“What you want from your executives is for them to feel ownership of that show,” Povenmire said. “You can’t buy that kind of energy, when they feel like they’re part of this, and it’s their show too.” Nearly 200 students attended a conversation with writers, directors and producers from The Walt Disney Company and DreamWorks Animation about Hollywood’s entertainment and animation industry Monday. The event, hosted by the John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television and Film & Television Writers of USC, invited the creators of “Finding Nemo,” “Tarzan” and “Phineas and Ferb” to speak about their creative processes. (Left to right) Screenwriting professor Robert Ramsey moderated a panel with “Finding Nemo” writer David Reynolds, “Tarzan” writer Stevie Wermers, “Phineas and Ferb” co-creator Dan Povenmire and “How to Train Your Dragon” executive producer Tim Johnson about Hollywood and the animation industry. (Dimple Sarnaaik/Daily Trojan) Ramsey asked Wermers to explain how she started her career in animation and became an Academy Award winning writer and artist for Disney. This unique investment in the entertainment value of a creation is key to the animation process, Povenmire continued. Povenmire said that the entertainment industry is unlike any other industry when it comes to the chain of command because executives are involved mostly for the sake of providing entertainment. In other industries, Povenmire explained, executives can be part of a project for years, but in entertainment their expiration date is typically one to two years. The panel included “Finding Nemo” writer David Reynolds, Disney story artist and director Stevie Wermers, “Phineas and Ferb” co-creator Dan Povenmire, and “How to Train Your Dragon” executive producer Tim Johnson. Mary Bronough, president of Film and Television Writers USC, introduced the panel and School of Cinematic Arts screenwriting professor Robert Ramsey moderated. Povenmire said finding your way into the entertainment industry is an individual path. “No one can tell you how to get your first gig,” Povenmire said. “They can only tell you how they got their gig-collect enough of those and you’ll have a road map.” “It wasn’t until I saw “Beauty and the Beast” [that I pursued animation],” Wermers said. “I thought this movie was amazing. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I went to Cal Arts and I talked to one of the counselors there and I applied and they’re like ‘you’re in.’” “My favorite principle of craft comes from improv, which is you never get to say no,” Johnson said. “It’s a great principle for running a brainstorming meeting. It’s a great way to treat executives. It’s a great way to deal with your partner in life.” Rose Bueno, a junior majoring in cinema and media studies, said the final remark by Povenmire stood out to her. Johnson gave advice to audience members looking to start a career in animation. He suggested taking improvisation classes to learn how to think quickly in tough situations. During the question and answer session that followed the panel, one student asked for advice on starting a professional screenwriting career. “It was particularly impactful to hear, especially at the end, their closing remarks about getting your first start in the industry and that there is no clear path,” Bueno said. “It’s a testament that people will get to where they need to if they’re determined.”
On Saturday night, men’s volleyball ended its road trip with a visit up Highway 1 to Pepperdine. In their first match of the year in late January, the Trojans upset the No. 8 Waves at the Galen Center 3-2. Two months later, they were looking for similar magic on the road to keep their postseason hopes alive.The now-No. 6 Waves fought off the Trojan onslaught to win in straight sets (31-29, 25-22, 25-23) and tie the season series at one apiece. The Waves improved to 12-7 overall and 11-7 in the MPSF and secured a MPSF Tourney bid over the weekend. They currently sit in fifth place in the MPSF, three games behind No. 4 Long Beach State and one ahead of No. 7 UC Santa Barbara.On Saturday, Pepperdine was playing to secure that fifth seed in the MPSF while 10th-place USC (4-14, 6-16 MPSF) was fighting toward that elusive eighth seed. Hence, both teams played all-in from the first point.The first set was gut-wrenching through all 62 points. USC took its largest lead at 21-17, and Pepperdine took its only 2-point lead to win 31-29. There were eight lead changes and 26 ties. Pepperdine took the set by winning 3 points in a row off USC errors — the only 3-point run in the game.Errors continued to be a problem for the Trojans. They suffered 18 errors from the service line and nailed only two aces. Their attacking came together nicely, though. As a team, they hit .356. Junior outside hitter Lucas Yoder hit .500 with 19 kills. Senior middle blocker Tommy Leonard, who did not play in Thursday’s match at Stanford, hit .714 with 5 kills plus an ace and a block.Pepperdine was sharp offensively, too. The Waves hit .381 and served five aces. Redshirt senior opposite Matt Tarantino hit .462 with 15 kills and 3 aces. The Waves only tallied four blocks as redshirt senior middle blocker Tommy Carmody had a quiet night, but USC only tallied 6.5.After USC fell behind 14-9, head coach Jeff Nygaard took a timeout, and whatever he said worked. The Trojans 9-5 run after the timeout brought their deficit to just one point. However, a service error by senior middle blocker Tommy Leonard backed up by an ace from Pepperdine’s Matt Tarantino put the set out of USC’s reach.In set three, the two teams came out nose-to-nose once again. Finally, USC broke the game open with a 3-0 run to take an 18-14 lead. They traded points with the Waves until they had a 23-20 lead, and the set looked to be theirs. However, Pepperdine ended the match on a 5-0 run which included two Tarantino kills and three USC attack errors.It was an abrupt end to an intense match that went the way of the favorites. In the box score, this one will go down as a three-setter with no big surprises, but the match felt a lot closer.USC has four matches left this season. Next up, their final two home games will be against UC San Diego on April 2 and UC Irvine on April 3.