2009 Jilin International Animation, Comics & Games Forum

- September 19th, 2009 -

Animation Options President & CEO Kevin Geiger spoke on the subject of original animation content creation and story development as a guest of the Jilin International Animation, Comics & Games Forum, held from September 14th -17th, 2009.

Kevin Geiger speaks on the subject of story development.

The importance of original content creation and story development was a topic of keen focus at the prestigious 4-day event, which featured candid assessments of the current state of the Chinese animation industry from foreign guests and government officials alike.

Ding Wei, Assistant Minister of China's Ministry of Culture, gave a frank critique of the rapid proliferation of animation bases, the need for original IP development with greater entertainment value, better animation production and management skills, proper attention to marketing and distribution, and a more effective approach to China's rampant piracy problem.

"Kung Fu Panda" Director Mark Osborne set the tone of the forum during his keynote address in which he outlined his "Five Strategies For Creative Investment", which "cost nothing, yet reap great rewards":

  1. Make something that you would want to see.
  2. Trust your artists.
  3. Make your story a personal one.
  4. Set out to make something new.
  5. Tell a great story.

However, as Mr. Osborne cautioned, these guidelines cannot take the place of a deep-seated, compelling need to tell a personal story that audiences can relate to: "You can't create by the numbers. You have to create from the heart." Osborne's parting exhortation to the appreciative audience was to "Tell the truth. Universal truths can cross cultural boundaries."

Mark Osborne's keynote address was complemented by the presentation of his brother, Kent Osborne, whose "Writing In Animation" lecture examined the creative story development process of TV animation in the United States. Among the many distinguished speakers from around the world, Bill Dennis, Rolf Giesen and Barry Plews weighed in on the respective topics of "Developing Indigenous Content for Animated Films", "Developing Cross-Cultural Content & Cross-Media Distribution for Animation", and "Taking a New Approach to Animation Development in China".

Animation Options' Kevin Geiger presented a condensed version of his popular lecture/seminar "What's Your Story?", in which he outlined the importance of compelling characters, resonant stories, and effective narrative structures.

These and other topics touched upon in dozens of presentations over four full days left the attendees and their hosts with much food for discussion and thought, and the candor of the conference discourse bodes well for the future of the Chinese animation industry.

The main conference hall.

Kevin with his childhood comic creator hero, Michael Golden.

With Ron Diamond of AWN and Acme Filmworks.

Legendary computer graphics artist Yoichiro Kawaguchi.

Disney alumni club: Isaac Kerlow, Bill Dennis and Kevin Geiger.

Signing a girl.

Closing ceremony and farewell dinner.

Kevin & the Osbornes: Kent and Mark.

Mark Osborne being feted on his birthday.

A musical dinner performance.

Little show stealers at the farewell performance extravaganza.

The performers bring down the house

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