Story & Character Masterclass - with PIXAR artists

Story & Character Masterclass

The STORY & CHARACTER MASTERCLASS hosted by Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts) is an exciting 2-day event featuring instruction by top talent from Pixar Animation Studios. These events have been toured all over the world since 2009, and brought inspiration to hundreds of animators, storyboard artists, screenwriters, novelists, documentary makers, playwrights, artists, directors, producers, and business professionals who want to excel in their craft.

This summer, VanArts is excited to be bringing masterclasses in Story & Character to New York City, Toronto and Los Angeles. Day 1 is an exciting, interactive lecture format on story structure, storyboarding and character development, and Day 2 is a hands-on workshop where you can put these tools into practice creating your own stories. The workshop day is only open to 50 students and will sell out fast, so you definitely won’t want to miss it!

2015 Tour

New York, NY - June 19-20, 2015

Sunshine Cinema – 143 E. Houston St, NYC

Join Matthew Luhn and Valerie LaPointe for a Story Masterclass & Workshop.


Toronto, ON - June 26-27, 2015

Innis Town Hall @ University of Toronto, – 93 Charles St, Toronto

Join Matthew Luhn and Valerie LaPointe for a Story Masterclass & Workshop.


Los Angeles, CA - July 17-18, 2015

Fletcher Jones Auditorium @ Woodbury University – 7500 N Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank

Join Matthew Luhn and guest speaker Dan Gerson for a Story Masterclass & Workshop.


What is a Story Masterclass?

"Without a great story, the best animators, designers, musicians, and actors can't save a movie."- Walt Disney.

Our Story & Character Masterclass is your opportunity to learn from the very best. You will be guided by storytelling master, Matthew Luhn, Story Supervisor at Pixar Animation Studios, on the exciting process of creating successful stories for films, books and interactive games. Walk away understanding the process of how story is created, developed and shaped by top level professionals in the animation industry. Learn the anatomy of building characters that are adored and loved by millions. Take it up a notch and attend the Day 2 Story and Character Workshop where you will put what you learned in Day 1 into practice and get real time feedback and guidance.

In New York and Toronto, Matthew will be joined by special guest speaker, Valerie LaPointe, Story Artist at Pixar Animation Studios.

Join some of Matthew's past students including writers, directors, and creative leaders from Apple, Sony, Cartoon Network, Paramount Pictures, the BBC, Warner Brothers, and Dreamworks and learn the secrets to creating a GREAT story!

Seats are limited. Purchase your tickets today so you can be sure to attend this fun and exciting event.

Who are we?

Matthew Luhn

Pixar Story Supervisor, has been inspiring and teaching directors, writers, storyboard artists, animators, and business professionals on how to create successful stories with memorable characters for over fifteen years. While others simply teach, Matthew also works full-time at Pixar Animation Studios, ensuring his experience is relevant in today’s industry and the knowledge that he imparts is cutting edge. With over 20 years experience in the entertainment industry, Matthew has helped develop stories and characters on four Academy Award® and four Golden Globe-winning movies. His credits include all three Toy Story movies, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, Cars, Ratatouille, UP, Monsters University, Toy Story of Terror!, and The Simpsons.

Check out Matthew's website,, and follow him on twitter @matthewluhn.

Valerie Lapointe

One of Pixar’s first female Story Artists, has been creating movies, comics, award winning animated shorts, and music videos for over ten years. With a Masters of Animation from USC, Valerie has worked at Pixar Animation Studios since 2007 developing and creating the stories for Presto, Brave, Mater’s Tall Tales, Newt, Partysaurus Rex, Small Fry, and is currently working on an upcoming Pixar feature project. Valerie also worked with the Walt Disney Imagineering team developing the Ratatouille attraction in Paris. Valerie continues to work at Pixar developing new story ideas, while teaching and inspiring students around the world.

Register for our New York or Toronto Masterclasses to learn from Valerie about being a story artist.

Daniel Gerson

Screenwriter, living in California, who shares credit for the screenplay of Walt Disney Animation Studios' Big Hero 6 with Robert L. Baird and Jordan Roberts, shares credit for the screenplay of Pixar Animation Studios' Monsters, Inc. with Andrew Stanton, and shares credit for the screenplay of Pixar's Monsters University with Robert L. Baird and Dan Scanlon. He also contributed material for Disney's Chicken Little, Universal Animation Studios' Curious George, Pixar's Cars, and Disney's Meet the Robinsons, along with voicing the characters of Needleman and Smitty in Pixar's Monsters Inc.

Make sure to register for our Los Angeles Masterclass to learn from Dan about screenwriting in the Pixar universe and beyond.

Testimonials from past attendees

WOW------you are an engaging and inspiring speaker and therefore a great teacher.

Carl - Working Professional

Words cannot express how valuable the information is that you so kindly shared with us. I see the path I want to take in my life with far more clarity than I could have imagined after a one-day work session taught by you!

Thank you for your energy and commitment to reaching out to others! Please never stop teaching your story seminars.

I was fortunate enough to attend your story seminar in New York City.

Cortnee - Student

First I wanted thank you for the awesome Story class. I'm interested in storyboarding, so this class was a wonderful help. This class answered questions it had never occurred to me to ask! One of the most helpful aspects was encouraging all of us to not only work hard, but to work smart by understanding different kinds of processes- and even developing our own.

I just wanted to extend my appreciation for your story seminar.

Spencer - Animator/Filmmaker

I feel that your class is really valuable to anyone who is interested in filmmaking, and I personally took a lot from it being an animator/filmmaker myself. It was very interesting to learn about the story spine, and I appreciated the cinematography advice. I definitely will put everything you taught into practice in my future work.

Thank you for your great story seminar!

Mark - Working Professional

Having read a bunch of screenwriting books over the years and attended a few other big name seminars, I think you brought a fresh and clear perspective on story methods, and added a couple of new tools to my toolbox!

Register Now

Register now and secure your spot using a credit card. You will receive your ticket by e-mail instantly. Online registration and payments are powered by EventSpot® and PayPal®. If you would like more information on the events, make sure you check out the New York City, Toronto and Los Angeles pages. Thanks!

New York, NY - June 19-20, 2015
$549 2-day Masterclass + Workshop
$299 1-day Masterclass
Toronto, ON - June 26-27, 2015
$549 2-day Masterclass + Workshop
$299 1-day Masterclass
Los Angeles, CA - July 17-18, 2015
$549 2-day Masterclass + Workshop
$299 1-day Masterclass

Included with registration

  • workbook with notes prepared by the instructors
  • custom class t-shirt
  • refreshments during morning & afternoon coffee breaks
  • draws for prizes & giveaways!

Event Terms & Conditions

Connect with us

Visit the official Facebook page for the masterclass tour. Share with your friends and connect with other attendees!

> go to Facebook page

On Twitter, follow & share #VanArtsMasterClass