Larsen calls on students to 'pour your heart into your work'
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Humorous and edgy, Larsen shared his insights and experiences in the fast-paced world of television and movie production, and gave audience members a sneak peek into his latest project, Disney Pixar’s “Brave,” which premieres next month.
Larsen, the story supervisor for “Brave,” said his team traveled to Scotland to research “Brave,” which tells the story of a fiery young heroine Merida, an archer who rebels against tradition in medieval Scotland. Larsen detailed the years-long journey from page to screen - from copious research and creating a story outline of core ideas, to storyboarding and continuously pitching ideas to the director.
“It takes a lot of people to make a movie like this - any movie, really,” said Larsen. “You have to really pour your heart into this stuff.”
For “Brave,” his team created an astounding 111,394 storyboards, he said. He compared that with 80,057 for Disney Pixar’s “Cars 2.”
“We show the whole film as best we can every three months to the studio, and sometimes we get a ‘thumbs up’ and sometimes we get a ‘thumbs down,’” said Larsen. “Your work is never really precious. You have to learn to let go of it, and know that you’re always working for the greater good of the film.”
A lively Q&A session with audience members followed Larsen’s presentation, which was held on Friday, April 27. Students from The Art Institute of Boston (AIB) and other area art schools leaped at the chance to pick Larsen’s brain for advice and wisdom as they embark on careers as professional animators and illustrators.
“I cut my teeth on just having to come up with ideas,” Larsen recalled. “Keep your mind going. You’ve got to keep your mind going really, really fast.”
Larsen reflected on his journey that laid the groundwork for a career at Pixar, where he started in 2005. Before that, he worked on various animated television series such as “Samurai Jack,” and for the animated science-fiction film, “The Iron Giant.”
“Keep doing your craft. Keep going. Do your forklift job during the day, and then come home and do your art,” Larsen urged. “Keep pounding the pavement. Form a community. YouTube is f-ing phenomenal - put all your work up.
“Even on the bad stuff, you will learn. You could be working on a Crest commercial, but put your heart into it no matter what.”
During his visit to AIB, Larsen was introduced by Stan Trecker, Dean of AIB, and Brandon Strathmann, interim chair of the Animation Department at AIB.
“We’re very proud of our Animation and Illustration programs at AIB,” said Trecker, “and it’s just a treat to celebrate that and also have you hear about this new movie.”
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