animation : the story

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Information about animation : the story

Published on March 8, 2014

Author: adlyan95



find out what is the type of character that was in your story.

Animation: The Story Character and Narrative Structure Ideas for Writing Basics of the Script

Elements of a good story. • Goal: To evoke a strong emotional response from the audience. • Necessary basics: Setting, character, conflict, and satisfying resolution. • Interesting characters: The viewer should care for or be challenged by the characters. • Conflict: The audience should relate in some fashion to the conflict.

Narrative structure. • The most applied and well-known story structure dates back to Poetics by Aristotle; it is still one of the best written works about story. • Consider the three-act structure: ACT I: Setup the story; introduce setting, characters, status quo, and then the catalyst. ACT II: The conflict rises, and the crisis or turning-point occurs. ACT III: Climax and resolution (denouement).

Characters and conflict. • Good character development creates and reveals motivation. • The catlalyst and other obstacles to a character’s motivation create the conflict. • Conflict in turn changes the character. (epiphany -- point of realization) • The audience should relate emotionally to the conflict and change in the characters. (catharsis -- emotional release)

Tips for interesting conflict. • Build the characters as much as possible and lock the conflict early in the story. Each scene should also advance the plot and increase the conflict. • Types of conflict: man versus man (society or others), man versus himself, man versus nature. (”Man” can be male, female, or even other creature or object, particularly in animation.) • Conflict may be physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional, or a combination of these.

The resolution. • Some type of resolution needs to occur to satisfy the audience. • Happy endings are most popular, of course, but a sad or tragic ending will still satisfy the need for resolution and may better fit the goal of the story. • Denouement -- falling action, “wrapping up” any subplots or loose strings.

Writing for animation. • Animation is mainly a visual medium, so “show don’t tell.” • Shoot for storytelling through action. • Dialogue and sound are still important but should be considered carefully with the visual aspect in mind.

Writing process. • Pre-writing: free exposition of ideas to brainstorm about the following: • • Outline for structure. • • Form three act structure and devise plot points. Actual writing. • • Character background, setting, conflict, resolution. Treatment, scene breakdown, then script. Revision.

Developing ideas. • Research: • Brainstorming: • Story premise (concept sentence): Consider personal experiences; novels, magazines, comics, short stories; movies, plays, television; history, dreams, myths. Create a list for several ideas including characters, setting, motivation, and a couple obstacles for each. • Literal: It is a story about a little girl on a subway late at night who murders a frustrated, solitary man who ignores her. • Deeper, figurative: Adults should pay more attention to needy children. • Typical Hollywood premise: You may be beautiful and popular if you only take off your glasses.

Checklist and pitfalls. • Does the story seem to work? Does it have good structure? (Beginning/middle/end?) • Is it a good visual story? (Good for 3-D animation?) • Is it clever or original? • Is the motivation of the characters clear to the audience? • Does the audience relate emotionally?

Other things to be careful: • Obvious linear progression. • Stereotypical, contrived, or 2-D characters. • Non-human characters in a human world. • Characters and conflict appropriate for 3-D animation. • Dream sequences and flashbacks. • Dialogue. • Cramming too much. • Superficial action (murders, weapons, etc.)

Short Story Examples: The 55 Fiction Contest Bedtime Story “Careful, honey, it’s loaded,” he said, re-entering the bedroom. “This for your wife?” “No. Too chancy. I’m hiring a professional.” “How about me?” He smirked. “Cute. But who would be dumb enough to hire a lady hit man.” She wet her lips, sighting along the barrel. “Your wife.” - Jeffrey Whitmore

Short Story Examples: The 55 Fiction Contest Grandma Meets the Ax Murderer The crazed ax-murderer approached the house. Having ravaged the entire neighborhood, his sack of booty was almost full. Alone inside, the old woman sat knitting. The murderer raised his blood-stained ax and rang the porch doorbell. Slowly, she opened the door and peered into his face. “Trick or treat!” the little boy shouted. - Diane Elliot

Basic scripting. • Format: plain-type (courier) on 8 1/2 x 11 paper. • Composed of scenes, master scene described (specific shots not usually included). • Slug line: INT/EXT, LOCATION, TIME • Brief but vivid descriptions of scene to the full width of the margins. • Dialogue blocked with each character’s name above. (CAPS when introduced.) • Focus on presenting the story through character development, action, careful dialogue, and avoid “directing” the film in the script.

Sources and additional material. • Aristotle, Poetics, 350 B.C. • Blacker, Irwin R., The Elements of Screenwriting, Macmillan, 1986. • Trotter, David, The Screenwriter’s Bible, Silman James Press, 1994. • Maestri, George, Character Animation 2: Advanced Techniques, New Riders, 2002. • Coleman, T., Sheridan, S., and Vogel, N., Maya 2: Character Animation, New Riders, 2000. • Moss, S., The World’s Shortest Stories, Running Press, 1995.

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