72 minutes | Nov 6, 2018

S2 EP5: Designing for Stillness and Genius in Film, Video Games — with Mark Osborne & Tracy Fullerton

Perhaps you want to bring more magic into the world in the form of an animated film or video game. Inevitably, such a significant undertaking will face big challenges. What gives filmmakers and game designers the drive to persist over the years it takes to complete such substantial projects—when there is no guarantee or reward or recognition? Today, Jeffrey goes behind-the-scenes of wonder-making with filmmaker, animator, director and producer Mark Osborne, whose film The Little Prince received France’s prestigious César Award for Best Animated Film, and game designer, educator and Game Design Workshop author Tracy Fullerton, who serves as Director of the USC Games Program and Professor and Chair of the Interactive Media & Games Division of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Mark and Tracy explore the collaborative nature of the work they do, explaining how their respective teams foster curiosity and generate unexpected ideas via play, affording special attention to craft and detail along the way. Mark describes his commitment to doing justice to The Little Prince, and Tracy offers insight around the personal connection her ‘book club’ developed with the award-winning Walden, a game. Tracy and Mark share their favorite elements of wonder in The Little Prince and Walden, discussing the painstaking effort involved in taking our breath away. Listen in to understand how their work brings Thoreau and Saint-Exupéry’s themes into the 21st century and learn how to keep your own team inspired and agile by way of an open, inclusive work culture. Key Takeaways [6:14] Young Mark and Tracy at their best Mark living in Star Wars fantasy world, exploring arts Tracy making contraptions/clubhouses in dad’s workshop [9:33] How Tracy’s young genius informs her work now Put together teams, ‘free to be ourselves’ Curiosity of kids pushing new frontiers [13:44] The collaborative nature of animation Work in arts requires ability to think and act like kids Unexpected ideas emerge from working in teams [16:52] Mark’s inspiration for the frame story in The Little Prince Creative riddle to celebrate power of book Idea to use stop-motion for book, CG for larger story [22:05] The concept behind the Walden video game Translation of book (i.e.: activities Thoreau experienced) Virtual simulation of woods becomes character in itself Parallels between issues of Thoreau’s time and today [27:24] The personal connection Tracy’s team had to Walden Started as ‘book club’ with no prospect of funding Met weekly, paper prototypes early on [30:10] The challenges Mark faced in creating The Little Prince Pressure to do justice to book, team had to care Daily crises and decisions based on guesswork [42:18] The universal themes of The Little Prince Parenting as balance between aviator, mother ‘Life raft in poisonous world’ [46:25] How Walden applies in the 21st century Care and concern for environment, climate change Thoreau as activist with concern for issues of time Divisive conflict baked into daily experience [48:56] Mark’s favorite element of wonder in The Little Prince Called on colleague for hand-made techniques Discover right ‘chemistry of elements’ for stop-motion [52:33] Tracy’s favorite element of wonder in Walden Dynamic system (light, wind, colors change with seasons) Shift of colors and music based on relationship with nature [57:06] How to create openness and inclusiveness on teams Reason to care about what making (i.e.: believe again) Afford ownership of portion of process [1:02:14] What Tracy and Mark are pursuing in the coming year Tracy taking Walden to classrooms Mark devoting focus to new project Connect with Mark Happy Product, Inc. Happy Product on Vimeo Happy Product on YouTube The Little Prince Connect with Tracy Tracy Fullerton USC Game Innovation Lab Walden, a game Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games by Tracy Fullerton Resources The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Walden by Henry David Thoreau Walden for Educators Tracking Wonder S1EP06 Tracking Wonder S2EP03 “How ‘The Little Prince’ Director Pitched Investors with His Magic Suitcase” in The Frame Jamie Caliri on Vimeo The Unmistakable Creative Podcast An Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for Its Own Sake by Srinivas Rao SCRAMBLE: How Agile Strategy Can Build Epic Brands in Record Time by Marty Neumeier Brand Artistry Labs
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