Like the stuff of many Hollywood legends, the origins of the award-winning "DreamGiver," a short film produced by Brigham Young University's Center for Animation, began on the back of a restaurant napkin.
"DreamGiver," an animated short directed, written and produced by BYU senior Tyler Carter, was honored Saturday with a "student Emmy" for best animation by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation.
It's the 11th College Television Award that BYU's animation department has won in eight years. The film also won a "student Emmy" for best musical composition for "DreamGiver's" soundtrack, written by BYU student Lance Montgomery.
Carter first got the idea for "DreamGiver," about a boy who is saved from a horrifying nightmare, while eating at an Orem Arctic Circle with his wife more than two years ago.
"I had this idea come into my head of where do dreams come from and where do nightmares come from and how do you stop a nightmare," said Carter, 25, who is graduating in animation after serving internships at Disney and Pixar. "I wrote the ideas on the back of whatever I had a napkin and the back of a business card."
Originally, the six-minute film was a side project that Carter was doing while students were working on another film that was supposed to be their main thesis. But that film wasn't finished in time.
In all, 46 BYU students spent 18 months producing "DreamGiver," which is told through 3-D computer animation, as well as 2-D artwork during the dream sequences.
"It never felt like a side film for us who worked on it," Carter said. "There was more passion and love for this film than any film we've had in awhile. There was so much dedication. We wanted to make a very good film and we wanted people to see it."
It's also the second year in a row that BYU has won the College Television Award for music composition, Montgomery said. Two years ago, Montgomery also received an honorable mention for his music for a feature-length live-action film from BYU.
"It was an amazing experience. It's exciting because it'll open a lot of opportunities," said Montgomery. He credited as inspiration film composers like John Williams ("Star Wars") and Danny Elfman ("The Nightmare Before Christmas"). "It will definitely speed up my career."