This covers all the essentials of film language and sequential storytelling for comics. We discuss how to achieve both necessary goals of storytelling: clarity and emotional impact.
Esthetic: We discuss key concepts of story presentation, which separate mature professional work from fan art or fan fiction. Concepts include “imagination versus immediacy”, “specificity versus genericness”, “seeing past literalism” and “understanding artistic distance”.
Cultural relevance: We examine the place and significance of story in society and the storyteller’s responsibility. Topics include traditional story forms and their modern iterations, timelessness versus irrelevance, myth versus religion, and my very own “Sins of Our Fathers” theory.
The masterclass will also include a significant Q & A section, open to all topics mentioned above as well as FAQs on the industry such as:
How to "break into the industry"
how to build the right portfolio
Representation, agents, etc...
what to expect when you "sell a project"
and many more...
Intended audience and availability
The Visual / Storytelling is a college-level class and is intended for the following audiences:
Working professionals seeking to further their artistic development
College students currently attending art/comics//animation school, film school, writing programs
Aspiring artist/writers/filmmakers and pre-professional students seeking advanced knowledge
WARNING: Visual / Storytelling is a professional/pre-professional creative-development class, not a political class. However, political andculturally relevant subjects (including religion) may come into play. No explicit material will be presented, but R-rated subjects and language may be discussed and heard.
Teaching Credentials & Masterclass history
Over 2 decades of experience in creative leadership positions at major Hollywood studios (including directing)
Mentor in the Story Training Program at Disney Feature Animation
Taught the masterclass/lectured at the following institution:
Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, CA)
Storytelling Across Media (Comic Con, International) ((San Francisco, CA)
Pixelatl (Cuernavaca, Mexico)
Annecy International Animation Festival (Annecy, France)
Walt Disney Feature Animation (Story training program) (Burbank, CA)
Long Beach Comic Expo (Long Beach CA)
Wondercon (Anaheim, CA)
San Diego Comic Con (Sandiego CA)
Salt Lake City Comic Con (Salt Lake City, UT)
VIEW Conference (Turin, Italy)
Center Stage Gallery (Burbank CA)
Where to attend:
45min + Q&A sections of the class are available FOR FREE as educational panels at comic book conventions
Full sessions of the class are available as public events or private engagements.
Check the schedule page for dates as they will be announced. Check with the hosting organization for rates when they apply.
How to set up a session:
Event organizers and corporate clients may reach out here.