Travels from Bay Area, California, USA
Matthew Luhn's speaking fee falls
within range: $20,000 to $25,000
Matthew Luhn, Former Pixar Story Artist, is a writer, story consultant, creative writing instructor and keynote speaker with over 25 years’ experience creating stories and characters at Pixar Animation Studios, The Simpsons, and beyond.
With over 25 years of experience as a Pixar Storyteller, Matthew Luhn is a master at creating dynamic characters and compelling struggles that make audiences laugh, cry, and want more. His animation and story credits include some of the most universally beloved films of the past decades, including Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, and UP. As a consultant, teacher, and speaker, Luhn takes his art beyond the film industry, helping businesses win by becoming better storytellers.
Luhn’s career path began unwittingly at age two when he drew a scribbly picture of his father, who was in bed that day with a stomachache. His father, who had wanted to be a Disney animator but was pressured into taking over the family business (a San Francisco toy store) decided that Matthew was destined to become an artist. Luhn’s father spent the rest of his son’s childhood drawing with him, taking him to art museums, and picking him up early from school twice a month for “a dentist appointment,” which was secretly a trip to the local movie theater’s matinee session.
While studying at the California Institute of the Arts, one of Luhn’s student films caught the attention of some producers and at age 19, he relocated to Los Angeles to take a job as an animator for The Simpsons. After working on the show’s third season, he returned to the Bay Area where he clinched a position as one of the first 12 animators at Pixar for their pioneer project, Toy Story. There, he spent extensive time with the film’s story team, and quickly realized that he, too, wanted to be a storyteller.
Due to problems with Toy Story‘s script, Luhn and the entire animation team were laid off. Luhn took it as an opportunity to learn more about the art of storytelling. A year later, when Toy Story‘s script was resolved and Pixar offered him his job back. Luhn declined, asking them for a position in the story department, but he was told he simply lacked the necessary experience.
He spent the next few years working on story freelancing jobs to build up his resume, periodically sending it to Pixar, but getting no response. Scraping by to pay the bills, Luhn often wondered if he’d made a mistake by turning down his old position; however, one day he finally received a call from Pixar offering him a job as a story artist on Toy Story 2. To date, he has created characters and story for ten of the studio’s films.
After working on several high-grossing projects at Pixar, Luhn realized that the company’s unprecedented success was not a fluke, but based on effective storytelling techniques that he had also seen used to sell products in his family’s toy store. Passionate about the art of storytelling, he decided to share his knowledge and tools with people outside his industry. Since then, he’s travelled the world helping employees at Fortune 500s and other organizations reconnect with their innate ability to tell a story. His clients include the BBC, Google, Facebook, Charles Schwab, Salesforce, Target, and many more.
Alongside his story work in Hollywood, Matthew also trains CEOs, marketing teams, directors and other professionals how to craft and tell stories for Fortune 500 companies, Academy Award winning movies and corporate brands.
Matthew’s “Story Seminars” and “Story for Business Workshops” run in New York City, Los Angeles, London, and other major cities worldwide. His “Story for Business Workshops” and keynotes train business leaders and entrepreneurs how to use storytelling to bridge the gap between heart and business to build better brands and business communication, while his “Story Seminars” train attendees how to develop stories and write dialogue to create compelling stories and screenplays. His clients include Target, Procter and Gamble, Adidas, BMW, Sony, Mattel, Facebook, Charles Schwab, Microsoft, Warner Brothers, Google, Salesforce, and many more.
Matthew’s story credits include Toy Story (1995), Toy Story 2 (1999), Monsters Inc. (2001), Finding Nemo (2003), Cars (2006), Ratatouille (2007), UP (2009), Toy Story 3 (2010), Monsters University (2013), Toy Story of Terror (2013), Toy Story That Time Forgot (2014), and other films and TV shows currently in development.
Matthew’s career began at 19 years old, as the youngest animator to work on the TV series, The Simpsons. His TV credits on the The Simpsons include “Kamp Krusty” (1992), “Lisa’s Pony” (1992), “Homer Alone” (1992), “Colonel Homer” (1992), “Homer Defined” (1992), and “Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk” (1992).
Along with his seminars and consulting work, Matthew has a sustained interest in teaching and empowering children around the world how to draw, write, and make films. Collaborating with The General Pencil Company, the first pencil factory in the USA, Luhn has created a series of “how to draw” books and art programs for kids of all ages.
Pixar veteran storyteller and animator, Matthew Luhn explains why the business with the best story wins, and how anyone can learn to craft a memorable story. After years of creating iconic films like Toy Story, UP, and Finding Nemo, Luhn realized that his team at Pixar was utilizing the same basic techniques his family had used for three generations to sell products in their Bay-Area chain of toy stores. "All those years with those toy stores, it was beyond selling toys," he explains. "We were selling an experience."
Examining a variety of contexts, from the film UP to Steve Jobs' unveiling of the original iphone, Luhn demonstrates the science of great storytelling and the key tools necessary to make a brand personal and memorable, analyzing how different elements come together to forge lasting connections with audiences.
"Anecdotes are one of the greatest tools you guys have in the world of marketing, in the world of storytelling," Luhn states, noting that something as simple as sharing a customer's experience with a product can be the most effective means of connecting with new consumers. "An anecdote, a story can be so powerful, you can change the way people feel."
Branding and creativity speaker, Matthew Luhn draws from decades of experience as a Pixar Storyteller to show business professionals how they can tap their inner storyteller to create powerful connections with staff, clients, and consumers. Taking audiences on an emotional ride packed with examples from beloved Pixar films as well as iconic marketing campaigns, he demonstrates why we tell stories and how to do it effectively. Luhn proves himself not only a master story teller, but a master educator as well, leaving you energized and equipped with storytelling principles that anyone can use to build their business or brand.
Storytelling is the #1 business skill necessary to connect, motivate, and lead people in today’s world. Stories compel us to engage in experiences, learn lessons, and define our values and ourselves within our organization. Matthew Luhn, a 20-year Pixar story veteran, brings his experience creating and developing 10 blockbuster films at Pixar, and provides practical strategies that teach and inspire people and teams to connect more effectively with audiences. Matthew uses the power of storytelling to bridge the gap between business and heart, driving your story toward one unforgettable selling point.
Big Data and Story Telling
Big data is changing everything from content development to culture itself. Matthew Luhn, a 20 year Pixar story veteran will share how big data is being used to create great stories and characters in films like Toy Story 3, Inside Out and beyond. Matthew’s experience and insight will empower and inspire publishers, advertisers and innovators on how to forge stronger, more meaningful connections with consumers.
Inspiring Creativity in the Workplace
As one of the original story creators at Pixar Animation Studios, Matthew Luhn participated in building and sustaining the creative culture at Pixar from startup to the most successful filmmaking group in the history of Hollywood. Matthew’s engaging and action-oriented talk will provide strategies on how to create a culture that encourages and nurtures new ideas, and embraces fear and failing as a necessary part of the creative process. He demonstrates how to empower relationships and build trust through authentic communication.
Becoming an Effective Leader, as Told by Pixar Heroes
In film and in the business world, every story needs a great hero. In this unique session, Matthew Luhn shares his tips and techniques to creating authentic, inspirational, and memorable heroes that are relatable to leadership and business. Exploring and analyzing the character traits of Pixar heroes and other great story protagonists can provide a model for outstanding leadership that will leave your audience inspired and empowered.
It's the Feel that Seals the Deal: Are Your Consumers Feelin’ it?
70% of all first time visitors to Disney movies, stores, and theme parks return for more. Why? Because they want to feel delighted and entertained.
To create a more profitable and desirable brand, we need to create experiences that affect people and make them feel something special. Without a clear feeling that follows our brand, we send out confusing messages to our clients and employees. Or worse, we blend in by telling the same story as everyone else, simply becoming white noise. Learn from Matthew Luhn as he shares how to discover and tell your one clear and concise message that will leave your target audience feeling that special something and wanting more.
“Matthew was a true professional to work with. He customized his presentation to match our theme on data, and as he promised made the audience laugh, cry and learn something new about storytelling. He is a truly inspirational and inspiring speaker! I hope we can work together in the future.”
Head of Marketing EMEA, Quantcast
“We get many good speakers coming in talking about some very interesting concepts and ideas, we don’t get many ‘Matthews” though. This guy will take you on an inspirational ride of emotions that will blow any speaker out of the water!”
– Laggi Diamandi
Head of Learning and Development, Foster + Partners
“Over the course of two days Matthew helped sculpt three compelling stories for the BBC. It was probably the most constructive two days on the entire production, thank you Matthew for your wisdom and entertaining us so much!”
-Mark Brownlow, Series Producer,
BBC Natural History Unit
“Matthew spoke at a conference GV hosted for communications and marketing executives in the technology industry. His session was an empowering lesson about the art of building connections through storytelling. Matthew’s talk was inspiring, entertaining, and actionable, and many attendees told us that his keynote was the highlight of the entire day.”
– Jodi Olson, Communications Lead, Google Ventures
“Matthew is a born storyteller and mentor. As a teacher, he demonstrates a true passion, drive, and expertise that is world class. Matthew is a true master of the craft of story.”
– Emily Dean, Story Artist,
“Matthew’s ability to connect with the audience and share his valuable insights through stories was truly amazing. There were parts of his talk where the audience would be doubled over in laughter and other instances where the messaging was so touching that many cried. It was a beautiful experience and very inspiring. A great experience that I would recommend for any company.”
– Katrina Moss, Onboarding Program Manager, Shopify
“Thank you Matthew for teaching our staff how to give oral presentations with strong structure that can change the beliefs of the world. In a nutshell, if we take a story — one of our success stories, for example —back it up with data and make people feel something, people will remember it. Big thumbs “Up” for edutainment value!”
-Lise Lindia, Team Lead, HR Services and Programs,
Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI)
“Attending Matthew’s story workshop has made a drastic difference in growing my business and my understanding of why I am in my business. By learning why we tell stories and how to effectively tell a story, I am now able to look at my story and write it in a way that can communicate to my clients and staff.”
– Heather B. Quick, CEO,
The Quick Law Group
“Matthew’s Story Workshop at The Walt Disney Family Museum was inspiring, full of energy and gave a clear explanation of the story process from beginning to end. There was a wide experience range among the students that participated, but whether they were a pro or just getting started everyone had something to take away from Matthew’s story workshop.”
– Jenna Calvao, Community Program Coordinator,
The Walt Disney Family Museum
“Matthew has a gift for explaining story structure that is both engaging and extremely understandable. His lectures and workshops at Fisher-Price have been attended by many in Marketing, Design and Media Production who look to improve their storytelling.”
– Robert “Bud” Kolich,
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