Friday, March 27, 2009

Today's Animation Writers

Not very long ago, I had lunch with a television animation writer who lamented that his studio was, more and more, hiring sitcom weriters to turn out scripts on their half-hour projects, leaving him with a smaller playing field on which to work, since he had never written sitcoms but only standard-issue television cartoons.

I understand how he feels. The days of 'toon writers who haven't had their tickets punched on higher-profile projects are like, mostly gone:

The 'Slumdog Millionaire' writer Simon Beaufoy, who walked away with this year's Oscar for adapted screenplay, is reportedly wielding his pen for DreamWorks Animation film, 'Truckers'.

Beaufoy isn't the first screenwriter to work for animation after winning the Oscar. Michael Arndt, who won the original screenplay Oscar for 2006's Little Miss Sunshinee, ... worked on ... "Toy Story 3".

I've occasionally mused how there's no way I would be hired off the street in 2009 to write on theatrical animated features. The 1970s are a looong time ago, and that sort of thing just isn't done anymore.

Not that it matters to me at this point in my checkered career. I not only have the wrong resume, but I'm way too elderly for any self-respecting animation producer to even halfway consider for a job.


Anonymous said...

Again it goes to show that execs hate animation and don't trust the artists to tell good stories. When will they realize that animation is mostly a visual medium and good storytelling doesn't need to come from an award winning, live action screenwriter. Shows like Spongebob and Chowder are so great because they are not so saturated with unnecessary dialogue. Do it like how they did it in the Golden Era. When will people get this?

Anonymous said...

You could see the wave of live action writers coming even before the WGA job action. So now you have a larger group of people who are working in animation but are used to working under conditions much more favorable than animation. This creates resentment all around. But its not like anyone is forcing them to work in animation. They make that choice for themselves.

Meanwhile, we have to suffer their arrogance toward our craft, our history, and our contract. Thanks for nothing, Patric.

Anonymous said...

This is why we can't have nice things.

Anonymous said...

I maybe out of the loop since i tried to get a script done for a future animated series (note I have never worked on live action before and don't plan to) but i think live action have many more pit falls despite its favorability.

I don't have (stated by others) the "skills" to do live action work - But as I look at the scripts for many live action series i don't understand what their talking about.

I see so many fanfics and other bs Im shocked that it hasn't gotten worse. I wanted to write animation work not because it was "easy" as those folks say, because animation grabs me in ways many live action series doesn't.

But I'm scared to go in animation writing because I know how you have a certain distain for writers. So for 5-6 years i been stuck in a rut writing pieces and parts of a book and other such things. Maybe the script I working on took too much out of me and i didn't have the will to continue. What I know is that these writers are no where near talented to even touch animation let alone live action. While they having a ball, im stuck here. Its par for the course isnt it.

ping ping said...

I wouldn't blame Patric, a guy who actually likes to write for cartoons. There's too many writers who think cartoons are beneath them, but the cartoon executives hire them anyway. The same executives who treat their job at Disney Channel as merely a stepping stone so maybe one day they can be president of the Fox Network.

Anonymous said...

Verrone's personal feelings are irrelevant. What matters is the policy his presidency wishes to enact, part of which is to expand WGA jurisdiction over 'animation.'

Anonymous said...

SAG tried it with AFTRA. Pawn off your own failures by undercutting successes of your neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Why does animation need writers?

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