Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Minutes of the Secret Writers Meeting

::DO NOT DISSEMINATE::

The meeting was called to order at 12:02 AM after the usual opening ritual of pissing on Chuck Jones' grave, (we think it's THE Chuck Jones but most of us aren't even sure if the guy's alive or dead).

OLD BUSINESS - we received a report on Project K. Our mole in the artist community is doing a great job polarizing writers and artists and preventing them from having any meaningful dialogue that might improve things.

NEW BUSINESS - A plan to convince Cartoon Network to air live action shows but not change its name, thereby redfining cartoons to include live action was rejected as being too far fetched.

In short, our plan to destroy all cartoons by 2011 is currently on schedule.

-Provost Seven

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve, you BASTARD! Those minutes were not supposed to be revealed to the public at large!!! Let alone to a blog community where "artists" have access! Now we'll have to kill the mole! At least the location of Walt's frozen head that we're holding hostage is still safe. No one will think of looking in the ball return at Pickwick Lanes... oh DAMN!

Bob Harper said...

Sweet - trivializing the issue has solved the whole problem. :)

Anonymous said...

I don't think the issue was trivialized. I think Provost Seven made his point through the use of humor. Perhaps it was lost on you because it was written and did not occur while a Golden Age cat/pig/bear was chasing a Golden Age bird/dog/mouse with a Golden Age mallet/axe/frying pan.

Bob Harper said...

Sorry, Mr. Brave Anonymous I guess I should've used more words instead a pictogram smiley face to convey I was kidding.

Maybe you haven't noticed my other posts to know I don't fall into the Golden Age Only camp - My favorite cartoon is Rocky and Bullwinkle. I'd put a wink icon, but I guess that would be misconstrued as an attack, or for the true Golden Age campers, a secret sign of Popeye.

So anyways. Smiley Face, Wink, LOL and all that good stuff.

Steve said...

I have to say: I didn't post this.

I have to say: I'm glad it was posted.

Anonymous said...

Answering the last thread, which I'm guessing is breaking about 9 netiquette rules...

"Roy, I'm curious as to which board driven shows you are aware of that have have failed?"

At Disney, the most notable one was
"Nightmare Ned." Not that it wasn't a great crew, or a prety good show, but it only lasted one season. And for some reason was despised by management so it's never even been shown on Toon Disney.

Also, if not strictly a board show (though I think it was) "Shnookums and Meat" was a pretty expensive failure. Again, some great people, but ultimately a lot of gaggy wheel spinning.

Maybe the third time will be the charm with "Phinias and Ferb" at Disney.

I like being brave anonymous, by the way. This community is so small, I feel like you need to be anonymous to speak honestly. Besides, you reveal yourself and next thing you know Youtubes your old stand-up is being held up for ridicule.

Oh wait, that was Steve ;)

Anonymous said...

Uh huh huh huh


He said, "disseminate."


UH huh huh huh huh


Like, that means something, right?

Bob Harper said...

"I like being brave anonymous, by the way. This community is so small, I feel like you need to be anonymous to speak honestly..."

So now ya calling me a liar?
(smiley face)

Anonymous said...

Steve,

What is your email address? I have a business proposition to run by you. I can be more specific in a private email. Thanks for your time.

Patrick P.

P.S. Or you can contact me at vols1984@yahoo.com

Steve said...

Hey there;

I'm hoping the proposition is "I'll give you $100 to shut up about animation writing..."

- Steve

Anonymous said...

you havent really written about animation writing. youve written about how animators should not complain about badly written scripts.

Vincent Waller said...
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Vincent Waller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vincent Waller said...

Anonymous sighted Nightmare Ned and Snookums and Meat as board driven shows that had failed and were full of gaggy wheel spinning.


As someone that worked on Nightmare Ned, I'd like to throw out there, that it was a board driven show in in as much as we were allowed to NOT follow the mostly mediocre scripts. Donavon Cook knew he had a talented and funny crew of board guys, and was wise enough to let them do what they do best.
On Ned I didn't see any of the usual and twice tread gags that a few of you have mentioned. In fact they were some of the funniest character boards I've ever seen. Boards done by a crew that then went on to work on another TRUE board driven show, that was anything but a failure called SpongebeBob SquarePants. There were a lot of problems with the Ned show, but being board driven wasn't one of them.

As I saw the problems with Ned, they were, 1.The high tensions between Disney Exec.s and the creators of Nightmare Ned. He originated from a video game the two camps were constantly wrestling over how to handle little Ned. 2. There were three levels of Exec.s that thought the size of their salaries was an indication of their grasp of story and humor. 3. An ALWAYS, that it had to be completely clear that Ned was dreaming when things got weird. (Before that edict came down, there were some beautiful turns of story, that would slip Ned into his dream world). 4.Some of the flattest Voice Direction I've ever had the displeasure to witness. 5.I felt the Ned design was just about as clunky as it could be. But that was from trying to be true to the game design.
No, being board driven wasn't what killed Nightmare Ned.

As to Snookums and Meat I didn't work on the show, and I've only seen one episode, so I can't speak to how the humor was handled.
I do know that they had some very funny and talented people working on the show. At least one of which said they were forced to lift and entire sequence from an old cartoon and drop it into the show. Again Not the Storyboarder's choice.

But if these two shows are all you've got to represent "Failed" board driven shows, and you're holding them up as some sort of proof that a show needs to be script driven to succeed. Then I'd say you need to pull off the blinders and look at all the script driven shows that didn't make it past a single season.

For the record, I don't hate writers that don't draw. I love working with good writers whether they can draw or not. I'm working with some good writers right now. But good writers, that understand the medium they are working in are unfortunately as scarce as fleas on a dead dogs pecker.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Vincent...

Notice that 3 out of the 5 problems with Ned stem from execs? (Although you don't state it, number 3 reeks of a network note).

Do you think any of them are shedding tears while we sit around and nitpick each other to death? I bet not.

Vincent Waller said...

Christ you can't even put that comment under your real name? Grow a pair my pal.
We can do something about making the writing better.
Who is in charge of the whole shibang, is out of my hands.

Anonymous said...

This thread's proabably long dead, but I feel I should point out that I wasn't claiming that the board driven shows at Disney failed because they were board driven, I just used them as an example of shows that were board driven AND failed. I even pointed out that they were funny shows with great crews. I guess the point is, nothing is foolproof, even though a few people seem to think it would violate the laws of the universe for a board show to fail.

It happens. Mostly for reasons that have nothing to do with the writer/artist debate.

Anonymous said...

This thread's proabably long dead, but I feel I should point out that I wasn't claiming that the board driven shows at Disney failed because they were board driven, I just used them as an example of shows that were board driven AND failed. I even pointed out that they were funny shows with great crews. I guess the point is, nothing is foolproof, even though a few people seem to think it would violate the laws of the universe for a board show to fail.

It happens. Mostly for reasons that have nothing to do with the writer/artist debate.

Anonymous said...

And for the record, I didn't pin gaggy wheel spinning on Ned, that was S&M. Ned was a good show that didn't deserve to be orphaned in the way it was.

I do find it interesting in internet debate how often what you write and what people think you are writing are two different things. For example, I never made any claim in my original post about whether I think board driven shows are somehow inferior, yet by merely answering Vincent's question, I'm accused of that bias. I like 'em all if they're funny.

And the mere fact that you had a litany of excuses out of the artist's control in your Ned post-mortem, writers do that too!

Vincent Waller said...

It's so hard to tell one Anoymous from another, But Anonymous Roy said:

Part of the problem is that there AREN'T enough storyboard artists out there who are good storytellers.

I've seen shows try to be 'board driven' and fail miserably for that very reason.

And do you know why they failed? Because the artists were, in fact, regurgitating material that they had seen in other cartoons.


Then I asked Roy which shows he meant. You, Just Plain Anonymous stepped up and filled in that blank, so I answered you as if you were Anonymous Roy holding Anonymous Roy's feelings about why said shows failed. Sorry if you felt broadsided.

But Anonymous Roy, put up or shut up. What shows failed because of the story artists were as you say vomiting the same old same old?

Vincent Waller said...

apparently it's hard to spell anonymous too!

Roy said...

"Put up or shut up"? Man, you'd think we were talking about life-and-death issues here...
Apart from the couple of shows that were already mentioned, I was also referring to the myriad of shorts-program shorts that have been board driven and sucked really badly.

That's just off of the top of my head.

You may not think of them as 'shows' but they are considered pilots. And when executives see storyboard-driven work that sucks it makes them say "See? It needed a writer."

Now go ahead and get angry and tell me I'm wrong.

Vincent Waller said...
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Vincent Waller said...

wasn't angry when I said put up or shut up, I just wanted some specifics.

I will tell you why and how I think you're wrong to presume that all Storyartists need to be attched to a writer if time allows this evening.

Roy said...

Don't misunderstand me... I didn't say all storyboard artists need to be attatched to a writer.
I said that when something is storyboard-driven and it sucks, it makes execs believe that all storyboard artists need to be attatched to writers.
I just think the number of board artists out there who can carry whole stories by themselves is tragically low. There aren't enough to go around. I wish there were.
The art of real storyboarding has de-evolved in terms of actually creating a story, and that's the real shame.

Anonymous said...

I apologize to bob harper way at the beginning of this thread for not seeing he got the joke.

Anonymous said...

I watched the old short that Vincent Waller directed on the Frederator website - http://frederatorblogs.com/post/3533

I'd be curious if other artists and writers could watch it and maybe make a thread to discuss it as an example. I assume it sort of represents what I'll call the anti-writer camp (I know that's an oversimplification, but just for clarity) would like to see in more cartoons. It might be interesting to talk about some specifics, like what Vincent feels wouldn't have been in there if it wasn't written on board and that sort of thing...

Steve said...

Hey there;

Well... I can't tell people what to post and not post, and I don't want to censor anybody...

...but personally, I would hate to see this blog devolve into that.

Singling out specific people - or worse, looking at their work specifically to find things to criticize - is sort of the reason I wanted a writer-based blog.

Vincent Waller isn't "the enemy," he's just passionate in what he does and he has an opinion about it. But he's a part of the debate here, none the less.

I dunno. I humbly request a "think twice" on this one, especially coming from an anonymous poster.

- Steve

Anonymous said...

heaven forbid someone should express some opinions that arent all positive and glowing

Steve said...

Good point.

You're a pussy.

Feel better now?

Anonymous said...

yawn

Anonymous said...

Ha! You want him, to tell you, what would not have been there if it had been written in script form.
How exactly is he suppose to guess that?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure of your point Steve. I assume since he made and linked to this short from his website, it's representative of his taste in toons. What's wrong with talking about how it was put together? How does that make him the "enemy?"

Steve said...

My point is my point.

I don't like anonymous sniping, and I don't like personal attacks.

Take that as you will.

Vincent Waller said...

I'll be happy go over my work with anyone that is willing to pony up their REAL name, and their work for inspection.

But asking me to say what would have been different in my work had it been written in another style, is a non-question.
I can tell you what I would have done differently looking back on the experience. That doesn't really have a thing to do with the method in which it was written.

Vincent Waller said...

Oh and not to rub it in, but I'm off to go get sweaty in a room full of beautiful women.
Sorry Steve ;)

Vincent Waller said...

Anonymous Roy said...Apart from the couple of shows that were already mentioned, I was also referring to the myriad of shorts-program shorts that have been board driven and sucked really badly.

In Response Vincent said:
(One day I'll learn how to use those HTML tags)

You're correct in assuming I don't think of the shorts programs as failed shows. They're mostly done by kids picked straight out of school, so I wouldn't expect them to get it right first time at bat. Genndy T., Craig McCracken, Steve Hillenberg, John K. all had time working in the business figuring out what worked, and what didn't work before they had their breakout, STORYBOARD TEAM driven hits.
I think sighting the shorts program as being an example numerous Storyboard driven failures, is stacking the deck in order to avoid the fact, that most of the break out hits in the last eighteen years have been Storyboard driven shows.

I've worked on Script shows and I've worked on Storyboard shows, and I feel the Storyboard shows are funnier. The more funny people you have trying to push a shows humor forward, the more chance you have for said show to be funny.
At Spumco everyone looked at everyone's boards and if they thought of something to push the story or a gag, they would share that thought. If it made the finale product better, stronger, and funnier it went in to the show. It was a constantly growing and morphing process.

On script shows the polar oppisite is true. My experience has been that once a show is locked into script, very little is going to done to plus the content. Everyone starts to worry that THIS is the Approved Script, we shouldn't alter it.

In fact when I got into this business, if as a Storyboard Guy you started altering content of a script, you wouldn't be around long. I would get red scribbles on Slimmer Storyboards from the writer showing the angle he preferred the scene to be staged.

Then Came Ren & Stimpy , and everything changed. STORYboard guys were allowed to be what there title suggests, rather than boardatrists.
Or boredArtists ie: a paid wrist.

That being said there are Script driven shows I like. I watch South Park and they make me laugh more often than not. But even though it's a Script show, they have a room full of funny guys working right up until it airs (Paper Puppets are helpful with last minute add ins. ) to make sure the material is as funny as and pertinent as possible. Do I think twenty years from now folks will buying and watching the current episodes of South Park? Probably not. Will they still be buying and watching old Warner Bros., Old Ren and Stimpy's, Old SpongeBob's? My guess is yes, they will.