Archive for Writing for animation

This is a great explanation of the traditional, three-act structure way to start your screenplay, illustrated with examples from Pixar movies, and focusing on how the process was applied to Toy Story 3.

The narrator is writer Michael Arndt, whose credits also include the wonderful Little Miss Sunshine.

My only quibble is that it suggests that this is THE way to tell a story, rather than ONE way to tell a story. Sure, it’s the most often used way but there are others and one of those may be a better fit for your story. Still, it’s important to understand this one so you can decide whether or not it is the right choice for your project.

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Keith Moon

Parodies of children’s books seem to the flavor of the month—first “Go the f**k to Sleep!” and now it’s “Good Night, Moon,” which says good night permanently to the dead Keith Moon, drummer for “The Who.” interviewed the two writers, Bruce Worden and Clare Cross. Considering the nature of their book, I was surprised to read that, “The authors explained that their children had a large influence on the book. Worden said he is usually motivated to produce something when he sees gaps in the “kinds of media that are out there” for his son’s age group and feels that he should fill in these gaps. On the other hand, Cross explained that she writes to leave something for her children. “I like to think of my work as a part of me that my kids can hang onto after I’m gone,” she said.”

I wonder whether this will lead to a feature film that is a parody of a kids’ movie. There have been lots of parodies of horror films and some other genres but to my knowledge there’s not been one of children’s films (although some elements of films like “Tangled” might qualify). Failing that, it could be a great genre for a short.

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Bill Plympton is known as the king of indie animation, a maverick and one-man shop in a field dominated by leviathans Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks. He turned down a lucrative offer from Disney in order to keep making films his way. Here, from an article in, are a few insights into the man and his process.

He says, “Creating and perfecting characters is the most important process of making a film.”

“Daydreaming is important…I have three or four working ideas every day…a big file cabinet of ideas that are ready to go.”

“I want everybody to love my films. I’m a populist, talking about things everybody wants to see–not an ‘artsy fartsy’ type. I wish I could be making films like [Frank] Capra.”

“I’m a firm believer that humor will save the world. In fact, I think there should be a humor Nobel prize because in a world that’s full of anger, hatred and jealousy…if everybody laughed a lot of the misery would go away. Humor is a serious art form.”

There’s a new book out called “independently Animated: Bill Plympton!” and a documentary, “Adventures in Plymptoons!” And here’s a little sample of his quirky sense of humor: “Santa: The Fascist Years.”

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