USC Cinematic Arts

The first and principle ‘world builder’ on any film is the writer.  The world of a film is built first in the mind and on the page – and how well the writers conceives and describe these worlds informs how well the production functions thereafter.  Then comes the process of building the inner world of living characters – is it the actor or the animator’s job?

‘Borat’ and Alan Partridge screenwriter Peter Baynham, whose animated films include Hotel Transylvania and Arthur Christmas, talks with his co-writer about what comes first, world, story or character; Cloudy 2’s director talks about building story in a sequel; while ILM’s John Knoll describes how actors informed the creative process in Rango.  Does an actor-based live action approach enrich or diminish animation?


  • Panelist:
    Pete Bayhnam
  • Panelist:
    Sarah Smith
    CEO/Creative Director, Locksmith Animation
  • Panelist:
    Kris Pearn
    Director and Animation Story Artist
  • Panelist:
    John Knoll
    Chief Creative Officer / Senior Visual Effects Supervisor, Industrial Light & Magic