Patrick Smith

Known for his metaphorical, hand-drawn, short animated films, as well as his experimental stop-motion films, Smith’s formative years were spent as a storyboard artist for Walt Disney and animation director for MTV. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the New York Foundation of the Arts. SLC, 2020–

Undergraduate Courses 2020-2021

Filmmaking and Moving Image Arts

Writing and Storytelling for Animation

Open , Seminar—Fall

Animation is a unique discipline within filmmaking. Often relying less on words and more on visual interpretations, animation offers unlimited conceptual possibilities for the creative screen writer. This course will focus on the creation and development of story, characters, and the multiple styles and methods of expressing a narrative in highly visual terms. The first segment of the course delves into the art of writing pantomime; creating scripts, outlines, and storyboards; and referencing legendary animated films that utilize wordless stories. From there, the class will move into defining music and creating stories within the framework of prerecorded media. We then progress into the various styles of scriptwriting, from voice over narration to interviews and finally to dramatic dialogue and writing for characters. Specific limitations and possibilities are discussed, mostly within the context of the differences between animation and live-action writing, as well as comparing structures of the short story, feature script, and serial script. Throughout the course, students are encouraged to explore a diversity of personal experiences, expressing stories that may not be traditionally heard or brought into a script and film format. By the nature of its inherent use of aesthetic and its ability to reflect the multitude of visual material and stories of this complex world, animation is particularly good at embodying diverse experiences and cultures. The art of animated storytelling is a conceptual and highly visual and personal exercise; therefore, throughout the duration of this course, I encourage students to accompany written work with visual references—whether photographs or drawings. The final project for the course will be to complete a fully developed script for a five- to 10-minute short animated film.

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