Ryan Woodward’s YouTube video, “Thought of You,” was a big hit at Salt Lake Community College last week. This abstract presentation of a male and female dancer gives each person watching a unique insight on its meaning. Students numbering over 200 filled the Student Event Center of the Taylorsville Redwood Campus to witness and understand Woodward’s storyboard artistic ability.
After going to school at the formerly known Ricks College (now BYU Idaho) Woodward moved to California to pursue his animation aspirations at Warner Brothers Inc. He worked on films for seven years. Some films include Space Jam, Quest for Camelot, The Iron Giant, and Osmosis Jones – the last being one of his personal favorites.
“Early meetings were about how snot moves,” he said.
Woodward mentioned how Toy Story changed the way animation is viewed. Some animators jumped on the bandwagon and started their careers as 3-D artists, while other stayed with the more traditional approach of 2-D drawings.
“I learned that I like the 3-D, but I liked storyboard better, the hands-on stuff,” Woodward said.
One of Woodward’s most recent storyboards is from the new movie Cowboys and Aliens. He drew the entire storyline, presented ideas to the director on how to film the individual scenes.
Students asked many questions about Woodward’s experiences and knowledge in the film industry.
One student asked, “How do you know what camera angles to use? Woodward answered by saying “You let the scene cook in your head for one or two days before drawing anything. I let my brain play out the scene in my head,” he explained. “The process is really fun, and very difficult. It all comes down to what feels right or what’s too much.”
When asked if there were any directors he gained inspiration from Woodward responded, “Yes. I put them in the bank of ideas and use them for other ideas. Every director has a unique job of giving direction and feedback. But learn not to be attached to your artwork, because it may not fit. That’s the nature of the beast.”
Woodward also worked on the Spider-Man 2 and 3. He showed storyboard that he created with sound and graphics to really give his audience the idea of his day-to-day work. Although his ideas are not always used or observed by the directors of the movies, Woodward draws to help them visualize the image they are trying to capture.
“The camera can tell the story, just like the characters or the plot,” Woodward said.
“I learned it on the job, but you should know your cinematography and movie language. That’s how directors will talk to you,” Woodward said when asked about how he knew the different camera lenses.
A student asked about the time frame Woodward had in the drawing process. “It varies,” he said. “But in animation it could be up to 50 to 60 drawings a day. In advertising though, you may only have one drawing.”
Woodward left this counsel to SLCC students – “Don’t let your formal education be the end of learning experience. All the skills you have will come in handy someday. Continuing your skills, satisfies your creative juices, or you’ll get run down from just doing the stuff you’re told to do. It keeps things exciting. Do it because you love it.”
To take a look at Ryan Woodward’s “Thought of You” YouTube video visit youtube.com/watch?v=OBk3ynRbtsw.