Pitching Stories with Disney•Pixar’s THE GOOD DINOSAUR Writers

Ever want to be a fly on the wall when Hollywood filmmakers pitch their ideas? During a recent press trip to Pixar Studios, story supervisor Kelsey Mann and screenwriter Meg LaFauve for Disney•Pixar’s THE GOOD DINOSAUR shared how a story gets developed at the studio, and what it feels like to be caught up in the excitement of the pitch. Continue reading for more details on the art of the story pitch with Disney•Pixar’s THE GOOD DINOSAUR writers.

THE GOOD DINOSAUR

Screenwriter Meg LaFauve and Story Supervisor Kelsey Mann at Pixar Studios. Photo by Marc Flores. ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLOSURE: I was hosted by Walt Disney Studios on an all expense paid trip to San Francisco, California including airfare, hotel accommodations, transportation, and meals to attend this press event and learn more about Disney’s films and shows. All opinions expressed are those of the author.

Toy Story 4

Director John Lasseter works with members of his story team on Disney•Pixar’s “Toy Story 4,” a new chapter in the lives of Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the “Toy Story” gang. Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar. ©2014 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

 

During our meeting with Disney•Pixar’s THE GOOD DINOSAUR writers, we gathered inside the actual Pixar story room, where creative teams gather to bounce ideas off of each other, such as when John Lasseter pitched his most recent idea for Toy Story 4 (pictured above). Inside the story room, the director, producer, screenwriter, and story supervisor collectively figure out their vision for the movie, and, in the case of THE GOOD DINOSAUR, how the relationship between Spot and Arlo progresses and changes throughout the film.

THE GOOD DINOSAUR

Spot and Arlo. ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

 

You could tell Kelsey Mann and Meg LaFauve have great admiration and respect for their director Peter Sohn. “It’s Pete’s movie, and we are all just working together and trying to make it better,” said Mann.

THE GOOD DINOSAUR

Screenwriter Meg LaFauve and Story Supervisor Kelsey Mann at Pixar Studios. Photo by Marc Flores. ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

 

Kelsey Mann demonstrated pitching a scene so we could see how it goes. As we watched the storyboard play out on a screen at one end of the room, Mann did a bit of performance art including voices and sound effects (a doggie squeaker toy) to make everyone feel as though they were watching a part of the movie. Take a look at the film clip below, the chirps of those little prehistoric prairie dogs take me right back to the Pixar story room with Mann and his squeaker toy.

THE GOOD DINOSAUR

This storyboard was drawn by story artists Rosana Sullivan and Gleb Sanchez-Lobashov, both members of the Story team for “The Good Dinosaur.” Storyboards are drawn by story artists for the purpose of pre-visualizing the film and to convey a rough sense of how the story unfolds. This storyboard, from a sequence called “Above the Clouds,” is one of approximately 154,061 boards drawn for the film, of which 87,748 were delivered to the Editorial team. The storyboarding process, in the form it is known today, was developed at Walt Disney Studios during the early 1930s. ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Our session concluded with Kelsey Mann saying, “you cannot leave a story room at Pixar without doing a drawing” and taught us all how to draw Arlo from THE GOOD DINOSAUR.

THE GOOD DINOSAUR

Disney•Pixar’s THE GOOD DINOSAUR opens in theaters on November 25, 2015; click here for more photos, news, trailers, and activity sheets for the film.

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About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I’m a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.