Just finished the first draft of the script for Jonny’s Big Little Show. It’s been a joy, but also one I’ve learned a lot from already. So many of those tropes about writing any are all true. Here are a few of my thoughts so far.
Trope one – Get the words on the page and edit later.
Well I tried. I found that reading from the beginning at the start of each day was a useful way to get my head up to speed. It also meant that when I found myself in a certain place, I was able to call back a reference to a previous scene. Obviously, at some points that has meant going back to tweak a line or scene, adding a little extra here and there. I’m working on the idea that it will be easier to cut at edit edit stage.
Trope two – A page of script equals…
The script is 48 pages long, which translates to about 55 minutes in a read through. However, it’s not as straight forward as you think because there are aspects of the performance when there is little dialogue, but live science being performed within the gaps. Even when all the voice work has been recorded and edited together the gaps for the science will still need to be tweaked for them to work to the second.
Trope three – Show, don’t tell.
By far and above, the hardest thing to grasp when you are writing an animated show. There is a lack of subtlety and nuance that most primary aged audience members will miss. Using the method of animation I’m using, there is likely going to be an equivalent of a very low frame rate. I plan to use doodle sketching to create each scene, which also means, each emotion, and conversation.
Trope four – Character, character, character!
Something I’ve loved is watching my character evolve through the writing. What started as a well defined protagonist has been refined as they have undertaken the story. I did find myself knowing exactly what the character would say and how they would act when faced with the rise and fall of the story. However, I found that the story needed to be driven by secondary characters who formed very quickly, yet who grew to be somewhat comically predictable. I look forward to animating their comic timing.
I’m sure there will be many more lessons in this process, but these are my first thoughts as I’ve sent the first draft to a producer I respect. One thing I can say, I have really loved this so far and want it to land on time, at the place I planned it for. Let’s not talk about COVID-19 then, eh?