"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."
"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?