Hello there, this is Rodrigo from Frame Freak Studio and this is The Creative Hustler Show and now I have a really amazing invited guest here… She is an Amazing artist, she has worked on a lot of films that I love and I feel like, really happy to have her here So wellcome Brenda Chapman Than you!, I’m happy to be here So, first of all I would like to ask you, … a little bit about your story for all the people who don’t know about it How did you get started into this creative endeveaurs? Well… I started out when I was very young just drawing all the time you know, and… I grew up in a really small town in central Illinois, a farming community, and there was no internet, nothing at that time so… I didn’t even know what an Animation Gig was… I just went home everyday after school and watched Bugs Bunny, and the looney toons, and Tex Avery, and went to Disney movies whenever they came out… In the neighboring town, but… I found out about Calarts, through a friend of a friend of a friend, that kind of thing and applied to Calarts, for the Character Animation Program, (Calarts) California Institute of the Arts And I didn’t make it in the first time So I had to work really hard, draw a lot, take more art classes, and I made it on the second time I applied, I didn’t give up. And I spent 3 years there Studying character animation, and realized… on my third year there, that what I really love about animation was the story part of it, the late great wonderfull Joe Ranft, Was the one who nudged me into that direction He saw my boards for third year film, about a little old lady who alone at her birthday, and said “Hey do you ever think about going into Story” and as I’m siting there going through what I thought, felt was the tedious part of animation which was actually the animation while I was flipping the pages and trying to figure out how to make things move… I was like, Oh Yeahh…. Because I did, I loved the part about solving the puzzle of the story and the characters and all of that… So I … …ended up at Disney as a Story Trainee, and my first film was The Little Mairemaid and I went on to work Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and The Beast, and… Fantasia 2000, when it was in its early phases and Hunchback of Notre Dame but I was head of Story in the Lion King and then when Jeffrey Katzenberg left… Disney to start Dreamworks, I went with him and help develop the story department, and then ended up directing Prince of Egypt, or Co-Directing it with Simon Wells & Steve Hickner and then, I took time to have a child, and hang out with my family, and then I went back and then consulted in sort of long distance, on different things at Dreamworks, and then… Moved on… and consulted on things at Universal and Sony… and then went to PIXAR Joe, my dear friend Joe Ranft, called me and said he needed some help on Cars with… the female characters, which by the time I got there it was way to late… *laughs* So, but I ended up developing and creating, inspired by my daily arguments with my daughter, “Brave” So, I… Spent Nearly 7 years on Brave there, and then after that I consulted on a couple of things for Lucasfilm, And went back to Dream Works, for a little while, and now I’m working independently with my husband. and writing a script with him, and I just finished a script for a Chinese company and… I’m going to be derecting a film, based on a Chinese folktale that is going to be animated in the USA or in Canada Yeah, It’s kind of where I’m right now, I’m writing a lot which I’m really enjoying. Awsome Yeah, actually this is one of the questions that I wanted to ask you about brave because, When we were watching the movie, that felt like… really personal *laughs* And so I wanted to ask you if it was like, there was some personal experience there Yes Very personal experience you know, my daughter was 4 and 5, when I was thinking about … putting something together, every morning before I went to work she would just argue with me about having a bowl of cereal, or getting up for school, or whatever it was, se was just really She was, she is a very strong push back kind of gal It would drive me crazy, and I’d be fuming about it all the way into work *laughs* and so I realized, that I had to … You Know, Focus that passion and energy into something creative, and that’s how Merida and Brave was born. *were born Nice, and what about their experience with the female characters in “Cars” Because, I for one, like when I started Interpenuership there was a moment Where, I had all my mentors who where men Like very aggressive kind of: “Let’s Hustle, Let’s succeed” But I found myself like, ok… I’m lacking this part of connection with my clients and my prospects, And then I went looking for… Who’s better than a women to teach me how to How to connect with people, and I went to look for my first female mentor Marie Forleo, and that was like a huge different world for me, and I would be the first to admit, we men are not like the best , when it comes to dealing with emotions So how was your experience in Cars when you found out like, what men were doing with this part of the project, Well, I find that men, Have a tendency to just make women a bit secondary, you know… We are not a main part of the plot, our characters usually, and we are… Secondary characters, we are there to so many films, the mothers of the main characters are dead, because it’s just easier to make them without them that was the excuse that I used to get Why? Where is the mother? Why isn’t there a mother in this? “Well…. It is was just easier to do without her” *laughs* And I’m like “Holy crap” So you know, there were a lot of things, a lot of questions, that I brought up, that it was just…. You know… John really didn’t want to be bothered with them, so… We just left it at that, you know I had a really good time on it, You know, and it is done very well, but you don’t see many little girls running out to watch Cars, because it’s very boy centric Yeah, and now you’ve just answered the big questions that we all had, like.. why all these character don’t have any mothers? Because there are no mothers working on them, mostly, *laughs* Its all Dads You know, wouldn’t life be so much easier without the mother, they would find that differently if we weren’t there *laughs* I would say otherwise, I would think that my life would have been much more harder without my mother, but anyway… I agree, it would I see as well, for example if you see our interviews like, when we were looking for animators , and people in the animation industry there was a point like hey guys, We are just interviewing mens, Were are the women, and we went to… a friend of ours, a graphic designer who was giving us help with the backgrounds, and she is like really into it and she told us like, ‘no there not to many women in the industry’ So.. and where are you? Were in El Salvador, in Central America but, our team, at least If we put it this way, it is very female centric we have more female members in out team than male teamates But we haven’t found internationally speaking many women in animation, or in the industry at all… Why do you think that is? Well, I think that it’s changing because when I went to Calarts I was one of 5 out of 34, students, you know one of 5 women and, you know that is about, i think that its about 13% don’t quote me on that because, my math is terrible, but it was really small, but now at Calarts, there are more women than there are guys, 60% women and 40% guys, so.. I think that the big thing was that they were never truly welcome in the industry Walt Disney said, in his adds when he was looking for animators, “Women need not apply” You know, they just, so we were discouraged for many many decades and it’s just only recently that you know, when young women watching cartoons, and they watch the videos or whatever, that come along, making of’s, that they see other women being part of it that they get, ‘oh wait a minute, they can do that’ “there is a women, I can do that” So… I feel like I’m one of those people that might have, you know opened the door for someone, Lisa Keane, Cathy Alighieri and Cathy Solinski, and so many others that.. and Susan Croyer there are some that, where there back in the 70’s and 80’s that were sort of starting to be seen and so I just has been a slow process but i just got back form ‘Annency’ and there were a ton of women there Women animators, and they won prices and.. so they are there they are there they might not be in El Salvador, but they are there *laughs* that is good to know also why do you think, or better say yet, what are the biggest challenges that people can find in this career, like in this industry? but maybe the challenges that not many people are talking about, but they are there.. What would those be? well I’m not sure how the industry in El Salvador, works, but are you talking about maybe the studio system? worldwide worldwide I think distribution is the biggest challenge for filmmakers, and animation, unless you are at the big studios, It is really hard to get world wide distribution, it is hard to get your work seen unless, you just do it on youtube and you know try to, get as many hits as you can I think that is a big struggle and, because of the big studio system, studios try that is all everybody trys for, to get the big distribution, they want to emulate Pixar and Disney and Dream Works and all of those and it is.. it is kind of sad, because that is very limiting, and they are all trying to emulate each other you know, it is… it is kind of incestual in that sense, what I have been finding, that I have been speaking, and going out more internationally, and becoming more aware of the international market and the artists that are out there that are more independent, are more individual, they have their individual styles, that really stand out I think… what always surprises me, when I talk to young people is how badly they want to go to the United States to work on one of those big studios, like Pixar or Disney, or whatever… and I think the sad thing is that they don’t realize that once you get into that studio system, you are forced to do the studio style and your individual creative vision, gets kind of tucked away, you have to put it away and do somebody else’s kind of work So it just depends on how passionate you are about your own creative style, or if you are passionate about, “I just want to work on one of those, I think it would be so much fun” and you are less concerned about puting your own creative style out there I think that is kind of a question that you have to ask yourself When people talk about that Is that answering your question? Yeah, definately and now that you mention, this is something that we have seen for sometime, for example when we see the concept art of “Frozen” Like all the styles are so different from the one in the movie and then we think like, this is so much better, why don’t they do it this way? Why do they have to do all the same? and I get it the marketing the formulas, and all of that… when we see the concept art of the other artists, its like… yeah.. “Oh my gosh, that would be so much better” Yes I hear you *laughs* I can’t tell you how many movies I have worked on where it is like “Oh my gosh if it could only look like that” Yeah, it’s… I think right now, specially in the industry in the United States, that marketing .. Is running the creative decisions, marketing is like, the tail waging the dog.. a little bit, instead of when, we were doing the “Little Mermaid” and “The Beauty and the Beast”, we were doing these movies, and doing it like, “Wouldn’t it be cool to do this one?” “We’ll do it the best way we can, and the way we know how” Then marketing would figured out a way how to market it Now it is the other way around, marketing says: “We want to sell this kind of movie, so make this kind of movie” and it is, I think marketing in the big studios, are just a bunch of lazy people *laughs* You know, because they, they don’t want to market something fresh and new, If I said, “You know what , “I don’t want to direct this kind of movie, I don’t now how to direct that kind of movie, so I want to direct something I already did” You know, I would get fired! *laughs* So ok fine Ill find another director, so its like, why marketing gets away with that? I just don’t know *laughs* They try to get the money coming in, so… I think it is very short sided That is just my opinion definitely on a side like, I understand that marketing side, the numbers, but at the same time I understand the art, I’ve been lucky enough to be on both postions, But again like, for example we see movies like “The secret of Kells” That had just, So much amazing art, the art could sell itself, its so easy Yeah, it is so beautiful You know, and it is because they don’t try hard enough to sell it They make a judgement call, and they don’t even make an effort to try and sell it If we keep going the way marketing is going now, we are not going to have any more that first Star Wars movie, or that E.T. , you know that first thing that is like, “WOW, that is cool, I have never seen something like that before” that will disappear, those kind of movies will be gone, because marketing wants to keep doing the same So we are going to have 153 Star Wars, and we are going to have 62 Frozens, *laughs* people are going to get tired of that Yeah, so this is where I think that the Internet and everything has come into place to show the individual talents But again like, I still feel that the individual talents lack, I don’t know, like the clarity of how to make this project work , and reach all the people that it needs to, what would you say about which are those hidden challenges of independent animation, and movie production? Well I think first off , you have to have Characters that the audience can relate to and a story that works with those characters I think that is the main thing you know You can market the hell out of a movie You know sometimes that ones make really good money but I think, I think that the ones that last, the ones that people will continue to watch over the years are the ones where they relate to the characters, there is a connection heart to heart whether it be through humor, be through emotion, or both or just the look of the film, speaks to you, there’s got be something that touches the audience somehow for it to last you know, there are a lot of films that are flahses in a pan, and you go “Oh it’s record beraking” but then nobody watches it again A year or two later no one cares, but the animated films, are the ones that last, because they usually start when people are young, the children are very young, and watch them, and it just sinks into them but it also touches if a good animated film also touches the parents, and the grown ups who watches it because then, they want to show it again to different people and recommend it to other parents, I think you have to have, something that touches your heart, that makes you really root for the characters and the story And so something that I feel, is really hard about art, and this is why a respect it so much In business you can do certain things that can give you results pretty fast But in art, There is no shortcut to putting all the hours, Into doing the work that you need to do to become a better artist So on that topic, what would be your recommendations, for people who want to become better artists, and how to focus there time, on the day so what would be the recommendations for them? Well it depends upon the type of art they want to do, you know if they want to be an animator, a traditional animator, Go places, where there are lots of people and animals and draw all the time, make sketchbooks, draw every day be disciplined, just draw, draw, draw, draw, draw For stories, I watched, movies a lot, I read books, and then I… Just ever since I can remember make up stories in my head, it is just like a muscle you use I was constantly getting in trouble at school for daydreaming all the time, So just don’t let that go away You know and I still ocaccionally, when someone is talking, I would sort of drift off.. they say something that makes me think of something, *laughs* “Oh I’m sorry” “Can you repeat that please?” So I think it really depends on what art, You are drawn to, what is your art, and then think about how you can strengthen it, do whatever you think you can use to strengthen it, Everyday Even on your days off, you know, because its art, it’s not a 9 to 5 existance when you are an artist, *laughs* Is that, It is sort of a Free form anwser, but is that help or do you want be to be more specific can you be more specific with your question? right now, that one definatley helps I was thinking as well, now that we have all the resources, of the internet, do you know any resources that people can look, to get some practice, or people they can find online, There is, a friend of mine Michael Mattesi Who is at “www.drawingforce.com” But he has several books, about, How to draw a figure, and to , probably I’m saying this wrong but, Gesture drawing on steroids, *laughs* Is kind of you know.. at disney, I went to a class, by Walt Stanchfield and he.. he taught gesture drawing, it was kind of a quick sketch version of life drawing, that you had to capture the mood, the attitude, the whole thing, and worry less about the mechanics of the body but what, the body says, the body language So I think Michael, has taken that approach, even further, That is a great resource right there, and Walt Stanchfield, he has done, they published 2 or 3 of his books, called “Gesture Drawing for Animation” I’m trying to think of it, you caught me of guard, I should have had all these things written out, But I think if you look up, just Pixar artists, online, your are going to find a ton of their blogs, and their work online, that willl lead you to other links, some of them teach classes, some of them show up at festivals, they’ll do workshops that kind of thing, So I would just go online, look up your favorite artist, your favorite studios, your favorite films, and then find the links that get you to the artists that created that stuff, and see if they offer classes, or where they learned how to do it, there is so many threads, it’s like being a little detective trying to find it all, it’s there so.. yeah go for it! Awsome Also, something that I want to ask you more on the professional side of things, Let’s see for example there is quite a lot of good artists here, in our country but, to be very honest, the creative industries here are zero Again, with the internet, we have been able to, and been lucky enough to be born into this era and to tap into lot of opportunities worldwide, But what would be your recommendation for people, who have the talent, who have put the work, how to help them, in finding the opportunities, even if is not in their countries that is tough, it’s hard for me to say, since I’m not in that situation, My instinct would be to find those other people, and it sound like maybe you have already, but bring them together, and try to create a studio, and try to create, a business that can work within your country, but also if it means pulling work internationally, like commercials, or small tv spots, or something on the internet, that would be monetarily feasble but I think animation to me, is such a collaborative effort, so bringing artists together, is just going to make that thing stronger and it might actually grow, it might just be the seed, to grow, to bring everybody together, and if they have a passion, to do that, I know there is… there is a company in south africa, that sort of had the same problem, but then a bunch of artists, got together and they setup this co-op, and they do work together they have a lot of the corporate films, and commercials, and short films, and tv they grew, so I mean they are still small but they are doing what they love to do so.. It’s hard for me to say, I’m in a country where you know there is a big industry, *laughs* I’m not really the one to ask for advice on that, It is still helpful to have the wisdom of people in different positions than ours that can gives us a little bit of inside on that Let me see, what are you favorite animated films of all time? Ughh *laughs* that is so hard! Well I love the old Disney films, I love “Lady & the Tramp”, and “Dumbo” and “Pinocchio” all of those, those are my favorites, but So the one that really touched me that was aside from the norm was “The Man who planted Trees” Have you ever seen that one? Its by a French-Canadian animator No I haven’t, but I will after this *laughs* I’m sorry? I will after this ok after this interview I’m going to watch it It’s beautiful, and it is all done with the, prismacolor pencils fully rendered, just beautiful, just absolutely astonishing, and one man did the whole thing It’s a short film, but it’s a piece of art, you know, a living piece of art, but it is also a very.. I connect with the characters and I was drawn in by the story, and it was beautiful, yes I highly recommend watching that I just remembered, from the way you told me that it was done It reminded me of “The Dam Keeper” by Robert Kondo Yes! And I was so in to the film, and then I found out that like, Every frame was a painting, and I was like DAM! *laughs* It just blew my whole respect into that Yeah It’s crazy, that is a beautiful film Beautiful film Once you find out that this was all paintings every frame, for me it just It had completely my respect Yeah they are incredible artists, they are… Yeah, I’m amazed that they did that and managed to get it out there and what would be your favorite method of animation? Oh, I love traditional animation, I still I miss it very much I see you know, the strength of CG, you don’t have to worry about the clean-up lines being perfect and You don’t have this things where you are going “Oh no, look its wobbling” *laughs* You know, it is what it is, But, there is something to me All the imperfections, in a traditional film, and the way they are animated have tactile feel of of pencil to paper, and being able to do things spontaneously, I don’t know, but I just think it is beautiful That is my favorite it’s tarditional Awsome Let’s see There was an Intertview I made with Fred Seibert Fred Seibert Oh yeah, he recommended all the team talents to to do like really short films, like one minute films a lot of animations to get better Would you recommend to do the same as a challenge or something like that Yes Absolutely, because It’s really going to make you appreciate every aspect of creating one of these films You have to Art Direct it, you have to practically design characters, you have to cast, you have to do all of that on top of whatever that things that you just really love to do, so Yeah, it’s a huge education to put one of those get one of those done, and now because of all the technology, you can do a finished looking film back in my day, when I was at Calarts, it was a pencil test, Layers of paper, you could see it through the characters *laughs* It was hard But, Yeah I think that is a great Idea Everyone should *laughs* Is there any personal challenge that you would like to give? for the artists that are going to be watching this interview oh, I would challenge, not only doing the minute film, I would challenge doing A storyboard That has, At least to characters that come at each other from two different points of view but that end up end up working it out somehow in the end where they accept each others point of view, or they Just, somehow, working those characters, where they do a dance around trying to figure out how to, how to accept each other Because it is really important, human nature Is in everything we do, because we are humans So whether those to characters are humans, or whether they are animals, or whether they are plants or space creatures or whatever Everything we create is going to have some human nature in it so two opposing view points coming together and creating something bigger than the two of them that is what I challenge, someone to do whether they make that into a film, I don’t care, just storyboard and make that *laughs* We will take you on, on that challenge ok An we will let you know as soon as we have it finished Since you are like a great writer, and we have the opportunity to do this I found like lately there have been a lot of artists, who are coming up who didn’t have maybe the best skills but they had a great story and that is why people love that, even if the drawings weren’t perfect, or even ugly What would be your Your recommendations into first, creating a great story and second becoming a story maker I’m not sure I understood the question could you please repeat that? *laughs* The first thing would be what would be your recommendations on how to create a great story? history or story? yes, the history of the film? ok the story of the film, you mean yeah ok Like I said I think you have to have characters that the audience can relate to, you have to have a good guy and a bad guy and the bad guy dose not have to be another another character, it can be the elements It can be an object, you know but, for a film You just have to have something that the audience can relate to so there has to be a sense of reality in there somewhere, something real that they can grab on to as long as there is something real you can have the most fantastical story ever but there has to be something real, and that is usually the relationships between the characters you need to have a good theme I strongly believe in that that you can hang your hat on, it’s like the close line, it is like the the rope in the snowstorm that you hang on to you are making the…. you don’t know about snowstorms, so *laughs* It’s, if you are having trouble on a story and you try to take a left turn and it is the wrong turn you can go back to that rope of the theme Is it serving my theme Like, “Beauty and the Beast”, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, So everything that happened in that film came back to “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” and so It’s you know “The truth will set you free” or “Be careful what you wish for it may come true” That kind of thing, You just have to find that thing that that drives your main character, and drives your plot and I think that will give you a solid cohesive film that you can then add on all the bells and whistles you want to as long as it has that core Awsome and also how can somebody become better at creating stories at what? at creating stories ok, what would be the practice form the challenges you would give somebody Hey, do this everyday, and you will become better at creating stories boy, that is a tough one because it is different for everyone I would say watch the movies that are the most memorable, your favorite movies you know, watch maybe a movie a day or read a book, or whatever that story that speaks to you is, an dissect it look at it and say what about he main character, what is their journey follow their journey in that, and all of the things that, where do their turning points happen you know look at another character Like the villain, or just the side character and how does that journey support our main character and you know what visuals do they use to support that story?, and how did they use the camera? You will soon learn, that everything revolves around, the story and the main character you have to keep going back to that, you can have all these funny stuff that goes off on the side but if you don’t have a really strong main character and story So I would say look at films and dissect them Just go through and make notes about what you like about them go through and plot it out what is the first act, whats the second act, what is the third act, and how did that.. change, and go through that So a movie, one movie may take you a week or so, to really dissect it yeah choose a movie and however long it takes you describe each character figure out what the theme of the film is, plot it out, first act, second act, third act, what that is, and all of that is going to just make that muscle, that story muscule in your head, *laughs* keep, keep going great! also if you had to start from Zero and you had all your knowledge all the experience that you have let say you wake up in a different dimension and nobody knows you, and you want to get back into the industry, and you have all the knowledge and all the resources that we have now what would you do? Would I come back into the industry, or would I or well first, would you come back into the industry or would yo go independent? and, depending on that what would you do? Wow, that’s a big question *laughs* what would I do? well wow I think that I would just maybe take the same path I took, but avoid some of the problems that I had *laughs* Yeah, I would take the same path I’m in a good place where I’m at I would just go and do it all over again I think I might invest in apple early on *laughs* but if you where on the present time, with all the resources that we have now what would you take advantage of I’m not sure how to answer that, I feel like, I’m doing that now I feel like I have all my resources, I’ve had a lot of experience under my belt I’m trying to that now, I’m starting my own company so Nice also what would be a an advice you would give to creator now, and to artists that you don’t think is talked about a lot I would say, there is a lot of talk about creativity and your creative freedom or your own vision, or you want to make your own story, or you want to take your own story to get to a studio, get your story big up on screen, I just say beware and protect yourself, protect your property, protect your own ideas I will just give my example “Brave”, was my idea my baby, and it belongs to Pixar, and I don’t get anything for it, It is all Pixar Disney now, and so, I’m thrilled that it is out there, I’m thrilled that so many people are getting so much out of it but at the same time, it is a little a little, sort of hard to watch someone make you know, millions of millions of millions of dollars from it, billions eventually, and not have a share on that at all and I’m not a greedy person, it is just, a little hard So I would say, protect yourself You know, if you really have a great Idea, and you want to do it and you want a studio to do it put it in a form first, turn it into a book, self publish, a little book because that way the will have to buy it from you Because when you walk into a studio and you start working for them, you sign away all your creative wrights, to everything you think of, while you are working at that studio So… Right down all the stuff that you thought of before you work on one of those studios that are called carve outs and you write down all the ideas, in one or two sentences all the ideas you have and those are mine and you can say that, you say “You can’t have these, because I thought of them before I started working there” That is one way to do it and the other way is to make them before you get there, with the idea so it is not just the script, but it is a published book or something like that Just be aware that big business is trying to just take from you they will, if you let them so… you just have to protect yourself look into how you can have the wrights to your own work Awsome that is a really practical a good advice that we are definately going to take Just in case I think we want to fight the battle and be independent but we don’t know where there had been so many things that we didn’t even think that we were going to do like two months ago that we don’t know where this is going to take us So yeah that’s good fight the battle Yes, and what would be an advice you would like to give, or anything else you want to touch? I would say, be respectful to the other artists be collaborative don’t try to bully someone into your own ideas, listen to other people ideas, that is the whole part of the animation collaborative process You know I’m good on what I do but I know there is always someone out there that is going to have a better idea, there will going to bet people with worse ideas, but, how are you going to know if they are better or worse if you don’t bother to listen to them So I would say, Be open, don’t ridicule people for giving a bad idea, because often bad ideas can spark really great ideas, So be open to collaboration and support each other You know if you are really determined to get your own way, do it, but do it in a way that isn’t going to take someone else down to do it I don’t believe in In walking over people to get to the top, I believe in walking with people makes you stronger on that topic Even when we try to be open, and do that, honestly there are some moments when you will face let’s say problematic people how do you recommend to to deal with those with those type of people when that moments arrive like you are trying to do things right Yeah, I well you know, I always, if someone brings up something that is, I know, doesn’t work for the film, as a Director You are the one fielding all of the ideas coming in and I always listen and Im like great, if that is better then we will see ho we can work that in, if it doesn’t work, I take the time, to explain to them why it doesn’t work most of the time that works fine and they get it but if they are problematic, and they are really stubborn and they wont do it you just have to say “I’m sorry but that just doesn’t work and you can’t there is a point where you just have to say sorry we can’t do it that way, we are going to be doing it this way and I repeat again why and I keep moving and then is up to them whether they want to join Join in, and be part of it, or if they want to make themselves miserable and be mad and go away that is their issue but you haven’t done anything to stomp on them, it is just that, you give your reason and you move on and hopefully they will move on with you, as oppose to away from you