Showing posts with label scripts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scripts. Show all posts

Saturday, May 07, 2016


I just unearthed some of my old doodles and photos from a box in the garage. Some of these pictures are admittedly terrible and were never meant to be seen by anyone, but...what the's OK to blog about trivial things sometimes, isn't it?

The cat here (above) is even bigger than the dog, which is a mistake, but then again...this isn't a's just a visual way of writing a script. Oops! I spotted a misspelling but hopefully you won't see it.

Here's a REALLY quick doodle from some other cartoon. The dog and the human walking him are going in different directions because I changed my idea in midstream and didn't bother to redraw.

I saved this because it made me realize that there's something surreal about walking in a world where everybody else is walking at the same time. Anyway,
nothing ever came of this because it would have required too much animation.

I don't know why this would interest anyone except my mother, but here's (above) a photo of me at work at Filmation way back in 1980.

Above, the same timid dog we saw in doodle form, a little later in the cartoon. Even squirrels push him around. Once again, this is a fragment of a visual script rather than a storyboard.

I love writing prose but scripts work best when they're drawn out rather than written. There is one drawback to that technique, though. You can unconsciously lose your feel for structure when the story's drawn. That's why it's useful for an artist to outline a story first with words, if only in bullet points.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


It won't come as a suprise to anyone that I'm on the storyboard side of that controversy, especially if we're talking about animated cartoon comedy. I've written in both script and storyboard formats, and the boarded stories always turn out funnier. That's because a board provides constant feedback on how the visuals are going. Some ideas just don't look funny when drawn and it's nice to be able to toss them in favor of something that draws better.

It's also because scripts are a form of book. They're a medium of their own and what feels good in the medium of print often doesn't feel good in animation. As an example, scripts tend to be dialogue-heavy, even when they're written by artists. That's because ddialogue driven scripts are leaner and easier to read. Dialogue comes in trim little columns surrounded by oceans of white space. It looks better on a page. You can read it faster. It's an amazing but true fact that dull, dialogue-heavy, talking head cartoons get made for the trivial reason that their kind of script is easier to read.

Here's an example. This is an excerpt from a first-draught script I wrote for Animaniacs. A witch's candy-covered house attracts the Animaniacs and she tries to eat them. They turn it around and harass the witch to distraction. The script reads OK whenever it depicts dialogue but watch how hard it becomes to read when it describes visual gags:
Which part would you rather read?

It's also true that stories that originate on storyboards tend to emphasize visual gags, the thing that animation is best at. When I'm drawing I naturally pay more attention to the way a character looks in clothes, the way he bends to pick things up, etc. Sometimes these details are so funny that I end up building a whole sequence around them. That feels right to me. Comedy is best when it's about little things. Scripts, on the other hand, favor the overview, the big things and the complex subplots.

Now that scripts dominate there are very few funny cartoons. Since scripts are uncongenial to visual comedy the powers that be have decided to eliminate visual comedy. This is the shocking price we've had to pay for our script addiction.