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“Max Howard Shares the “Art of Storytelling” with PKU Students”

APR . 04 2018
Peking University, March 26, 2018: The second session of the public elective course "Dialogue with Global Innovation Masters," featuring Max Howard, a prominent animator currently working for the DeTao Group, was held at PKU's Entrepreneurship Hall on March 16. This event, jointly sponsored by PKU’s College of Engineering and the DeTao Masters Academy offered students and teachers an in-depth look into the work of an animator and the development of films.

Two students enrolled in the course, Que Zige and Fan Jin, introduced Max Howard based on an earlier interview with him. Howard then began the lecture with a wonderful animation highlighting “The art of storytelling,” the theme of the lecture. Using "Finding Nemo " as an example, Howard explained to the students what he considers to be the three basic elements of a good movie and the eight steps of story creation. His humorous teaching style and vivid body language impressed teachers and students.

Max Howard delivering the speech

In Howard's opinion, the three basic elements of film are good plots, convincing setting, and charismatic characters. While these elements are present in films across genres, it is useful to group films thematically as most films can be classified as hero adventures, friendship movies, or love stories. The movie "Finding Nemo" also elucidates the eight aspects of a story: "who am I? ", "where am I?", "compact storyline", "the origin of the story", "the growth of the protagonist ", "the action of the protagonist", "the turning of the story", "the ending" and "life cycles". The aspects demonstrate the conceptual design of the Disney and Oscar classics . Howard pointed out that story creation methodology not only broadens our horizons but also can be used as a basis for innovation and breakthrough in art creation.

The course

During the Q&A session, Howard’s answers offered in-depth discussions about story creation, the international development of Chinese films, and cross-cultural communication between Chinese and Western cultures. After the lecture, Li Yongmei, assiatant dean from College of Engineering presented Howard with a book entitled "Dialogue with Global Innovation Master". Howard presented the audience with autographed posters.

Max Howard is a film producer and studio executive, based in Los Angeles. He has run studios for Walt Disney Feature Animation in London, Paris, Orlando and Los Angeles, and was president of Warner Bros. Feature Animation. He has worked on or been responsible for a number of successful film projects. His credits include Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, and Igor.

In 2015 Max started working in China on a regular basis for the DeTao Group, where he runs Melwood Pictures at DeTao, and is developing features based on Chinese content.
Written by: Qian Kang 
Edited by: Zhou Yijing, Erin Dunne