Peter Ramsey's Drawing Power

How a first-timer got the director's chair for the season's biggest animated film

It's hard to tell just from looking at him, but Peter Ramsey, director of the new animated film Rise of the Guardians, is a minority in Hollywood. To get where he is today, he has had to overcome prejudices and unspoken stereotypes about his people: storyboard artists.

Storyboard artists aren't very high on the moviemaking food chain. They draw a screenplay frame by frame, a bit like a comic strip. There is no storyboarding Oscar. One of the animation awards is given for storyboarding; they're called Annies, as if they were given to orphans.

Ramsey, who has never directed a major...

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