Thursday, January 31, 2008

I wouldn't want to see a script for this...

Stephen Worth suggested I write a script based on the "Bugs/Porky" section of "Corny Concerto"

I'll be the first to point out... I don't think you COULD do a script for the Bugs and Porky section of this cartoon.



Something WAS written before this cartoon was boarded... and it was the music. So if anything, the music is the script to service the cartoon, which is whimsy and romp.
About 2:40 seconds worth of cartoon with a wafer thin thru-line that is there to go from gag to gag to gag. (If you're just looking for the "Bugs" part, start watching at about the one minute mark.)

So... while it's a good suggestion, it feels like a bit of a trap. :)

I don't think you can script out a cartoon like this in a way that services what this cartoon wants to do. Nor would I try.

Keep the discussion going tho. Somebody suggested "Tail of Two Kitties." but i'll take a few more before I throw something out for a vote.

Thanks!

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve's quote:
"My point is - ANY show, any board, any cartoon - can be backwards transcribed into script form. "

You just amitted that this one can't and have put caveats on other suggested material. Regardless of which toon you choose to transcribed, you've already proven this statement wrong.

I'm not being antogonistic, just wondering what's the point...

Steve said...

Hah! Good catch.

Actually, "Corny Concerto" could be transcribed... I just don't think it can be transcribed well.

And you're right - as I think through this idea (I'll get to it eventually) - I am adjusting it. And when I'm wrong, I'll own up to it.

Could "Concerto" be written in script form? You bet. Would it translate? No.

Remember: I absolutely believe that board artists are writers, and I absolutely believe there are some cartoons that should not be written in script form.

So, I'm still taking suggestions:
* Tale of Two Kitties
* Rabbit Season / Duck Season

Other suggestions?

Anonymous said...

This is a silly discussion. No, you couldn't start with a script and just by following that exactly wind up with Corny Concerto. In the same way, you couldn't start with a script and wind up with an exact replica of 2001 or the shower scene in Psycho or any David Lean movie or any live-action film with a lot of pantomime or visuals. No one who knows anything about filmmaking thinks a script is supposed to cause the reader to imagine the finished film. After you finish turning Tale of Two Kitties into a script, watch Woody Allen's Manhattan and see if you can turn that into a screenplay that would cause a studio executive to imagine what the final film would look like.

What is real silly about this exercise is that even on a lot of great cartoons the gagmen really just contributed the same things that you would contribute with a typed script. On Rabbit Seasoning, Michael Maltese thought up the wonderful wordplay and situations that made that cartoon funny. He drew his ideas out in story sketch form but Maltese wasn't much of an artist and all Jones took from what he did was the same thing Jones would have taken if Maltese had done a typed script. There is nothing of Maltese's visuals in the finished film. Jones took the jokes and the situations and the dialogue.

Visual humor is important in any kind of comedy filmmaking, not just animation. Visual humor is often not best conveyed with a script but that doesn't mean Woody Allen should stop writing his films and hire a cartoonist.

Slippery Lips said...

Wow, Woody Allen's films has to be one of the worst analogies I can think of in this context.(Not trying to be mean)
There is very little in a Woody script that is visual. Other than cut to a young Woody sitting at a breakfast table the Coney Island coasters shakes the house as it roars over head.

Steve said...

Naw, right now I'm thinking "Duck Hunting / Rabbit Hunting" is the best pick of the bunch, but I'm leaving the discussion open for a little bit more.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the analogy is an excellent one - a writer/director/filmmaker and stand-up who was there at some of the most important and influential times in television and film. The dialogue is just a part of his vision and voice, although an important one. A creative who has constantly challenged himself and his work. The greatest artist/cartoonist/directors/animation filmakers approach their craft in much the same way. Drawing/writing/directing/acting is as fundamental to the process of animation as writing/acting/directing is a fundamental part of his.

Slippery Lips said...

Well, that one would be the easiest. As it is mostly two characters standing and talking.

Stephen Worth said...

Can I mention some more cartoons that you won't think you will be able to convey in words?

Swing You Sinners

The Little King in On The Pan

You're Driving Me Crazy

Betty Boop in Snow White

Bad Luck Blackie

Let me know if you'd like more to choose from. We have 3000 cartoons here at the archive.

See ya
Steve

Stephen Worth said...

Or how about choosing one of the great Bob Clampett cartoons... Coal Black an de Sebben Dwarfs, Kitty Cornered, Tin Pan Alley Cats, A Tale of Two Kitties, Falling Hare, The Big Snooze, Baby Bottleneck... all written by my choice as the greatest cartoon writer of all time, Warren Foster.

See ya
Steve

Alex Weitzman said...

As I just suggested down below at the previous entry, "The Ducksters" might be a good one.

Steve said...

Steven;

Thank you for the gift of time. I'm gonna narrow this little experiment of mine down to your list.

That being said, I'm going to not approach "Coal Black" for obvious reasons, and also avoid "Tale of Two Kitties," since the main characters of Babbitt and Catsello are based on and, to some end, ripped off from the body of work of Abbott and Costello.

I can't speak for the animators who wrote "Tale," but I'm gonna guess that Abbott and Costello wrote their material rather than drew it out.

I'm also not interested in experimenting in backwards creating that anymore than I would a cartoon about a hyperactive crack-attemntioned canine named "Great Dane Cook." It's not honest to the debate.

Early next week, I'll revisit this. This weekend? Super bowl.

But seriously, Steven, thanks for the input. You've given me some great cartoons to track down and rewatch over the weekend.

Good lord, Bad Luck Blackie is a great cartoon.

- Steve

Stephen Worth said...

Warren Foster wrote "Tale of Two Kitties". All of the A&C dialogue would have been written in the margin under the drawings. ("Pfft Pfft! Whistle" and all.) John K did a brilliant analysis of its story structure, staging and posing HERE. Worth reading. Happy superbowl!

See ya
Steve

Stephen Worth said...

Oh by the way, if you want to avoid racial stereotypes, you can substitute Porky In Wackyland for Tin Pan Alley Cats and Avery's Little Rural Riding Hood for Little King in On The Pan.

See ya
Steve

cpo snarky said...

I would second Steve Worth on Falling Hare. It's one of my favorites - and a delight visually AND verbally.

Imagine a cartoon like this being green-lit today. It breaks two of the bat-crap rules most of us are held to by network execs. First, it totally breaks character and format - Bugs Bunny is the prey, rather than the predator. Second, it is incredibly era-specific. A Wendell Wilkie reference? That's pure beauty.

And does it make the cartoon less funny today? Not in the least.

Marty said...

On the "Corny Concerto" debate: I believe one of the (non-artist) writers for Tiny Toons attempted to do that very thing. Write a script for a visual gag-driven short based around a piece of classical music. The situation, if I'm remembering correctly, was Buster and Plucky having to move a piano. And if I remember correctly, it had zero dialogue. I'm told the writer actually talked out the script into a tape recorder with the music playing in the b.g. to get the timing of gags to music across to the artists. I'd be interested to hear if it worked from the director/board artist(s)' POV. As I recall, the end product was pretty fun/clever. It'd be interesting to see how faithful it was to the original script.

Kevin Koch said...

I don't mean this to poo-poo the idea being explored here, because I think it's an interesting experiment, but I wanted to say that for my money the second anonymous above (from 12:13 on Jan. 31, and subsequently) has made some points that mirror my own thoughts, and which are rarely acknowledged by either side in the script/boards debate.

There's no "bulletproof" way to make a great cartoon. Both scripts and story sketches/boards have their weaknesses. I think in both live action and animation, quality has less to do with the use of scripts and/or boards, and more to do with the quality of the vision/talent/skill of the director or whoever is ultimately in charge.

That's all. Carry on with the experiment, but I just wanted the anonymous writer above to know that his or her thoughts were appreciated.

Squeaky Fromage said...

"writer/director/filmmaker and stand-up who was there at some of the most important and influential times in television and film. The dialogue is just a part of his vision and voice, although an important one. A creative who has constantly challenged himself and his work. The greatest artist/cartoonist/directors/animation filmakers approach their craft in much the same way. Drawing/writing/directing/acting is as fundamental to the process of animation as writing/acting/directing is a fundamental part of his."

Yes a wonderful film maker and a super talent. But, that completely misses the point behind the entire exercise. Woody Allen films are not
the same kind of visual humor.

Matt Wayne said...

FWIW, the anonymous person above used Woody Allen as an example of something that wasn't visual, saying that even in the extreme case of Woody Allen, the script is not the finished movie.

Squeaky Cheese said...

Thanks Matt,
I stand corrected. One should never multi-task once the Vicodin has kicked in.