Online Event

30 Mar 2021 | 16.00 – 17.30

Lecture: Successful Animated Films Are Always Driven by Strong Characters


All stories begin and end with the characters, and our desire to support each other as we attempt to create character driven stories with broad global appeal.

Robert will share his insights and experiences from years spent in the story department, developing animated stories at the major Hollywood studio level. Included will be case studies of how the story team faced and approached problem areas they encountered. Robert will also cite examples from his years consulting on the stories for students films at CalArts, as well as his work as the Story Lab Instructor for Anomalia. Having worked in the Czech Republic, Robert has experience and sensitivity towards working with Central European filmmakers and their particular concerns.

Time will be set aside at the end for Q & A and discussion, so please feel free to send us  your questions in advance (



Robert Lence has been a major contributor on some of the most successful films in the history of animated features. In his twenty-eight-year animation career, he has worked as a Screenwriter, Head of Story, Storyboard Artist, Visual Development Artist, and Story Consultant, helping create original characters, writing dialogue, and shaping the story on over a dozen major-release animated features.

Robert has worked at Walt Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks. His film work includes such all-time hits as Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and Shrek. Robert served as Co-Head of Story on Pixar’s 1995 Toy Story, the first ever computer animated feature film.

A graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Robert holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. Robert attended the California Institute of the Arts’ highly regarded Character Animation program for two years. He has also served as a member of the Cal Arts faculty, as a story teacher and story consultant.

Robert is also a member of the Writers Guild of America. He recently illustrated his first children’s book, “Wrestling the ABC’s”. A native of New York City, Robert has worked, taught and lectured in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, New York, London, Mexico, Uruguay, China, Korea and Russia.

The event is co-organized in cooperation with the training programme ANOMALIA.



Since 2015, the ANOMALIA Story & Labs incubator has been helping directors and art teams bring their concepts to project launch, boosting their chances of success with audience-driven animated films and series. Focusing on story and art development, the labs are hosted by Hollywood professionals who mentor and navigate teams throughout the creative process. No passive seminars or online schooling. This is real hands-on collaborative work. Giving critical but constructive feedback, resolving potential issues at an early stage, and maximising productivity in real-time.


CEE Animation is supported by the Creative Europe – MEDIA Programme of the European Union and co-funded by state funds and foundations and professional organisations from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

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