Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Hoo! Miss a few days, miss a lot. (Responses to below thread)

Wow. Has it really degenerated to this? I leave for two days and viola?

Going off the below post, answering a few points.

* When John K isn't beating the dead horse that is his anti-script bias, I like his site a lot. I've said so, in comments, on his site.

* I never really imagined this as a place to teach young writers to write as much as I saw it as a place where script-based writers could commune and, yes, counter some of the "all animation writers that don't draw" suck sentiment that's out there.
But I'll tell you what: I'm more than happy to blog about whatever topic you think is important to animation writing, in the same way when someone said "you'd never put your script up."
Go ahead. Ask away. I'll blather on about that topic from my point of view, but understand that my basic blogging attitude is to see both sides and give merit to "the opposition" as I do. I'm not in this for flame wars.

* The reason John K is discussed as much here - by me, I suppose and others - is that he does have weight in the industry. He does have an audience. He preaches to his chorus, and his chorus listens. That being said, I wanted there to be a counterpoint that wasn't edited or moderated by the person that was being discussed.

* The thread about the script writing robot is hilarious. A few years ago, we did an "Art of writing" faux art show at Nickelodeon (on April Fool's Day) that included script pages blown up to the size of poster art. One of the writers did a "Triptych" that included a scene from Some show I cant remember, Ghost Busters and then Danny Phantom that had the same scene done three different times, exactly the same way called "Job Security" (I think.) It was self-aware and funny.

* The crack about body odor is completely unfair. It's a stereotype that works with ALL animation professionals, not just writers. But I think it's particularly accurate to those of us (self included) who read comic books. I have just recently learned the wonders of powder.

- Steve

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Eddie Fitzgerald wrote a bedtime story today. click on his bloggage

Steve said...

Yes. Yes he did.

And it's pretty damned funny.

Mike said...

I used to think John K.'s blog was informative and entertaining, despite his periodic anti-writer, anti-calarts rants. But lately it just seems kind of cuckoo to me. Kind of like he got to the end of his lesson and discovered that he still had three hours of class to fill. It's not even fun weird now. It's like he's trying to live up to the Something Awful "cranky old man on animation's front porch" description.

Have another drink and hit on some more girls in the office. said...

I don't think you'll find the particular bias of "hating writers that don't draw" to prevalent in the artist working in animation. What you will find is artists that hate writers that write poorly.
Work on that and you will find the the divide between artists and writers closing.
Unfortunately in this business, if you can write a complete sentence, you can fool an executive into thinking you can write creatively. So hacks have and will continue to prevail the business on animation.

Anonymous said...

I love it when writers can't spell the word "too" and use garbled syntax like, "So hacks have and will continue to prevail the business on animation." It's the writing equivalent of Cathy Guswaite.

crybaby hack said...

boohoohoohoo... i get paid more than any artist in animation and get made a producer without any real animation experience even though my writing is complete shit i still can't understand why artists resent me... boohoohoohoo... i just don't understand it but i want everyone to like me because i'm a insecure showbiz phony... boohoohoohoo... johnk upsets me because he points out how shitty most animation scripts are... boohoohoohoo... it's not enough that executives all kiss my ass i want artists to love me too... boohoohoohoo... i make artists lives hell with my ineptitude but still can't understand why they might possibly not appreciate me... boohoohoohoo

Steve said...

crybaby hack said... (And I'll assume he's yipping at my ankle here.)

boohoohoohoo... i get paid more than any artist in animation and get made a producer

Well, I'm an executive producer, but yeah, okay. I see what you're getting at.

without any real animation experience

Unless you count the fact that I've been writing cartoons for ten years and slowly working my way up from a guy who pitched stories to where I am today.

even though my writing is complete shit

Conjecture, but you're welcome to your opinion.

i still can't understand why artists resent me

I don't feel resented by artists. I feel resented by anonymous internet trolls but that's okay. I resent them back.

... boohoohoohoo... i just don't understand it but i want everyone to like me because i'm a insecure showbiz phony...

Mmmm... no, I really don't care if everybody likes me. It's not a popularity contest. That being said, I don't go out of my way to be an asshole, either. I'll leave that you.

boohoohoohoo... johnk upsets me because he points out how shitty most animation scripts are...

No, actually, I agree with him on somethings and I disagree with him on others. But since he's the self-appointed "PRESIDENT OF ALL CARTOONING" then he's fair game.

boohoohoohoo... it's not enough that executives all kiss my ass i want artists to love me too...

Now I doubt you're actually talking about me.

boohoohoohoo... i make artists lives hell with my ineptitude

Conjecture. Maybe it's you.

but still can't understand why they might possibly not appreciate me... boohoohoohoo

Not trying to be appreciated. Believe it or not, I like working with artists, but I understand who I'm writing cartoons for.

Kids.

That's the ACTUAL 6 to 11 year olds that watch them, not the infant I'm replying to here.

infant said...

apparently you're an egoist as well. i wasn't referring to any specific person.

Steve said...

Really? Im an egoist because you were directing things at someone, and I was the someone who started the post?

AND as an egoist, I want to assume that negative things are being said directly to me?

Tell ya what. Apology accepted.

Because I dont think I'm most of the above things apply to me either, obviously. But I had no problem playing devil's advocate.

someone with a really long alias said...

you just proved all of my points. thank you.

That One Asian Guy at Disneyland said...

What you will find is artists that hate writers that write poorly.

Actually, from what I can tell from you and other anonymous trolls online, what we find are artists who hate EVERYBODY.

Artists who hate writers.
Artists who hate executives.
Artists who hate the union.
Artists who hate the art schools.
Artists who hate the shows they work on.
Artists who hate the shows they're not working on.
Artists who hate other artists.

I've never heard a writer hate on an artist. N-E-V-E-R. Meanwhile, other artists rip each other apart for sport. I think they teach a class on it at CalArts. "He's a rip-off of Timm." "He's a rip-off of John K." "He's a rip-off of early 18th century Flemish impressionists."

Let me put it another way. You bitter artists are the online troll equivalent of Linux users. And you can go on and on about how much better you are than the rest of us Mac and Windows users. You can even go trolling about on other people's blogs and message boards looking to poke people in the eye to prove your Linux superiority.

Just don't expect to be taken very seriously when you try to present your OPINIONS as facts. Best of luck doing something with that enormous chip on your shoulder.

RedDiabla said...

Wow.

Just...

wow.

Mike said...

Rare transcript of the time John K was calling in every night to Rudy Giuliani's radio show --

Giuliani: The excessive concern that you have for cartoon writers is something you should examine with a therapist. Not with me.
Kricfalusi: Don't go insulting me again!
Giuliani: I'm not insulting you. I'm being honest with you. Maybe no one in your life has ever been honest with you.
Kricfalusi: I happen to be more sane than you.
Giuliani: This conversation is over, John. Thank you. [Mr. Giuliani cuts him off.] There is something really, really, very sad about you. You need help. You need somebody to help you. I know you feel insulted by that, but I'm being honest with you. This excessive concern with old cartoons is a sickness.
I'm sorry. That's my opinion. You don't have to accept it. There are probably very few people who would be as honest with you about that. But you should go consult a psychologist or a psychiatrist, and have him help you with this excessive concern, how you are devoting your life to old cartoons.
There are people in this city and in this world that need a lot of help. Something has gone wrong with you. Your compulsion about it, your excessive concern with it, is a sign of something wrong in your personality. I do not mean to be insulting. I'm trying to be honest with you and I'm trying to give you advice for your own good. I know you, I know how you operate, I know how many times you called here this week. Three or 4 o'clock in the morning, John, you called here.
You have a sickness. I know it's hard for you to accept that, because you hang on to this sickness, and it's your shield, it's your whatever. You know, you gotta go to someone who understands this a lot better than I do. And I know you're real angry at me, you're gonna attack me, but actually you're angry at yourself and you're afraid of what I'm raising with you. And if you don't deal with it, I don't know what you're gonna do. But you called here excessively all week, and you called here at 3 o'clock in the morning. And 4 o'clock in the morning. Over cartoon writers. Over old cartoons.
So I know this is difficult and tomorrow one of the newspapers will write how mean I am and how cruel I am and all this other stuff, but I believe, because my father and mother taught me this, that you should be honest with people. And I am giving you the benefit of 55 years of experience having represented hundreds and in some cases thousands of people on either side in the courtroom, having handled insanity defenses and cases.
You need help! And please get it! And you don't have the right to call here at three o'clock in the morning, harass the people on my staff, because of your compulsion. So, John, see what you can do to get help. But we can't help you. We don't have the professional expertise to help you. Now we're gonna move on to Richard in the Bronx.

artist who hates said...

why should writers hate on artists? artists are the ones required to clean up their shit.
animation artists are angry because the industry itself is in an absolutely shitty state and no one ever listens when artists try to approach these problems resonably so we raise a stink online to blow off steam.
all of you "why don't you do something to help change things for the better" idiots are ignoring the fact that artists are CONSTANTLY trying to improve things but we are constantly shot down with the 'shut up and draw - let the grownups do the thinking' mentality.
idiots have infected the industry to the point where there is no hope of saving it and that angers us because we know that it could be better, but no one listens.
this blog is proof of that.
the writers here are more obsessed with anonymity and anger to look behind it and ask themselves WHY artists are so angry and even consider the remotest possibility that writers may be contributing to it.
most of the artists i've seen comment here and on other boards don't hate writers, they just want writers to make an effort to strive for improvement... this radical notion is always met with screeching denial that there is a problem.
but i guess i'm just wrong... i guess artists are just angry for the sake of being angry and all cartoon writers are brilliant.

Mike said...

FYI - for the real deal, which is pretty damned funny and scary --

http://www.oliverwillis.com/files/rudy_ferret.mp3

Get a drink and start hitting on all those girls out in the bull pen. said...

Don't listen to him! He is crazy! Really....really he is. Please don't listen to him....please.
It's giggle worthy how one lone cartoonist with, how you say... too much time on his hands, puts the worry of god into you that some executives are going to see through your pathetic facades.
Please enjoy the run on sentence.

I know your upset. <- That one is just so you can practice your proof reading

That One Asian Guy at Disneyland said...

I should just shut up and let someone else handle this, but I've got too much time on my hands today-

why should writers hate on artists? artists are the ones required to clean up their shit.

Nice. I'm not going to use this as evidence that all artists are like this, because I think some of you artists really do like working with writers. Some of us are the Stan Lee to your Jack Kirby, the Mark Evanier to your Sergio Aragones, the Chris Claremont to your John Byrne (that's not an insult at you, I swear! :) ).

We writers like you guys, we respect your talents and hard work, we LOVE working with you. Some of our favorite work is when they let us in the same room with you to collaborate.

You can keep hating us, under this guise of, "We only hate the bad ones." But we like you guys.

animation artists are angry because the industry itself is in an absolutely shitty state

Your opinion. I compare the breadth and quality of animation being produced now compared to when I grew up. I think it's a lot better now. Just my opinion.

the writers here are more obsessed with anonymity and anger to look behind it and ask themselves WHY artists are so angry and even consider the remotest possibility that writers may be contributing to it.

Actually, I would posit that the reason it's easy to dismiss your complaints is because-

A. You're arguments are based on opinions taken as fact.

Hey, I could argue til we're all blue in the face that Jesus Christ is the only true God and all the other religions lead straight to hell. As long as I keep presenting my view as FACT and not opinion? We just go around in circles. For examples, see any internet argument over Macs vs Windows vs Linux.

And B. It's easier to dismiss a ranting bitterman.

And I hate to break it to you, but some of you online artist trolls sound like those old guys who hang out in front of my local Starbucks.

"Baseball today is unwatchable. That Smush Parker couldn't last a day against the old 1941 Yankees."
"I feel bad for kids today. Hollywood is a total joke. They haven't made a good movie since 1872."

I can almost picture you guys typing these rants from the internet cafe at the Woodland Hills Retirement home.

they just want writers to make an effort to strive for improvement... this radical notion is always met with screeching denial that there is a problem.

Gotcha. So you want us to change things by... (re-reads)... oh, wait. You just wrote five or six angry paragraphs without a single example of what writers should be doing differently. It's just you complaining about how everything sucks. Or, I should say, blowing off steam... in our faces.

but i guess i'm just wrong... i guess artists are just angry for the sake of being angry and all cartoon writers are brilliant.

Good, paint yourself as the victim - nicely done.

Once again, artists. We writers like you guys. We like working with you. We want to make you look good and we want you to make us look good. If you want us to change something, tell us.

But if you want us to be the punching bag for you when you get tired of hating the art schools, hating your show, hating other people's shows, hating other artists, hating execs, hating the commissary food, hating the union, hating the voice actors, hating the line producers, hating your arthritic joints... then so be it.

If you can't respect us as your collaborators, fine - just don't expect us to thank you for telling us we suck.

Anonymous said...

The problem is not the writers- it's the EXECUTIVES and PRODUCTION COMPANIES. The story editors and writers HAVE to deal with a typhoon of idiotic notes. There are brand concerns, S&P concerns, educational agendas, and then all the bullshit "having to justify their job" notes that come from the executrons. It's how it's done... but it's not the writer's fault. The writers are just on the front-line of having to deal with all that crap. All of this errodes every single script, no matter how brilliant it may have been to start with. It's no more relevant than a writer complaining to a board artist that they don't like the character designs of the show he/she is working on, and expecting them to change it. They can't.

it's like talking to a wall said...

"If you want us to change something, tell us."
obviously "telling you" doesn't do much good because we've been doing that for 20 years now and scripts keep getting shittier.
the rest of your rebuttle is so pointless i'm not going to address it.

Nick said...

Wait... Scripts were better 20 years ago? On what? Beverly HIlls Teens? Dinosaucers? Master of the Universe? Rambo?

The Great Wall of China (No Longer At Disneyland) said...

obviously "telling you" doesn't do much good because we've been doing that for 20 years now and scripts keep getting shittier.

Allow me to extend an olive branch to you. Because again, we writers like you artists.

As one writer to an artist, please don't give up on "telling us". If you have a chance to work with a writer on a show or movie project, don't just assume that the writer sucks and he/she is not going to listen to you. Because again, honestly, we LIKE you guys. When an artist talks to me, especially one who's older than me and has 20 years experience, I shut up and listen.

So if you choose not to get into a circular argument here on the web where we throw our opinions at each other until one of us gets tired, that's fine. I certainly understand that.

But please. On whatever show/movie you're working on, if the opportunity arises, talk to the writer and give him suggestions. Don't tell him he sucks because he's a writer. Tell him what you think would make your show/project better. Maybe, just maybe, he'll take your advice and use it on that show or the next show he works on. And so on. And so on.

And then you've changed the industry for the better. Even if it's only a little bit.

RedDiabla said...

Great Wall of China: First, that Mr. T intro made me want to wash my brain with battery acid. Thank you for showing how bad stuff has existed in animation for quite a while. Excuse me while I go throw up now.

Anyway, a problem I've faced being in the industry and having the ability to talk to the writers about ANYTHING is that I don't know who the writers are. They're rarely on-site at studios anymore. Some of them have been elitist assholes in the past, and couple that with the usually-awkward drawing-type, and it's a combination that doesn't work out too swell for the artist. The artist then comes to the conclusion that most writers are jerks who don't want to talk to the artists on ANY level whatsoever. And sometimes the artists are correct in thinking that way.

And then anonymous says this:

The problem is not the writers- it's the EXECUTIVES and PRODUCTION COMPANIES. The story editors and writers HAVE to deal with a typhoon of idiotic notes. There are brand concerns, S&P concerns, educational agendas, and then all the bullshit "having to justify their job" notes that come from the executrons. It's how it's done... but it's not the writer's fault. The writers are just on the front-line of having to deal with all that crap.

True dat. Wouldn't it be awesome if writers were able to TALK to artists and everyone realizes that our situations are more similiar than different in the end and maybe, I dunno, suggest some sort of alternative to the way the industry is being run?

Wait, that's borderline constructive and would cut down on anonymous internet rants, wouldn't it. Nevermind.

Anonymous said...

"Some of us are the Stan Lee to your Jack Kirby"

That relationship was EXACTLY like what artists complain about. Kirby did all the work and Lee got all the money.

Jack Kirby said...

AMEN!!!

Steve said...

Yeah... I have to say, bad analogy.

To the art community, it's like going "I'm the Hitler to your Poland!"

Please notice how I cleverly inserted Hitler into an internet discussion.

The Humbled Wall of China said...

Anyway, a problem I've faced being in the industry and having the ability to talk to the writers about ANYTHING is that I don't know who the writers are. They're rarely on-site at studios anymore. Some of them have been elitist assholes in the past, and couple that with the usually-awkward drawing-type, and it's a combination that doesn't work out too swell for the artist. The artist then comes to the conclusion that most writers are jerks who don't want to talk to the artists on ANY level whatsoever. And sometimes the artists are correct in thinking that way

I can't argue with anything you said. With some studios/networks shrinking writing staffs and freelancing all the scripts, they're effectively cutting off the writers from the artists.

But I hope this dialogue that Steve has set up here will help improve things. We're not all elitist a-holes. And we DO like to talk to the artists.

That relationship was EXACTLY like what artists complain about.

Fair enough. I apologize for the bad analogy. I was going more for the "Great Work Apart-Even Greater Work Together" collaborative angle, not the money or glory hound or credit or unreturned original art.

But point taken.

In my defense, it was a storyboard artist friend of mine who told me that Lee-Kirby collaboration was what we should aim for. Now I wonder if he was just messing with me...

Anonymous said...

The problem is not the need for more collaboration... if the problem were that small it wouldn't provoke so much anger.
How can an artist approach a writer and say "I'm having a problem with this script... it makes absolutely no sense and is utterly lacking in basic story structure"?
THOSE are the scripts that drive artists insane.

Marty said...

Anonymous said...
The problem is not the need for more collaboration... if the problem were that small it wouldn't provoke so much anger.
How can an artist approach a writer and say "I'm having a problem with this script... it makes absolutely no sense and is utterly lacking in basic story structure"?
THOSE are the scripts that drive artists insane.

And now Marty sez:

My answer to that is to get the artists involved in the story process as early as possible. For the show I'm currently working on, when I first break a story with a freelance writer, I call a lunch meeting with the writer, the supervising director, the art director, and the two directors on the show. Working off a basic springboard we bat around ideas together and can usually avoid any potential production glitches. Everybody contributes. The result is a wealth of great ideas, a story direction the artists are already excited about, and better morale on a production already plagued with ridiculous deadlines and long late nights.

This might not work for every crew or production (there's always that old ugly problem of the freelance story editor who's not working in the building and never gets to meet the artists), but it works particularly well on our show. Not every story editor/producer is willing or able to work this way, but I would encourage them to try it.

V Tonic said...

Anonymous said...
The problem is not the need for more collaboration... if the problem were that small it wouldn't provoke so much anger. How can an artist approach a writer and say "I'm having a problem with this script... it makes absolutely no sense and is utterly lacking in basic story structure"? THOSE are the scripts that drive artists insane.


I've worked in animation for over 12 years as a producer, writer, and story editor... not offense intended, but I've met very few artist who come close to understanding story or structure. I've seen whole scenes torn out by artists, gags destroyed, and character arcs lost in favor of the artist going off on some tanget they think is "cool" visually, rather than holding to the integrity of the story. That's what frustrates writers. And when the artist is approached about this in an effort to find an agreeable solution, it usually falls on deaf ears or ends up with the artist thinking that the writer is trying to "bully them"--- and they're not.

what a load of shit said...

"I've met very few artist who come close to understanding story or structure."

maybe they don't understand YOUR version of story structure with the typical cartoon writer's devotion to having an A, B, and C story (jammed into an 11 minute cartoon) with a complicated and confusing "story arc" (a term people love to throw around to make it sound like their nonsensical scripts are justifiably over-written) and endless stream of bad puns and weak catchphrases.

"I've seen whole scenes torn out by artists"

oh the horrors! maybe this was in the interest of actually meeting the deadling and turning in a board that actually works within the timeframe of the cartoon.

"gags destroyed, and character arcs lost in favor of the artist going off on some tanget they think is "cool" visually, rather than holding to the integrity of the story."

i don't believe this for a minute since most storyboard artists are so browbeaten by the system that makes writers gods and board artists shit that very few have the bravery to dare deviate from scripts. but for the sake of argument, let's say that's true: cool visuals are why kids watch cartoons. period. be grateful the artist cares enough to try to make it cool. the clever wordplay and pop-culture references that make you and your sit-com buddies chuckle is lost on young viewers because they actually have taste.

"And when the artist is approached about this in an effort to find an agreeable solution"

now you're REALLY creating fiction. this never happens. ever. writers don't give a good goddamn about artists no matter how many cocktail parties you throw or blogs you take up saying "we like you." bullshit. if writers wanted to make nice with artists, they'd quit their bitching and learn how to write for animation and stop denying the overwhelming lack of quality in cartoon scripts.

and by the way, blaming an artist for "killing a gag" is every bit as chickenshit as a board artist blaming the overseas studio for killing the board with bad animation... if your precious gag didn't work in the storyboards it's most likely because you didn't give the artist enough information to make it work. you guys forget that just because you can visualize it in your head doesn't mean everyone else can, and if it's not on the page it's going to get lost in the shuffle.

i'm not saying there aren't shitty storyboard artists out there... there are plenty of shitty storyboard artists.
but storyboarding is about ten billion times more complex and requires about a million more seperate skill sets than being a scriptwriter. it's a harder job. period.
and shitty writers make an already impossibly hard job even harder.

maybe you'd get better results form your board artists if you helped make their lives just a tiny bit easier. being overworked breeds deep resentment and i'm sure lots of board artists hack out their work because if the script is shit to begin with, why should they break their backs to polish a turd?

oh... right... it's their "job" to "punch up" the script... add that to the already daunting list of "duties" a board artist has.

go write a bad pun.

Mike said...

Now THAT is one bitter artist.

V Tonic said...

Dude, I said "no offence intended" and still you took offence!

;-)

Quite expected.

Eh... I don't agree with all your points. I won't bother to counter point by point... I'm sure it would just illicit a further flaming. Once I get past the raging anger of your tone I see there are some valid points. But writers are under horrible deadlines as well (as are the editors, directors, post people, etc.) I know that artists think we just sit down tap out a script and money rains down from above on us. Not the case, not even close.

So in short, the answer to all of the troubles you (and every artist) faces in animation would be solved if there were no writers involved in the process at all. Okay fine-- if that's the case, then why don't you (and all the other artist) step up and take over the writing duties? What's stopping you? Since writing is so easy then it shouldn't be difficult for any artist to get the job, and since artists are the only ones who understand animation, who could possibly be more qualified? All you gotta do is "do it". The job's there, take it.

And no fair saying, "But the executives wouldn't let us... blah, blah, blah," EVERYONE has to deal with the executives, why should you be any different? So become the writer and stop whining. Or maybe it's just hell of a lot easier to bitch about it than do something about it.

Get a drink and start hitting on all those girls out in the bull pen. said...

Don't kid yourself, if an executive knows you can draw, you wil be last person in line to be accepted as a writer.
Even with estabished hits in your writing credits, you will be the last in line for a writing gig.

get a drink and start hitting on all those girls out in the bull pen. said...

Established

how dense can you be? said...

"So in short, the answer to all of the troubles you (and every artist) faces in animation would be solved if there were no writers involved in the process at all"

HOW MANY TIMES DO WE NEED TO SAY THAT WE DON'T WANT WRITERS TO DISAPPEAR, WE JUST WANT THEM TO NOT BE SHITTY?!
IF WE SAY IT A THOUSAND MORE TIMES WILL IT FINALLY SINK IN? TWO THOUSAND? TEN?!
HOW HARD IS IT TO UNDERSTAND?!

this blog and this discussion is useless.

Get a drink and start hitting on all those girls out in the bull pen. said...

It boils down to no one thinks of themselves as being a shitty writer.
Their pay check every week proves to them they are not shitty. So you must not know what you are talking about. Anyway you're an artist, how the hell would you know if a script is shitty our not?

v tonic said...

Get a Drink: "Don't kid yourself, if an executive knows you can draw, you wil be last person in line to be accepted as a writer."

That's a cop out. It's simple to do: Downplay your "art" side, present yourself as a writer. Pitch a show - on the page. Write up some premises, pitch to other shows. Write some sample scripts. Get the job. That's how everyone else does it.

Generally Executives prefer that the writers they hire have little or no previous experience in animation - seriously. A long list of animation writing credits works against a writer. That's why we're constantly taking credits off our resume and limiting what's on it. So just a few recent credits or none with a good sample will put you ahead of the pack. No joking.

V Tonic said...

HOW MANY TIMES DO WE NEED TO SAY THAT WE DON'T WANT WRITERS TO DISAPPEAR, WE JUST WANT THEM TO NOT BE SHITTY?!
IF WE SAY IT A THOUSAND MORE TIMES WILL IT FINALLY SINK IN? TWO THOUSAND? TEN?!
HOW HARD IS IT TO UNDERSTAND?!


I (we) understand that, however there are a considerable number of artists who would like to see "writers who don't draw" not working in animation. But we have no more control over shitty writers than you do shitty artists that you work with (unless you're the one hiring them). Many MANY times excellent writers are put in a position of doing shitty work (and we know it) it's due to schedules, stupid executive and studio meddling that HAS TO BE FOLLOWED in the scripts... let me repeat in case you didn't get that, EXECUTIVE AND STUDIO MEDDLING THAT HAS TO FOLLOWED IN THE SCRIPTS.

We do what we can, the best we can to make the process as easy as possible for the artists, at least I do. We all work on shows we don't like. I've worked on lots of shows that were ill-conceived from the start. An artist had a great set of drawings, a basic concept, but not enough for an entire series... and it gets greenlit. So the writers are left fumbling around as the show gets developed WHILE IT'S IN PRODUCTION. And that always creates a pile of crap.

That's not the writers' fault or even the artists' it's the studio and how the system functions... yeah that's an old tune, but just because you're tired of hearing it doesn't mean it's not true.

I too don't want there to be any "shitty writers". I also don't want there to be any shitty artists, or directors, government workers, doctors, lawyers, etc. But there will be, always.

The goal is to lessen the number of shitty writers or artist and teach the ones we can to be better.

This is like the army and navy shooting at each other when neither side is to blame, it's the government.

Anonymous said...

I've seen whole scenes torn out by artists

You mean that scene with the squadron of Japanese dive bombers buzzing the city and police squad cars arriving with lights flashing at the football game while the halftime show is going on? The scene you wrote a song for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the bleachers to sing so you would get royalties for the lyrics?

Anonymous said...

Generally Executives prefer that the writers they hire have little or no previous experience in animation

That's because they want someone even more unqualified than them around. It makes them look good in comparison.

RedDiabla said...

You mean that scene with the squadron of Japanese dive bombers buzzing the city and police squad cars arriving with lights flashing at the football game while the halftime show is going on? The scene you wrote a song for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the bleachers to sing so you would get royalties for the lyrics?

OK, this cracked me up, because it happens tooooo often in animated scripts. With schedules getting tighter and tighter while boards are expected to look prettier and prettier and the scripts are getting longer and longer, seeing the above in scripts makes a board artist want to commit hari-kiri with their pencils.

So, dear animation writers, where does the over-writing come from? You or executives, or both? Why are, say, 11-minute cartoon scripts over 20 pages? When did the classic 1 page=1 minute of screen time equation get thrown out? Why?

Board artists try to streamline scripts so that they're more simple to follow...why not just write them simply anyway? Wouldn't that be less stress on both the writers and the artists? Wouldn't it be great if the "less is more" philosophy be reintroduced to the industry?

v tonic said...

That is not an example of "over-writing" it's "over-staging" there's a difference.

Very often the note to make things "bigger" comes from studio and executive notes - not always, but quite often.

The 1 page 1 minute note has been debated and debated all around this forum, so I won't flog that dead nag here. It varies depending on the production and type of show. There is no hard rule for it.

But, the executive notes, the S&P notes, the studio notes, network notes, brand marketing notes, etc. ALL add length to a script. And since these notes HAVE TO BE INCORPORATED BY THE WRITERS, WE HAVE NO CHOICE IN THE MATTER , then in order to keep the length manageable cuts are made, tweaks and trims... until what originally was a simple, funny, easy to follow story gets mutated into a piece of crap that barely holds together and is overly complicated. You think we don't know that? And don't do our damnest to make it work? We do! Goddamnit do ever we try to make those scripts work! But before it can be reworked any further it has to move on to the artists... and then "you guys" blame the writers for the shitty scripts, without understanding the process that made what was once a good script suck. A process overwhich we don't have any power as writers.

The artists have made it very clear what they want to animate:

-No new backgrounds
-No new characters.
-No new props.
-No crowds
-No flashbacks.
-No songs or musical numbers.
-No moving camera shots.
-Very little or no dialog.

We get it! But there aren't many animated series where it's just two characters in a flat environment interacting with held poses and not speaking.

bullshit said...

that's all such a cop out.
just as it's the storyboard artist's job to fix your inept scripts, following the network notes (boo hoo hoo) AND making it work within the format IS PART OF YOUR JOB.
shitty writers in animation aren't scriptwriters... they write executive-compliance-documents.
but they never give thought to the fact that now it has to be made into a cartoon.

RedDiabla said...

But, the executive notes, the S&P notes, the studio notes, network notes, brand marketing notes, etc. ALL add length to a script. And since these notes HAVE TO BE INCORPORATED BY THE WRITERS, WE HAVE NO CHOICE IN THE MATTER , then in order to keep the length manageable cuts are made, tweaks and trims... until what originally was a simple, funny, easy to follow story gets mutated into a piece of crap that barely holds together and is overly complicated. You think we don't know that? And don't do our damnest to make it work? We do! Goddamnit do ever we try to make those scripts work! But before it can be reworked any further it has to move on to the artists... and then "you guys" blame the writers for the shitty scripts, without understanding the process that made what was once a good script suck. A process overwhich we don't have any power as writers.

So the writers are as powerless as the artists? They have no power of persuasion at all? Hmmmm.

We all know that artists will say to each other, "Just about nothing we're working on now holds a candle to classic cartoons from the 30's, 40's, 50's and maybe early-early 60's." What do writers say to each other?

Is there any way in hell to point out to the execs that the classic characters they mine with cheapquels, etc. have staying power because they weren't done the way animation is done now? And that just about everything done now won't be a continuing cash cow like the classic stuff in the future?

Anyone can bitch about the state of the industry...what can we do about it to improve it?

Anonymous said...

We all know that artists will say to each other, "Just about nothing we're working on now holds a candle to classic cartoons from the 30's, 40's, 50's and maybe early-early 60's." What do writers say to each other?

They talk about taking lunch with the Executive Producer of another show that they are considering writing scripts for on the side.

Steve said...

Actually, I think you'll find writers share stories about things they like - things that made them laugh, things they wished they could do - stuff like that.

There isn't a Monday I don't find myself comparing favorite jokes from Family Guy, or a Thursday I don't talk about South Park.

To that end, I'll also talk to writers about shows I like, like 24, or Heroes.

Yeah, we talk about the past. But we also talk about the present, because - unlike people who can't talk about anything other than "it was better when" - we're living in it.