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The First Female Story Head at Disney
Interview with Brenda Chapman
Nancy Beiman

Nancy Beiman: I'd like to congratulate you on your being the first female Story Head at Disney (On THE LION KING.) How would you start planning a picture? Do you work directly with the scriptwriter?

Brenda Chapman: Yes, I work with the writer and directors. Everyone tries to come up with the story; the writers here don't necessarily just come up with the idea and start writing it; there are other people involved, too. It's collaborative.

NB: So you (as Story Head) would be on the film from Day One?

Chapman: Pretty much. THE LION KING was in development for several years before it was actually given a crew to take it through to the end. Once the directors were assigned, and I got on it, we really started rolling. We found a couple of writers who were really good and were able to work as a team, as opposed to going off and sitting in little offices and just handing in script pages. We did it together.

NB: What exactly are the duties of Story Head? Are you like an Assistant Director. Do you pick your story people?

Chapman: In a way. I think, through the story process, I'm like a third director. The directors have the final say, but I'm the one that's pushing for the story; and my focus is just the story, while their focus is the overall film. I pick my crew to a certain extent. We had a really good crew. (They) started out a fairly "green" crew; there were a lot of first-time story people. Lorna Cook, for instance, hadn't done story at Disney before, and she was a little nervous. She's a great animator, and (they) wanted to get her into story and see how far she just went . . She did particularly well. Some really great story people came out of that; it was sort of a trial by fire.




Source type Magazine
Volume 104
Language en
Document type Feature
Media type text
Page count 5
Pages pp. 60-64


Id 5808
Availability Free
Inserted 2021-02-02