In the last part of a 2 story series of interview with Leah Hoyer, Creative Producer at Levity Entertainment Group, we ask the questions regarding studios pooling creative youths’ talents in a long term, and one question regarding global hits which Ms Hoyer previously worked on, which is Disney’s Phineas & Ferb, and Kim Possible.
4) What are the pitfalls do you think those people who are creatively inclined face, when it comes to mainstream education, whether in the US or in Asia?
This is happening in the US as well. US, I actually think it usually used to have the arts school, film school, things where they really used to have strong curriculum. But I think most of the older ones, still do. But there’s recently been a proliferation, and it sounds like similar to a lot of the schools that are here – from my understanding of what people have told me. Proliferation in school, they basically just teach you the kind-of mechanical and technical skills, that you might need to say to work on video games, to do writing, to do texturing, to do computer animation, rendering etc, all those things, or programming. But what they do is focus on the technical, but they not really focus on the storytelling aspect, it’s all about “Can you make it look pretty visually?” That, at the end of the day, it’s important people want is to be as prettiest as possible it can be, if no one nears the importance of story and character. And so, without guide giving in to, like “How you really create a character that have emotional impact with the audience? How do you create a story that people care about?”, and you know, build the world around them, not visually, but the tone and the character of the world around them and the way that makes people engage with it. Like you can make the prettiest picture in the world and move it around, but if you don’t understand what you’re watching, that doesn’t really connect, you might look and go “Look at that, that thing was lid!”. But then again, not that many people, who are outside of the artistic community, really care how that thing was lid. And you have to understand, that we just not make things for each other, we completely make them for an audience. For everyone who can relates to the story and character, and the visual can be awesome. Ideally that is the foundation. And then the pretty visual on top of it. I think there’s too many schools that give out certificate program, that able to program, do C++ and so they can do MIA , but without the understanding on how that impact the storytelling process, it doesn’t really mean anything.
5) Would changing perceptions of creative education in schools help, in your opinion, the creative industry overall?
Oh absolutely. This certainly happens in the United States. I living in a country, and I was from a country. Clearly it’s one of the major foreigners of content production development and everything. Like they put out – a huge percentage, of what not just our country, but the world consumed, and you would think that would be enough to make people realise what of being creative, like job and career opportunity for the people. But I think, most people who grew up outside Los Angeles, or maybe other couple cities are now sort-of getting that sense, don’t really considerate a career option. And if they do, it certainly not necessarily so well regarded.
In terms of a lot of people are like “Hollywood is all about money, and glimpsing glamour, and I need to do something rocks!” Be a doctor, or be a whatever. Not to say that we don’t want doctor, but that is not the only choice you have. “Be an animator or a doctor!” But you clearly want people to do everything, but I think the earlier you educate people, that the actually as a viable way to earn a good living, to express yourself, to be able to be creative, and to be collaborative with people. That’s what I love about it, that’s what you need to have to impact people, and the way you reach people. As an example, there are millions of people around the world who watch Phineas & Ferb, and I was a part of that, and that’s awesome. And that to me, that’s exciting! And so, I think if you can get that message out to people early, and if you a part of that is, so yeah, bring in speakers, have teachers talk about it. There is a parent who work in the animation industry and they come to class and discuss “Oh, well what’s that right here?” and think about it. It’s not that every kid is gonna be like “Oh, that’s awesome!”. Or they will for after a year, think like “Oh! I can make cartoon!” They get a little bit older and say “I’m not interested about it anymore (cartoons, kids’ stuff etc)”, but there’s gonna be a couple of them in every class, that will think like “Oh, I remember that person, and he told me I can make cartoon for a living, and that’s awesome, and that’s what I wanna do!”. If you get that message out there, it’s gonna have an impact, even though it won’t be a quick impact, but 10 years down the road, your talent is gonna be so much better. I think that’s the area that you really need to focus on. Awareness is just the option, of being something, and that’s actually can be respected. You can earn a good living, and can have a good job, and you can be a part of the message. “You can help us like as a country and its society, like also reach more people.” And you’ll be on the board like “How awesome are we as a country?” And before you go, you’ll think like “I’ve never visited here and I didn’t know how awesome you were as a country.” People who work in the same media, can help spread that message. I think that’s really great.
6) Personally, I’m one of the big fans of Disney’s Phineas & Ferb, and Kim Possible. So, what inspired the production team to pick those names for the main characters of the cartoons?
For Kim Possible, the names are made like playing with words, that kind of thing. Everybody (in the cartoon), like her brother, Kim’s friend – Ron Stoppable. In other word, Kim’s supposed-to-be-name is ‘K Impossible’.
On Phineas & Ferb, one of the two creators, which is Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, actually have a friend named Ferb. I think they love that name. And they sort of paired it up. How the entire thing came together, I don’t know. But they pitched it to us that way. Disney had nothing to do with that name. But I do know he have a friend named Ferb, who lives in England back there.
Conclusion of 2-Part Series Interview. Endless thanks and credits to Ms. Leah Hoyer, TEXT100 (Official PR Firm for Kreative.Asia 2012), MSC Malaysia, Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) and X|Media|Lab (The organising companies of Kreative.Asia 2012)
With well over a decade of experiences in the entertainment industry, Leah Hoyer has overseen more than 200 hours of programming for network and cable television, both in the US as well as internationally. Ms Hoyer was the Director of Development for Disney Television Animation, working on global hits such as Phineas & Ferb, Recess, and Kim Possible. She is now the Creative Producer at Levity Entertainment Group. Leah was also an attorney before attending the prestigious UCLA Film School to earn her MFA in Animation and pursue her passion for cartoons. She has taught classes at UCLA Film School and guest lectures at several universities. She is also on the Board of Directors of Women in Animation International, where she focuses on international outreach programmes for women in the creative and animation industry.
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- TWIA Episode 50: Live from Echelon
- Guizhou-Malaysia Business Cooperation and Investment Seminar 2012
- Asia’s Premier Angel Conference – Asian Business Angel Forum.