Thursday, June 15, 2006
As I run around to studios with my 401(k) enrollment booklets, I've been caught up in some discussions about writers and board artists... Seems that a popular show at one of the studios is going from being done on storyboards from 1 1/2 page premises (no scripts) to scripts before it goes to boards. (It appears that one of the suits up at the top of the food chain has all of a sudden discovered that he "can't deal" with storyboards anymore, but needs paragraphs and blocks of dialogue on a nice, white page.) As the story's been told to me, the show's creator is not overjoyed with this turn of events, nor are the board artists. Some board artists figure they can write scripts, since they've been writing with storyboards through several seasons of the show. Me, I wrote animation scripts for thirteen years but I'm agnostic on the subject. Board the show, or write then board the show, anyway people do it is fine by me. But here's what gripes my hindquarters. Most times, across the business, television board artists have relatively little contact with the writer. Artists get the writer's script, and punch it up as much as they can (or are allowed to), and the boards move on through the production process. And what bothers hell out of me is that few of animation top-kicks see any reason to have the writers sit down with the board artists and spitball gags and ideas for the script before it's written, when it would improve the product. Now I know everybody is ferociously territorial, and that upper management is afraid that this would make the process more expensive, but I've seen such good results from it when it's used, that I'm forever amazed that more studios don't make it bed-rock policy.
Posted by Steve Hulett at 11:34 AM