In animation, story artists get to take part in the earliest stages of development and in doing so get to have a, "look behind the curtain" and let me tell you, it's scary!
It really is like Dorothy pulling back the drape to discover that the giant floating head of the Wizard of Oz is just an illusion being fabricated by an insecure, frightened little man.
Now, I'm not saying that every filmmaker that I've worked with is like that, not by a long shot, but getting that look behind the curtain gives you a perspective on the filmmaking process that is stunningly revelatory.
The clashing of personalities, of studio politics, of creative visions all are exposed and raw. Some people handle it extremely well, others not so much. But the insecurities and indecision are spread all around, from creative leadership, studio leadership, producers, etc. It all varies by show.
Sometimes you have the best director who is surrounded by dunces, sometimes you have a clueless director surrounded by people just allowing them to eventually hang themselves and sometimes the inmates are running the asylum and you feel like Leonardo DiCaprio's character in Shutter Island just looking for a way to swim back to shore.
Feature Animation is a world where art and business crash together in the hopes of making something timely and timeless at the same time. (;^D
One project I worked on that has since been canceled was based on the RAMAYANA, which is an ancient poem that is the mythological basis of the Hindu religion.
Animation artist, Sanjay Patel created a stunning book retelling the tale. Here are a few of the images from his book:
These are just to give a flavor of the story, we were NOT using his style or interpretation for the musical we were developing, but I just love his illustrations so much I figured I'd throw some in.
So, with that in mind, here are some random boards from our comedic retelling of the tale, set in a modern day India with a Bollywood musical tone.