What We Talk About, When We Talk About Story [Short Course]

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Date/Time: 06 – 17 December 2021
All presentations are available in the virtual platform on-demand.

Craig Caldwell, University of Utah; Shanghai Institute of Visual Art, DeTao IACC, China
Craig Caldwell, (Ph.D. ACCAD OSU), USTAR Professor, Digital Media Cluster, University of Utah. A founder of the ranked UofU Entertainment Arts & Engineering game program. DeTao Master, Institute of Animation and Creative Content, SIVA Campus, Shanghai, China. Industry work experience includes Electronic Arts and Walt Disney Feature Animation. Academic background includes Head of Australia's largest Film School at Griffith University; and Chair, Media Arts Department, University of Arizona. Author of the book "Story Structure and Development – A Guide for Animators, VFX Artists, Game Designers, and Virtual Reality"; published 2017, CRC Publishers.

Description: With our ever-expanding consumption of content online, there is not only the need for the latest technical solutions but also creative narrative solutions. Content/Story solutions are not just the responsibility of directors and writers anymore but increasingly fall on the shoulders of technical directors, animators, VFX creators, game designers, and XR computing engineers whose work is essential in making “the content” come to life. This course provides the core concepts of "story"… and you do not even have to take a course in scriptwriting. It covers how conflict, plot, character, and setting interact, as well as the tradeoffs when emphasizing one more than another. Attendees will take away an understanding of universal narrative structure (i.e., setup, inciting incident, rising action, crisis, climax, resolution, etc.). Understanding will include how stories are developed. As well as the ability to evaluate levels of conflict (i.e., internal, external, environmental), turning points, cause & effect, archetype vs. stereotype, inciting incident, and how choice defines character. In all stories, there are narrative questions that must be answered - What is at stake (i.e., survival, safety, love, esteem, etc.)? What motivates the main character (protagonist) to take action? Will that incident move them from their ordinary life (where they are comfortable) to a different world (where the action occurs)? What “changes” (setting or character) are necessary for the content to engage the audience/player dramatically? This course uses extensive visual clips to demonstrate how story concepts have been implemented in recent movies, games, and XR. At the end of the course, attendees will be familiar with universal story concepts and the specific benchmarks directors and writers use in connecting emotionally with audiences, players, and immersive participants.