To be fair, I’ve been waiting for this because:
a) I knew it was coming (see previous blog).
b) This anti-writer attitude is one of the reasons I wanted to open a blog for writers. (Ahem, other writers, feel free.)
Before I start, I will say this: I am not going to attack John K. personally. I don’t know him personally. I will try to be fair professionally, because while he may not consider me an animation professional, I consider him a peer.
That being said, I’m going to go point for point on this . John K’s most recent post in ital, mine in bold.
That way you won't ask animators to do things that don't work in animation.You shouldn't write for any medium that you don't understand, because the people who have to actually make the medium will think you're an idiot and will waste their abilities trying make your awkward "ideas" seem smooth by patching them together with bandaids. That's the basic system the studios use today.”
Problem with your argument #1 – What makes a writer’s ideas any more or less awkward than yours? The basic argument – which is the only argument made here – is that the worst cartoonist is a better cartoon writer than the best cartoon script writer, and that’s horsecrap.
By those standards, the person drawing caricatures at Magic Mountain has more of right to be in animation than, oh I don’t know, a Paul Dini or an Alan Burnett. (Just to pick two names.)
“Ziggy” is done by a cartoonist. So is “Cathy.” You want to give Cathy Guisewite the money to animate that comic strip, then I say have at it. I'd rather throw that money into an open flame.
Would you trust a songwriter to write tunes if he had no way of playing you the tune-or even singing it to you?”
Yes, and those people are called “lyricists.”
It’s a small subsection of the musical community that write the words, and then work with people to bring those songs to life.
Well, here’s how I do it. With my head held high and, ideally, a great working relationship with the people who turn words into cartoons.
With the help of a talented director who has a vision for the show, who can turn the words on the page into the cartoon.
With the knowledge that I look at those people with respect, and understand how hard they’ve worked to get to the point they’re at, and hope that they have the same respect for me.
Knowing that whatever they’re working on is a step between where they started and where they want to be. I’m not so full of myself to think that the person who is working on whatever show I happen to be a writer on is so “honored” to be in my presence that they want nothing else in life.
At no point have I ever deluded myself into thinking that anybody could animate a cartoon… or that I would want just anybody to animate one of my scripts.
But then, that’s me… and a lot of other writers like me. I don’t feel the need to build myself up by pissing on someone else.
That’s one person’s opinion. Just one’s. Just as this blog is one person’s opinion. Mine. I’m not pretending to speak for an entire industry here and my gut tells me, neither was Jeffrey Scott.
“In other words, the magic is that you can slough off all the responsibility of having to know what you are doing on an artist. You don't have to do the hard part. You can write a bad live-action style epic with huge elaborate sets and a cast of thousands, and magically some poor artist (or hundreds of them) is stuck with making it happen - at 12 drawings a second.”
Here's a news bulletin for all cartoon writers: ANIMATION IS NOT CHEAPER THAN LIVE-ACTION. GET THAT CRAZY IDEA OUT OF YOUR HEAD. WE HAVE TO DRAW A PICTURE FOR EVERY 12TH OF A SECOND, SO MULTIPLY YOUR CROWD SCENES BY 12 AND THEN AGAIN BY HOW MANY SECONDS OF SCREEN TIME THE CARTOON IS ON FOR.
I am aware of this. I work with budgets and stay within them.
Lets play with some definitions here.
Instead of calling it the “hard part,” lets call it “labor intensive.” On a show where the story board artists aren’t writing, and are working from a script, this is a complaint about the amount of work that needs to be done, not the quality of the materials being produced.
I agree with the point about elaborate sets and crowd scenes. I agree those can be crutches. But if a writer on a script-driven show is working with producers, directors and board artists that are treated as equals and respected for their opinion… those things can be caught long before anybody has to spend too much time for too little pay off.
And if not, that’s what overtime is for.
One person cannot produce an animated series by himself.
“Obviously, drawing a storyboard gives you a much better idea if a scene or cartoon will work than writing it in words. You can just look at the storyboard in continuity and see it.
Even artists who try to write scripts realize this quickly.I learned by having to draw scenes I first "wrote" in words that some things I thought would work didn't. Then when I sat down and drew the ideas I invented many scenes, character bits and gags that I would never have thought of just by typing the ideas floating in my head and wasting time trying to verbalize them.
Whereas for me, that magic starts on the written page, and moves forward from there. You’re an artist. You draw your ideas. I’m a writer. I write mine. Which brings me to:
No, but he or she CAN explain what he wants differently and if the writer created that show, that’s life.
There is a difference between a job, and a career. Don’t think for one minute the person who was drawing a hammer or an anvil for your production isn’t waiting for the opportunity to sell their own project and be in charge.
Every production has people that are doing their job because it’s a job. And if you’ve never heard otherwise, it’s because people are afraid to be honest to a show’s creator or executive producer with the following:
You work on other people’s dreams because you love what you do, but unless you’re dead on the inside, you’re working to get better… so you get your chance to create something YOU want to create, and then get your vision out there.
John, as one human being to another, I’ll say this:
I respect your talent, I respect your history.
I hope someday I create something that matters as much to fans and the industry as much as your work does and did. And I’m not even saying you’re wrong, for your opinion, on how you want to create your cartoons.
But it amazes me how someone who has spent their entire career working in color can be so incredibly black and white.