Story Structure for Programmers, Game Designers and Artists

Friday, 30 November 09:00-10:45 | Topaz 220

This course has been designed for technical directors, artists, animators, modelers, programmers, and designers who’s work is essential in making “the story” come to life in movies, animation, VFX, and games. This information is particularly useful when communicating with screenwriters, directors, producers, and supervisors. This course answers the question “what is story?” (and you don’t even have to take a course in screenwriting). Entertaining with numerous clips to show how story elements have been used in Animation, Games, VFX etc. The purpose of this course is to take the mystery out of “what is story” for those programmers, artists, and game designers who’s work is essential in making Animation, VFX, and Games successful. The attendees will know the basic elements of story, so the next time a producer or director talk about what they want for the story, the attendees will know what specific story benchmarks the producer/director must achieve to connect emotionally with an audience. This course will build from the knowledge that story “is a sequence of connected events (acts) that builds to a climax….” and lays out the universal elements of story that make up plot, character development, and narrative structure. This course emphasizes classic story elements in context (i.e theme, character, setting, conflict etc.) and their relationship to classic story structure (i.e. setup, inciting incident, rising action, climax, resolution etc). It analyzes conflict (i.e. internal, external, environmental), turning points, cause & effect, archetype vs stereotypes, inciting incident, and how choice defines character. This course is for all who’s work make the movie, game, or animation look and feel fantastic but their job isn’t necessarily creating the story.


Intended Audience
Professionals and students who want a solid understanding of the fundamentals of story structure for creating content for animated films, effects, transmedia, and video games. This presentation contains numerous visuals (i.e. animation/VFX clips and illustrations).

It is anticipated that attendees will have seen animated films, VFX movies, or cinematics in video games.

Craig Caldwell, University of Utah

Craig Caldwell, DeTao Master Academy, Institute for Animation and Creative Content, Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts, China; and USTAR (Utah Science Technology and Research) Professor, University of Utah, USA. Industry experience: 3D Technology Specialist, Walt Disney Feature Animation in Burbank, CA (i.e. Tarzan, Dinosaur, Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons etc.) and Electronic Arts. Academic background includes Head of the largest Film School in Australia at Griffith University, Brisbane; and Head of the Media Arts Department, University of Arizona, Tucson. Presented at conferences such as SIGGRAPH, View Conference, Mundos Digitales and FMX2012.