How Is Animation Different From Live Action?Complications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty Game, TV, and Screenwriting Blog


April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

September 2014

October 2014

November 2014

December 2014

January 2015

February 2015

March 2015

April 2015

May 2015

June 2015

August 2015

September 2015

October 2015

November 2015

December 2015

January 2016

February 2016

March 2016

April 2016

May 2016

June 2016

July 2016

August 2016

September 2016

October 2016

November 2016

December 2016

January 2017

February 2017

March 2017

May 2017

June 2017

July 2017

August 2017

September 2017

October 2017

November 2017

December 2017

January 2018

March 2018

April 2018

June 2018

July 2018

October 2018

November 2018

December 2018

January 2019

February 2019

November 2019

February 2020

March 2020

April 2020

May 2020

August 2020

September 2020

October 2020

December 2020

January 2021

February 2021

March 2021


Monday, June 30, 2008

We just turned in a draft of our first animated feature. We were trying to figure out if we're doing the Right Things, or if there's some magic that an animation film is supposed to do that we didn't do.

Of course in an animation script you describe the action much more carefully. In particularly you load in a stack of sight gags.

In animation, of course, you can defy the laws of physics. Wile E. Coyote doesn't fall until he realizes he's run off the cliff. Eyes bug out three feet.

You also have to be a little more careful in your metaphors. When you write "Spongebob is crushed," you might want to specify whether he is crushed emotionally or by a large conch falling on his head.

We had to cut down on our dialog. As live action writers we were writing minute-long scenes that were all dialog. We were asked to reduce the talking and increase the action.

You can't depend on visual acting as much. The human face can form hundreds of expressions. Animators mostly stick to a few basic, exaggerated expressions. A human actor doing a deadpan face can be funny; an animated face doing nothing is rarely funny.

Most subtly, we noticed that the best animation features create their own worlds. FINDING NEMO creates a world of talking fish. THE INCREDIBLES creates a world where superheroes not only exist but are oppressed. MONSTERS, INC. creates the world of the monsters in your closet. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST enters a world of talking teapots and candlesticks.

What else do you find is different between live action writing and great animation writing?



Jokes that children AND adults will find funny.
For example, children usually don't get celebrity jokes, so maybe the children will be laughing at animated character's goofy Arnold impression while the adults will laugh at the connections made to movies such as Terminator and Kindergarten Cop.

Other adult humor, such as politics, may find their way into animated films, and they'll make the children and adults laugh for different reasons too.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:06 PM  

Having two kiddos at home, I am up to my ear-balls in animated shows and movies. I'm going to assume that you're looking for what we see in animated films written for children.

One thing that animated films for kids, as a genre, do better than movies written for adults is that they are super-tight on structure. And they have to be. To stray for only a moment with an audience whose attention span is considerably less than adults is death. Every single one of these films -- at least the ones my kids love -- has every beat in the right place. And there are no slow parts.

The other thing that I've noticed about animated films is that they tend to have an over-arching moral that they want to get across. They all, in some ways, try to teach kids good from bad. Examples:

Cars -- winning isn't everything
Chicken Little -- little chicken with big problems, but even the little guys can finish on top
Curious George -- tenacity pays off
Barbie Mermaidia (yes... I see them all!)-- you will be rewarded for sacrifices you make

Being a mom, the one thing I dislike about many animated films is that the mom is DEAD! What up? Think about it: Cinderella, Snow White, Chicken Little, Nemo. When the mother figure is nowhere to be found, it must solve a lot of story hang-ups. The mom just can't swoop in and save her babe.

By Blogger Christina, at 6:17 PM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.

This page is powered by Blogger.