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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 13 February 2009
Story is king.

I've that idea drilled into me after watching the behind-the-scenes documentaries and audio commentary from Pixar movies. I even make mp3 audio files out of the DVDs just to listen to the story!

I'm reading this book just to learn more about story structure, to understand what makes a good story. As the title suggest, it's targeted at making animated short films. Most of the story principles work for feature length film as well, as shown through the multiple examples in the book.

Chapter 1 talks on the core elements that must exist in a story. It also introduces the basic structure of a story.

Chapter 2 is on building content for the story, different ways at looking at the stories, and places to start from when searching for ideas.

Chapter 3 is on exploring human emotions and motivations, and how these can be used to create a believable character people can relate to.

Chapter 4 is on character and set design. There are tips on creating character profiles, designing appealing characters, building functional location sets.

Chapter 5 talks specifically on building a story using the story structure introduced. There are techniques in creating conflict between characters and understanding endings.

Chapter 6 explains the role dialogue plays, and how to use it in the story effectively.

Chapter 7 and 8 are on storyboarding and staging. There are tips on camera moves, pacing, composition and many other production techniques.

Every chapter comes with a lot of examples to emphasis the lesson points. And all these lesson points always go back to building that better story. At the end is always an interview with someone in the animation industry relating back to the chapter's subject.

After reading this book, it made me appreciate animated movies even more. Story is king. Audience can never forgive a lousy story, even if the film is lavished with state of the art visual eye candies. Story is the only thing that separates the good from the great.

The write up isn't too technical. It explains how storytelling works to people not in the industry. This book is more than highly recommended, I'll say it's essential for anyone into creating animation.

Check out my Amazon profile for other reviews.
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on 9 June 2010
I bought this book based in the existing reviews, as well as quite liking the friendly looking cover.
I have read the whole book and i have learned so much from it. It is very easy to read, aimed at the individual animator, in particular at students. In each chapter there are some fantastic ideas as well as some activities to get you thinking, and I learned lots of tips and tricks that are really useful for building good animations. Telling the difference between a good or a dud idea becomes more clear when you follow this book. one of my favourite passages is the interview with Andrew jimenez from pixar. I quote:

"It's a strange analogy to make, but a good short film is like a good joke. It has a great setup, gets to the point, and pays off right away. And it doesnt demand too much in terms of where the story has to go. It gets to the idea right away. you get it. Even if it takes you somewhere different from what you expected, it gets there right away too. It's just very simple. And its about one idea."

"If im telling a joke, every beat of the story has to be right on the spot. In feature film i can wander a little bit, lose you a little bit, i have time to get you back, but in the short film, if i lose you, there is no time to get you back. in the short film, if i go one beat too long, i can ruin it"
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on 7 May 2013
If you are looking for ideas for the animated short, this "Ideas for the Animated short" book is just for you. It is very well written and presented with tons of original and useful information you are not likely to find anywhere else. Thoroughly enjoyed and became inspired to create my own animation after reading it.
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on 12 July 2016
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on 15 March 2010
I haven't read through the whole book yet, but the parts I have read through are very well written. The interviews with professional animators & artists really add to the book, it's interesting to see the big animation houses struggle with the same technical & writing issues that all we animators & artists often struggle with in small productions.

I'll do a more thorough review when I've read the rest of the book, but so far I can give 5 stars since it covers what is mentioned on the title and goes that little bit further breaking down feature films and the short films included and showing you, the viewer how stories are constructed and the key aspects that make them entertaining and enjoyable to watch.
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on 6 February 2011
Great book I learnt sooooooo much and the examples on the CD are a great supplement to what was in the book. Someone really thought this book/cd combo through.
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on 22 September 2010
Good book, but discovered that the DVD doesnt load on my mac, so a pointless purchase for me as I needed to see the animation examples
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