Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Updated: An idea is brewing. And maybe it's time to put my money where my mouth is.

But I'll probably need the group to make it work.

If you could pick one cartoon - ONE - to work backwards from... To go from Animated Cartoon backwards to script... to either prove that it's possible or prove that it's not... what would it be?

One of the classics - a cartoon that would make the "purists" (the quotes are sarcastic, by the way) want to stab themselves in the eyes before reading as text - what would it be?

Pick a cartoon you think is so perfect, so flawless, that words could NEVER do it justice...

Which one would you choose?

A few extra caveats:

* Give me a classic cartoon with words and actions that holds up today.
* If it's wordless, give me something in the Road Runner / Tom and Jerry world where there's conflict AND cartoon comedy.

I'm looking for that "played in the mornings when we were kids, they don't make cartoons like that anymore" cartoon that everybody holds up as the standard.

And then, I'll let ya know what I'm up to.

- Steve


Alex Weitzman said...

Arguably speaking, the hardest kind of cartoon to do this with (and thusly the kind worth doing) would be a non-verbal cartoon. One with as little to no dialogue whatsoever.

So I recommend "One Froggy Evening".

Marty said...

I'd just like to point out that this would be an equally difficult (and potentially pointless) exercise to do with a purely visual live action sequence as well. Try writing the mirror sequence from Duck Soup in script form. Or the feeding machine sequence from Modern Times. Or the chocolate factory bit from I Love Lucy.

Anonymous said...

If you really want to kill yourself, then do Triplettes of Belliville. Enjoy...:)

Anonymous said...

Toccata and Fugue from Fantasia.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Bach from Fantasia would be flat out impossible as would be Len Lye's Begone Dull Care or Norman McLaren's Hen Hop. For classics, I'd suggest Bob Clampett's Baby Bottleneck, Fleischer's Swing You Sinners, the finale to Three Caballeros or Blame It On The Samba. Have you seen any of these films?

Anonymous said...

I mentioned yesterday that I transcribed a Tex Avery cartoon to script, it was Dumb Hounded, 1943. There's so many gags in that picture that defined the 'cartoony chase' and "funny takes" lexicon that cartoonists have been borrowing for years that I wanted to see how it looked on paper.

For those that don't know the cartoon, Dumb Hounded is the one where Droopy is a deputy and wherever the convict Wolf runs to, via taxi, boat, plane, across the country, etc.. Droopy is always there waiting for him. Wolf freaks out everytime with these amazing Tex Avery takes. It's one of my very favorites in that the drawings are hilarious and a 5 yr old can completely grasp it and laugh raucously alongside a 90 yr old man.

Anyway, while I was storyediting on gag style shows in the late nineties, I kept the script around and gave it to lower level jr. executives to read (the higher ones wouldn't look at it) to try and educate them about the art, so maybe they could get an idea about what they were giving notes on. They almost always came back, "It's kind of dull. Needs more jokes." Another said, "There's not enough dialogue. The key to making it funnier is to put in more funny lines. Maybe the director could take them out later if they don't work."

It made me realize that the passion I had for making a funny cartoon isn't shared by everyone who doesn't know how to read VISUALLY. I guess what it really is about is having that vision -- being able to immediately translate the words into pictures into narrative as you read. Many people are not trained (or too lazy?) to do it --they need the dialogue to bridge the visual sequences together or they lose interest. Some execs don't read description at all, they only scan the pages and read dialogue.

One more short horror story about the cartoon illiterate -- I was writing on the Mickey Mouse show (late 90s) at Disney and I was in some meeting with the execs and I'm pitching this story with Mickey and Pete and one of the execs interrupted me and said, "Who is this Pete? Is he a new character?" sob.


Tongue Wagger said...

Tail Of Two Kitties would probably fit the bill.

Steve said...

Yeah... see, that's what I'm looking for.

What other suggestions?

Stephen Worth said...

If you do a script for the Bugs and Porky section of Clampett's Corny Concerto, I'll post it on the archive site.

See ya

Marty said...

Given your caveats, I would suggest doing one of the "Wabbit Season!/Duck Season!" Bugs & Daffy cartoons (the titles of which, if I'm remembering correctly are "Rabbit Seasoning", "Duck, Rabbit, Duck" and "Rabbit Fire"), as they contain classic visual AND verbal gems. You also might want to consider one of the Foghorn Leghorn shorts, since they center around a largely dialogue-dependent character. (And anyone who can come up with the line "That boy's so dumb he thinks the Mexican border pays rent" qualifies as a writer in my book.)

Alex Weitzman said...

Another suggestion, for something more dialogue-driven: the 1950 Chuck Jones short "The Ducksters".