(Side Note: This feature was inspired by (copied from) comedy great Ken Levine's excellent blog - definitely check it out for more showbiz-y/author-y goodness.)
This week's question comes from Marie:
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: I would recommend three 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's considered the industry standard in how to structure a screenplay.
Finally, you may want to invest in some screenwriting software to help you make sure your script looks right. I, and most other pros use Final Draft or Movie Magic. Each of these is a little pricey but I think well worth the investment if you plan on writing professionally. I have no doubt that there a few free script formatting programs out there, too. Hunt around and see what you can come up with. Good luck!
If you have a question for me, please leave it in the comment section. Thanks!