Jared Bush: Throw out the good and build the great

Jared Bush sat down with The Panther after he spoke in the Digital Media Arts Center on Oct. 27. Photo by Bonnie Cash

Jared Bush sat down with The Panther after he spoke in the Digital Media Arts Center on Oct. 27. Photo by Bonnie Cash

Jared Bush, the writer behind Disney’s “Zootopia” and the upcoming movie “Moana” visited Chapman Oct. 27 to share some stories from the movie-making business. The Panther sat down with Bush after his talk to get more behind-the-scenes information.

  • On creating a relatable character: “The only way to make that compelling is with characters that you fall in love with, that you understand and that are multi-dimensional. There’s really a spotlight on making sure that that a character works and that with each character, you learn something about them and you’re along for the ride and you really care about that journey.”
  • On making ‘Moana’: “It’s the people you get to work with. It’s 700, 800 people who get to work on these movies and we’re one of the few places where it’s all done in house. At Disney, we’re all under one roof. When it’s crunch time, we’re all punished. It can be a punishing schedule, so we all feel that together, but we all persevere together. As a result of that, we get to know each other really, really well and we really learn to trust each other.”
  • On building something great: “We have this luxury at Disney where we can figure (the storyline) out over five years, but finding the best way to tell those stories… there’s this saying: ‘The enemy of something great is something good.’ You get to something that feels really good, but it might not be right and you can never get to great unless you throw out the thing that’s good and start from scratch and try to build something that’s great.”
  • On animated movies with controversial messages: “We don’t like to hit someone over the head with a message, but in one of the meetings I had with one of the actors who came in early on in ‘Zootopia’, (they) said something that stuck with me deeply, which was ‘You guys don’t understand the opportunity you have.’ These movies, because of where they are, will go around the world. They can affect literally millions of people. That is an unbelievable opportunity to put something important into the world. While you don’t want to have a movie that is a message movie, you have this opportunity. What’re you going to do with that opportunity? You can tell a compelling story, or you can really push and try to say something that’s going to allow people to think when they leave that movie theater.”
  • On advice for student screenwriters: “Keep writing, keep writing, keep writing, keep writing, don’t stop writing. Be OK with throwing things away. Most of my time is spent throwing out pages, throwing out ideas. You have to be OK and not precious because everything you write you’ll get better the more times you do it. For me personally, early on in my career, I’d work on one script and I’d spend years just honing this one thing, but ultimately I found if I just put that aside and started from scratch on something new, that new thing would be better. It allows you to not get stuck in a rut. I think that it’s never stopping and when you hit a brick wall, you smash through that brick wall or take a walk until you figure out a way to climb over that brick wall.”

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