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Our mentors: Paul Briggs of Disney Feature Animation

Paul Briggs  mentored Ann Coddou (Class of 2015) on her story, Visionary. Lucky Ann! Paul’s role as Head of Story on Big Hero 6 and Frozen has cemented his reputation as a guy with an excellent sense of story. His job entails working with artists to ensure the vision of the director is captured.

Paul got his start in animation as an intern at Disney. An instructor of his at Kansas City Art Institute forced him to send his portfolio to Disney to apply for an internship and, to his surprise, he got it. He worked with Pres Romanillos, supervising animator and David Tidgwell, Head of Effects. His efforts got him a stint as an in-betweener on Mulan. That job gave him a solid foundation for a number of upcoming projects including Lilo & Stitch. All said, Paul Briggs has had his fingerprints in films like Bolt, Brother Bear, The Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Winnie the Pooh and Zootopia. He even had a stint on fan fave TV series, Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Paul’s interest in storytelling blossomed as his focus turned to storyboarding early. Paul’s passion was to understand how to weave a good yarn and the pursuit became the focus of his artistic expression and his career.

After grumbling about a particular scene, I told myself to either shut up or, if I thought I could do better, to go and do it. That’s when I began my journey and education in becoming a story artist. I put in a lot of time doing test after test and reading and attending as many lectures on story that I could.

His own story is inspirational on a number of fronts. Many of us know we want to work in a certain field and we tackle that field widely at first. But honing in on a passion that is personal is tough, especially when you work in an industry with egos as strong as animation. Paul has found his calling and he won’t give up until he has a few Oscars. Actually, he won’t even give up then.

Paul’s take on giving feedback?

It’s important to get advice from people who are constructive but aren’t afraid to be honest with you.

The perfect mentor!

When not working on films, Paul draws large scale drawings and does design work, furniture design, calligraphy and greeting cards. He’s currently working in development at Disney Animation Studios on a future project.

You can follow Paul on Twitter @_paul_briggs_

PS: Oh yeah, Paul did the voice of Marshmallow in Frozen.

More on Paul Briggs:

Excellent interview about story and his career path.

Slashfilm interview about Frozen and how Disney works.

Paul Briggs discusses The Princess & The Frog and the rough road to becoming a storyteller.

Paul’s work on Pinterest.

Cartoon Brew’s take on Paul Briggs.

Animdesk’s interview of Paul Briggs