Monday, January 7, 2008

Writing For Animation

I just read an interesting post on Cartoon Brew that discusses the roll of writers in the creative process of animation. Be sure to read the commentary. Apparently there is one view that scriptwriters didn't exist in the Golden Age of animation (before 1960) and that narrative was developed during the storyboarding process (opinion at ASIFA). I find that hard to believe, though I recognize storyboarding played a much larger role back then. Amid Amidi brings a recent interview with Brad Bird (Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille) into the debate, which I find very interesting and more thought-provoking. Here's an excerpt:
"The whole question of writing for animation is skewed" says Bird, whose next project will be his live-action debut. "There isn't a giant difference between animation and live action. You need characters, stories, themes. It's called good storytelling."

and this:
"I write scripts first, before the work gets to the storyboarding stage. But I write with the knowledge of what animation can do."

I think this is key. It's difficult to work with a script if a writer doesn't have a true understanding of the form (it's possibilities, and it's limitations). Bird's obsession and appreciation of the form makes him a powerful animation director and writer which is why he's such a huge asset to Pixar. I do think we should give greater emphasis to group storyboarding in the studio. This means writers, animators, directors all working together to construct the narrative. So that everyone has familiarity and respect for the craft.

On a related note....Renée, I just found out that Brad Bird was also behind the Family Dog cartoon I showed you. Funny, huh?

1 comment:

Renee Kurilla said...

No kidding!
That's insanely ironic...and awesome. I respect Brad Bird a great deal. He's a genius.