It all starts here. Well, almost here. The genesis of a movie actually starts with the writer, but once he's done, the rest of the filmmakers have to start figuring out what the movie is going to look like. Step in Art Hernandez and Dan Abraham, the two lead Story Artists on Disney's Planes.
"We work in parallel with the art department," explains Art. "We're the first ones out of the gate who, as artists, change mediums from the written word to a visual medium."
Sitting in front of what could effectively be described as a futuristic drawing pad (a remarkably accurate touch screen that they insist is an 'antique'), Art is the archetypal artist, with his salt 'n' pepper beard and funky glasses, alongside his partner in animation, Dan Abraham.
The pair work as closely as any filmmakers and have a huge weight of responsibility within the process of making the movie, despite not a single frame of their work making it onto the screen by the end.
With a shed-load of research in the bag and a story that everybody's happy with, Art and Dan have the crucial job of defining the look and feel of the film, from the positioning of the camera to the expressions of the characters.
Says Dan, "We had a turnaround of what Dusty looked like, but what does he look like when he's angry? What does he look like when he's smiling? We had to figure that out."
"We're setting the visual template for everybody coming down the pipeline afterwards. Were putting the camera where we think it should go, and we're having the characters act in the way we think they should act. Now that stuff's gonna change… sometimes!"
It's the kind of job any budding storyboard artist would dream of. Not only because it's fun to make a movie, but because the atmosphere at Disney is one of open collaboration.
"We usually show the movie about five different times during the course of the story making process," explains Dan. "And at every one of those screenings we get notes from (director) Klay, John Lasseter and everyone else in the building, trying to make the movie better at every step.
"This is definitely John Lasster's sandbox. And because of that he still wades in, thankfully… As artists we have to check our egos at the door. We can fall in love with our own scenes or own sequences but we have to learn to keep them separate ourselves from it."
It's a process that Pixar and Disney have nailed over the years.
According to Art, "Each script is broken down into sequences, like chapters in a book. Some are longer than others, so some may work on three sequences, others might work on five. And we cast them according to the artist's strengths like an actor in a film, some are better at action, some are better at comedy, some are better at heartfelt moments.
"So what we're doing as story artists, we're translating what we see in the script into visuals, we're responsible for expressions and the acting, and more often than not we're plussing that script, trying to make it stronger."
"So much of animation now is computer animation, so you're manipulating puppets within a computer as opposed to drawing, but we're still drawing - thankfully! It's all I know how to do!"
Planes is released on August 16th and you can read more about it here.