Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Story insights from award-winning author and illustrator William Joyce

A few weeks ago I wrote that an old friend from Shreveport won this year’s Louisiana Writer Award.
William Joyce is an Emmy-winning author and illustrator of children's books – and he has been hailed by Newsweek as one of the top 100 people to watch in the new millennium.

As he took home the award, here are a few thoughts on story development shared in the media:

"If we take a child and introduce him to the fun and joy that comes from knowing characters in a story, if we are able to inspire that child and see the first sparks of wonderment that come from reading, then we know we've set that child on a course that will be stayed throughout his or her life," said Louisiana state librarian Rebecca Hamilton.

"Joyce's work shines at this. His stories are playful, full of joy and mischievousness, and children open up to that quality and want to know more," she said.

Joyce best-selling children's books include "George Shrinks," "Santa Calls" and "Dinosaur Bob and his Adventures with the Family Lazardo." He won three Emmys for his popular children's show "William Joyce's Rolie Polie Olie," an animated Disney Channel series. Joyce was named by Newsweek magazine as one of the top 100 people to watch in the new millennium. His feature films include "ROBOTS" and "Meet the Robinsons," and he's created conceptual characters for popular films "Toy Story" and "A Bug's Life."

Joyce said the inspiration for his stories could come from a variety of sources, including life transitions, like the birth of his first child, something he hears or an inexplicable feeling.

He's working on two projects — "The Guardians of Childhood" and "Misheviants."

"The Guardians of Childhood" is a movie about how all the popular holiday and mythical characters — including Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost and others — band together to defeat Pitch, otherwise known as the Boogeyman.

Joyce's other project, "Mischeviants" will be a children's book series about the little creatures that live in the house and do all the things that annoy humans, such as hide the remote control and eat homework.

His advice to other aspiring artists: "Never underestimate the power of goofing off."

Joyce also pointed out that today's generation has even more opportunities to achieve careers in storytelling. "There are so many opportunities that weren't available before, whether it's in film, television, cartoons, animation, graphic novels, comic strips, storyboarding or whatever else. The American entertainment culture has something that translates worldwide and will never be outsourced."

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