Saturday, May 12, 2018

Animation Writer FAQ: Writing Animated Features


Q: I am a writer and I've got an idea for an animated feature. I just have the idea and couple of different endings. I have two contacts through my sister in LA who are producers for big animated companies. I spoke to one and she definitely believes it is definitely a full-length feature film that no one has done, yet. She told me that I needed to own it as long as I can, write the treatment, screenplay. I have no experience in writing scripts. Do you have any advice or can suggest any materials that someone like me could follow? I get very frustrated when I write. So far I am just watching as many films as I can and reading other scripts. -- Marie

A: Hi, Marie. I only write TV animation, but I'm happy to share a thought or two on how to write an animated screenplay. Watching lots of films and reading lots of scripts is a great place to start. When you feel like you're ready to start writing, I would recommend three other things. First, even though "no one has done" a script like yours yet, determine an animated feature that your idea most closely resembles, then hunt around on the web for a copy of that script (there are many resources, some free) and use it as a model/template for your own idea. I'm not telling you to copy it, just to use it to see how professionals execute an idea similar to your own.

Next, you may want to pick up a copy of Syd Field's classic how-to book, Screenplay. It'll bring you up to speed on how to structure a screenplay. There are similar books out there, but I learned how to do it from Syd.

Finally, you may want to invest in some screenwriting software to make sure your script looks right. I use Final Draft, which is the industry standard. This kind of software is a little pricey but I think well worth the investment if you plan on writing professionally. Good luck!

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Thoughts about the above question or about writing for animation in general? Leave them in the comments or send it to me via the CONTACT tab.
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