Warren Sparks A Conversation

by admin

September 4, 2013 kicked off the SPARK Animation festival which was held in Vancouver, Canada. SPARK’s three-day conference brought together a wide variety of studios to share their extraordinary and unique work behind the scenes. Some of the larger studios included were Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, Laika and Blue Sky.

Our very own Warren Leonhardt was invited to speak at the conference and talk about developing the story and ensemble cast in EPIC. His talk included examples from story, design and animation.

We asked Warren a couple of questions about his overall experience at SPARK and here is what he had to say…


How did you prepare For this event?

A lot of conference calls with marketing, and pilfering ideas from the sharp animators on Epic, then collating all that stuff with Deb Stone, who pretty much saved my butt and made it all make sense - and then I practiced my flop sweat face. I've never done a talk before, so as usual I fully expected to blow it.

What is the biggest message you wanted to stress to your audience?

That Blue Sky Studios is a place where all departments can contribute meaningfully to the story on each movie we make. Good ideas can, and do, come from anywhere or anyone in this place and the directors have their minds open.


What was one of your biggest take aways after attending Spark?

That there are a hundred different ways to be professionally and artistically satisfied while working in animation. None of them are easy, but all options are possible, and feature animation is part of a much larger range of options.


Does traveling and attending the event effect your work in any way?

Absolutely. It's great to talk to other artists and get a sense of how they work.

Any last words? 

Spark was a really great experience - there was a wide range of truly talented people working on a diverse set of projects - people from DreamWorks, Laika, Pixar, Disney, Blue Sky, and more unique projects like the talented brothers at Vishus Productions' whom had a project called 'Peleda', and a wide gamut of Canadian & French independent filmmakers like Marv Newland, Jeff Chiba Stearns, Marc Boreal and Jean Regnaud. The whole vibe was really friendly and relaxed, even though the talent level was extremely high. I definitely recommend going to Spark Fest if you ever get a chance.

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