On Oct. 25, Amalia Levari, who wrote for the Cartoon Network miniseries “Over the Garden Wall,” came to Wheaton to discuss with several art classes how to write for television as well as to attend a screening of “Over the Garden Wall” in Watson.
The event was coordinated by Professor Patrick Johnson, who teaches film production for Wheaton’s studio art and film and new media studies majors. Levari attended Johnson’s Production I and Production II classes to teach the students more about writing for a visual medium.
“It was cool hearing Levari talk about her creative process when working on the show and giving storytelling advice in class,” Christina Smith ’19, who is taking Production I, said. “I particularly enjoyed her thoughts [on] why people tell stories in the first place and how she turned that into a discussion about what stories are worth telling in the long run.”
Levari provided a similar lecture for students who enrolled in the animation class taught by Professor Karen Knighton. According to Professor Josh Stenger, who teaches Film and New Media Studies, the animation class moved to fit outside students who wanted to meet Levari.
“Talking with Levari was a truly eye-opening experience because we were able to get an inside look into how inspiration and ideas form into a coherent story,” said Kyla Teeters ’18, who takes Knighton’s animation class. “Levari really makes you think [about] how you can use mundane and seemingly insignificant actions [to] draw an audience in.”
According to Stenger, Patrick McHale, the animator for “Over the Garden Wall,” was supposed to attend the animation class as well, but could not make it due to prior engagements. However, McHale will come to Wheaton in the near future as he still shows interest in talking with art classes.
The “Over the Garden Wall” screening was preceded by a reception in Haas Concourse. Anyone who wanted to attend had a chance to speak one-on-one with Levari before the event.
“It was incredible being able to share something I love so much with people who haven’t experienced it before, and of course having Levari there to talk about the process of writing the series was amazing,” Connor Mathis ’18 said.
Some professors came to see the event as well. Professor Talitha Espiritu, who teaches English and film studies, came to the event to support Johnson.
“The event was extremely well-attended. It was nice to sit in an audience of people who seemed to closely identify with the show,” Espiritu said. “Students behind me were quoting dialogue from the show and singing along.”
With this event being a success, we hope to see similar ones at Wheaton in the near future.