A few days before the Academy Awards, Andrew and I did what we always do and attended the animation symposium at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences in Beverly Hills. Several events take place throughout the week featuring categories like costume design and foreign films, and are a chance to dive deeper into the stories behind the films with the directors, writers, and producers. Essentially, it's a creative well of inspiration.
This year, one comment in particular stood out. Actually, directors from two different films mentioned loving both the importance of, and the absolute necessity of loving the story. In this way, a feature-length animated film is no different than a book, a video game, or even a blog. Each endeavor is a long-term investment body, mind, and spirit, and because of that the projects by their very nature become deeply personal.
Dean DeBlois, director and writer for How to Train Your Dragon 2, lost his father at 19, a similar age as the film's young protagonist, Hiccup. DeBlois wrote the film's funeral scene to capture what he wished he had the clarity to say all those years ago but didn't. It made me tear up. The work we do is personal. It means something to us, and I think we all operate with the great hope that one day our story will expand to resonate with others. That's when our work becomes transformative, living with the wings we hope to give it when we're deep in the trenches.
So keep going. Keep creating. Keep doing what matters. That was the message.
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