Walker alum and 'Napoleon Dynamite' producer visits Lower School
Chris “Doc” Wyatt, producer of “Napolean Dynamite” and Emmy-nominated writer returned to his alma mater to speak with Walker fifth-graders about his new book “Alien Bones,” and to encourage them to follow their passion and think creatively.
“The message I’m here to say is ‘I dig comics and so now I get to write comics,” Wyatt said. “Whatever you’re into, if you can find the thing you love and make it your job, you will never feel like you have to work. I love work because it’s something I love doing.”
In addition to “Napolean Dynamite,” Wyatt, a graduate of the Peter Stark Producing Program at the University of Southern California, has written and produced numerous short and feature-length movies, TV shows and books. Currently, he is a lead writer on “Marvel Spider-Man” on Disney XD and “Transformers: Rescuebots Academy” on the Discovery Channel.
Wyatt said his time at Walker has been key to his success because it encouraged him to be entrepreneurial.
He started the school’s first film and video club after being encouraged by the head of school to ask the student council for money to buy equipment. His request was approved and today, Walker has several multimedia and video production classes and a world-class recording studio.
“We were encouraged [at Walker] to come up with ideas about what we wanted to do and then pursue them, and that is what I do now professionally – pitch TV projects,” Wyatt said. “I feel like the skill set I got at Walker is what sustains me as a freelancer in Hollywood.”
Wyatt’s other piece of advice to students is to always work on their imagination.
“Working on your imagination is the most important skill because if you can hold on to that creativity it gives you a competitive advantage in terms of life skills and business,” he said. “The more creative solutions can often disrupt and innovate and give you an advantage no matter what industry you’re in.”
When Wyatt was asked what differentiates Walker from other schools he said: “I valued the private school education I received, so that’s why I send my kids to private school. But where I live (in California), most of the private school are affiliated with one religion or another.
"They’re great schools, and I send my kids to those schools, but I liked that Walker was not affiliated with one religion. It was a place where you would meet Jewish students, Hindu students, and there were students that my kids don’t share a classroom with, and I think that’s a loss.
“I’m sorry that there’s not something like Walker I can send them to.”
Wyatt has also given a nod in his shows and book to a couple of people who were influential during his Walker career – Don Robertson, former Walker Head of School, and Upper School teacher Jean Bayer. Robertson’s name was used for the villain Multi-Farious in “Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters,” and Bayer’s character is in “Alien Bones.”
“Alien Bones” is an original graphic novel about 10-year old Liam Mycroft, who roams the galaxy in a starship with his paleontologist father in search of fossils of extinct alien dinosaurs. But when his father disappears inside the mysterious ruins of an underground alien city, Liam, his best friend Dianna, his robot Standard-5, and his tiny pet dinosaur are launched on a cosmic adventure that could impact the human race.
Wyatt and his publisher, 1First Comics, donated autographed books to each fifth-grader and Walker’s Winship library.
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