Friday, 21 October 2016

The Story Design Conference 2016!

From September 28th - October 2nd myself and Anthony attended the Story Design Conference in Rome, Italy. Presented by professionals Chris Oatley, Brian McDonald, Jen Ely and Claire Keane, we were able to listen, learn and chat to each individual. Admittedly, I havent been apart of the Oatley community for very long but the conference was deliberately only 150 strong attendees  and this was great, making it easier to talk to other folks, look at their work and understand what part of the industry they were interested in.

The atmosphere was amazing! Everyone was constantly scrooling down every speck of advice given and reading/watching recommendations mentioned. We got to see a live painting demo from Jen Ely, discussing the struggles of making your art as an income and a soft pastel portrait demo from Claire Keane, telling her path to Disney and how to juggle the work and family life healthily.

Brian McDonald was very passionate and informative with the topics he shared, giving lectures in different areas of storytelling aspects, story structure and how unexpected jobs might find you and how you might discover a new love for the different role. Chris Oatley (the host) led varying discussions on colour theory, composition, 'finding the magic', and how to tell a story through one image.

By the end of the conference my brain was very achey but also enlightened! The questions proposed to us have had me thinking even now after the event and have helped me understand what I actually want to do, rather than convincing myself what I want. I would recommend the podcasts again and Brian McDonald has his own book on film theory and storytelling in film - 'Invisible Ink'.
Other books that were mentioned for some reasons I can't remember are below:

Books -

Picture This: How Pictures Work - Molly Bang
Invisible Ink - Brian McDonald
Framed Ink - Marcos Mateu-Mestre
The Golden Theme - Brian McDonald

A book that wasn't mentioned but we find great is : Movement and Form: The Youssef Drawing Syllabus - Samantha Youseff. Its a life drawing book for animators.

Videos/Lesson/Lectures - 

The Long Game - Adam Westbrook
Jim Hensons Storyteller
The Desert Island Discs

Artists/Animators/Authors/Directors -

Freddy Moore (search Freddy Moore Disney)
Ryan Carlson
Jon Klassen
Lou Ramano
Wes Aderson
Norman Rockwell
Chuck Jones
Joe Sorin
Wayne Tebow
Howard Pyle
Franklin Booth
Arthur Rackham
Windsor Mccay
Charley Harper
Sherman Alexie
Glen Vilppu
Richard Schmid
Rowena Reed Kostellow
Mary Blair
Bruce Block
Ryan Green ( Search Ryan Green Story Artist )

I'm aware that some people are going to Rome next February here are some restaurants we visited which were tasty ( warning some don't speak English or have a translated menu, it was very difficult to find a restaurant suited for large groups, you want to get in early too, the doors open about 7 and most of them will have ques out the door by half 8)

- Sora Lucia (pasta)
- Trattoria Melo (pasta - great bruschetta and carbonara)
- La Carbonara (pasta - great Amatriciana)
- Luzzi (cheap pizza)
- Li Rioni (cheap pizza - great buffalo mozzarela and sausage pizza)

We would also recommend visiting as many different cathedrals and churches as you can, we really liked the Church of Illusions, very beautiful art inside.


  1. Hi Rosie - I'm glad you both had a good time. Thanks for sharing your findings too. I'm glad to see that Jim Henson's Storyteller is still getting a mention (I grew up watching that). And yes I'm sure the resturant advice will come in handy.

    1. Hi Alan! As soon as I heard Jim Hensons name I lit up, I'm definitely going to watch it if I can find it online somewhere, I love the dark crystal.