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Writing For Animation & Cartoons

Updated on July 21, 2008

How To Learn To Write Like An Animator

Animation has its own special requirements for script writing; it's not just a sitcom script for cartoon characters instead of live actors. This lens is a starting point for learning how to write for animated television shows, films, and shorts. If you're looking at getting into "real" scriptwriting via animation, then this isn't the lens for you.

Cartoon Script Format - Script Formatting For Animation

Script Formatting for Animation

I'm not sure how accurate these guidelines are currently, but they're a good place to start.

However, if you can afford it, buy Final Draft. It's the industry standard for scriptwriting programs. Templates for prime time animation television shows are included along with other script formats.

The Debate: Does Animation Really Need To Have Writers?

There's a debate about the validity of "animation writing" being a separate job from animating and storyboarding.

Leading the "we don't need no stinkin' writers" debate is John K., most famous for Ren & Stimpy. His stand is that if one is not an artist one cannot write for animated stories since the visual language is so different from that of live action.
An opposing viewpoint is given in animation writer Steve Marmel's blog Animation Writers: "From Brad Bird: Respect."

More entries in the debate:

• Uncle Eddie's Theory Corner!:

Were Scripts Ever Used In Animation's Golden Age?

• Something Old, Nothing New: You Can't Write a Drawing

• Mayerson On Animation: The Films I Return To...

• Michael Barrier.com: Writing and Drawing

Animators vs. Writers?

Does the screenwriter write the story in animation, or should the story come from the animators?

The animators create the story.

The animators create the story.

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    • anonymous 8 years ago

      Well it depends. Ideally an animator should have both technical as well as writing skills.

    • anonymous 9 years ago

      who knows; who cares!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

    Writers create the story.

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      • anonymous 7 years ago

        If the animator has technical and writing skills, then I guess I'm ready to begin!!!!! *I believe both, as I have created both ways when publishing my children's books, once writing, then animating, and vice-versa. It works both ways.

      • anonymous 7 years ago

        writer obviously, he sets the story and gives the animator room to play. Writing is the most important part.

        the animators only create the story if they are also writers making this question pointless.

      Your Thoughts On Animation Writing...

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        • MyCrazyAdventures profile image

          Melissa 6 years ago from Albuquerque, NM

          I just finished working on a local film that was a greenscreen animation with real actors plus the animation. Lots of fun. Thanks for the lens!

        • SaraMu LM profile image

          SaraMu LM 8 years ago

          I'm just now starting to learn. It's so different than anything else I've done.