Sure! There are plenty of resources for those who might be interested in writing for animation!
Writing for an animated television show or movie isn’t all that different from writing for a live action show or film. There are certainly different schools of thought pertaining to the subject - so it’s important to gather as much information as possible and make your own judgments. Also, be weary if you search on Google because most people are just trying to sell you their books on how to be a writer. I’ll list a few of my personal favorite books at the end of this post; books that I’ve used in school while taking creative writing and screen writing classes.
A lot of animation writers will cram as much information as they can into a script. Some writers will even say that every two pages of an animated script should equal about a minute of running time - while a live action script is a page per minute of film. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the case though. John K. even argues that a single page of script should equal two minutes of film.
Some argue that an animated script needs to be longer and needs to have more information in order to make a storyboard artists job easier; when really you may just be making it harder. The more information there is on a page of script - the more your storyboard artist is going to have to draw. And just like John K. says before you know it you’re paying thousands of dollars for stuff that’s gonna get cut out of the film anyway.
I would personally trust my storyboard artists to fill in the details themselves. It is their job anyway to visualize the film and provide certain visual cues and ideas. But as the writer it is necessary to provide the basic details such as the time of day, setting, characters involved in the scene, dialog, and even providing the type of shot and camera movement that may be involved in the scene. That should be enough for any storyboard artist to understand. You don’t have to write a novel in order to get the idea across that your character got up from the couch and walked across the living room to the kitchen.
As a storyboard artist I’ve boarded scripts that were too complicated and filled with far too much detail and I drew a lot of boards that were cut because of this. When I get a script that is easy to read and provides simple basic information and nothing more - I just want to hug that writer!
Whether you’re writing something long and complicated, or simple and short - always make sure that it has your vision. Don’t sell yourself short!
But really, it depends on who and what you’re writing for.
In the 30’s Disney created the idea that animated film should be as close to life and reality as possible… and their scripts were pretty complicated at the time because of this! But thankfully guys like Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, and the fellas at Termite Terrace kind of broke the Disney tradition. Writing was made simple and the most important and necessary things were left in the hands of the artists - exactly where it should be! Neither approach is wrong though…
In the end, different studios approach writing for animation differently. Some prefer it to be a long, complicated, and winded script… some just want the basics. So it’s important to read what you can and write how ever you feel comfortable writing. So I’ll try to list a few different resources and hopefully they will all help in your quest to be a writer!
Screenwriting Book Resources:
- The Writers Journey by Christopher Vogler
- Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder
- Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee
Animation Book Resources that writers should read:
- The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston
- Animation: The Whole Story by Howard Beckerman
- The Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams
If anyone else has any more sources or references that they want to add, please feel free to reblog and add them!
What are studios looking for? How can I get into a good animation school? What should I be studying?
I get a lot of these types of questions now and again, and I never know how to answer them. I can’t be sure of what studios are looking for, I don’t control admissions policies to schools, and I have little idea what makes for a current and relevant curriculum. There are a lot of variables in your bid for a career in animation, and it’s kind of impossible to control most of them. You must be crazy to want this job!
I find it helpful to focus on the things I can control. Among those things are your study habits and how you spend your personal time. It’s good to work hard and have goals—without them we would get nowhere. Study hard and make decisive strides towards achieving your art goals. But in the heat of that pursuit, don’t forget to go out and live your life!
If you spend any amount of time looking at artists online, you’ve probably figured out by now that there are about a million dudes and dudettes in internetville who draw better than you (I relive this realization daily). Once your have done your best to rise to their level, the only tool you have to compete with these crazy talents is your background, your personal character—is you!
Consider developing your whole self with the same raw focus and intensity that you develop a particular skill set. Get focused. Go out, have adventures. Run, jump, skin your knee, fall in love, root loudly for the away team at a baseball game, barely escape a crash of stampeding rhinos, live to see another day. Experience things big and small. Go for a walk. The world is full of wonders.
I know this advice is not particularly animation-specific, but maybe that’s for the best. At any rate, it is something I feel strongly about. Animation is great, and there are few things that I enjoy doing more than drawing and storytelling. But in order to have stories to tell, first you have to live them.
Be good, and see you soon!
PS, if you were looking for advice on draftsmanship you should probably be reading this.
Then, this one soldier who just wanted a cool photograph gets murdered by terrorists that are specifically targeting Tony Stark.
This was the moment that made Tony Stark reevaluate his entire life.
This was the moment that made Tony Stark cut the weapons program.
This was the moment that Tony Stark became Iron Man.
This was the moment that never truly left him.
Because it’s after this moment that Tony Stark proceeds to spend the rest of his life making peace-signs in photos, in honor of a young man who was more of a man than Tony could’ve ever dreamt of being; whose death Tony spent months agonizing over and trying to ensure wasn’t in vain.
Can you not what are you doing to my feels why are you always doing this.
but the costuming is so historically inaccurate
The armour is from oddly mixed locations and periods..
Exactly what kind of Native American tribe is this suppose to be?
The subtitles on your foreign bad guys aren’t what they’re actually saying.
That didn’t happen for another two years…
THAT OBJECT IS NOT FLAMMABLE
BUT THE VOLCANO WOULDN’T HAVE ERUPTED THAT QUICKLY WTF
JUST BECAUSE A SNAKE IS MOVING DOESN’T MEAN THAT IT’S RATTLING THAT’S NOT EVEN A RATTLESNAKE GOD DAMN.
THOSE AREN’T THE RIGHT FANGS THAT’S NOT WHERE THE TONGUE GOES THEY DON’T MAKE THAT NOISE THAT IS A CAT HISS THAT’S MADE OUT OF LIKE 3 SPECIES THAT ISN’T HOW HEAT PITS WORK THEY CAN’T DO THAT WITH THEIR TONGUE HOW DO YOU GET SOMETHING THAT IS JUST A HEAD ON A BODY SO WRONG
tigers don’t yowl like cats goddamn that bird does not make that noise YOU CANNOT TALK TO EACH OTHER WHILE YOU’RE FREEFALLING AT TERMINAL VELOCITY SHOOTING AT A PARKED CAR DOES NOT MAKE IT EXPLODE THAT PIECE OF WOOD IS LIKE ONE CENTIMETRE THICK IT”S NOT GOING TO STOP A BULLET
GUNS DON’T WORK LIKE THAT! SWORDS DON’T WORK LIKE THAT! ARMOUR DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT! THAT’S IT! I’M REVOKING YOUR WEAPON PRIVILEGES!
NO WHY WOULD YOU PUT A TWIST OF LEMON IN YOUR CAFE LATTE THAT WILL JUST CURDLE THE MILK NO STOP WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU’RE MAKING A TERRIBLE MISTAKE
WHY IS EVERYONE WHITE WHEN IT’S SET IN A PREDOMINATELY NON-WHITE AREA
YOU’RE ON A SPACE STATION. WHY ARE YOU NOT FLOATING? THINGS FLOAT IN SPACE. THAT’S HOW GRAVITY WORKS.
Second attempt at a sorority tank with Lenalee, Kai, and a currently unnamed female. Let’s hope it works out. :B