Friday, January 21, 2011
So Crazy About Toons!
Animation writing is another one of my adventures into the creative world of possibilities I'm rediscovering. Several years ago, I was busy at writing spec scripts for the children's animation markets. I churned out Rugrats., Kim Possible, Angela Anaconda, Powderpuff Girls ... submitted a few, but other writing opportunities put the animation market on the back-burner.
Rugrats Season 2 (3 Disc Set)
(Sponge Bob, Square Pants)
Now fast forward to 2011, we have Sponge Bob, Square Pants and Fairly Odd Parents reigning supreme on Nickelodeon; Hannah Montana on Disney (final season) and ABC Family focusing on live action with our old toon favorites elbowed out of the production studios, but alive and well in the Sahari Desert of syndication programming.
I regret letting time pass before making a crack in this ever-changing market. Yes, like everything else, production staffs have streamlined and cutbacks implemented. All the more reason for a freelancer to strike hard. Though the staffs get smaller, the outsourcing often stretches wider.
Now that I'm stepping both feet into the animation game, I'm surveying the land, and a little perplexed at what I see. Yes, there is still great animation being produced, but the style of animation has somewhat changed in the children's television market.
Okay, I'll stop beating around the bush. I miss "Scared of Everything" Tommy, one of the unforgettable Rugrats. Kim Possible, who could leap tall buildings in a single bout and still have time to shop for rad jeans. Hey Arnold! the prince of the misfits, who lived in a boarding house of adult misfits and somehow he made them all seem cool.
Those adorable Powder Puff Girls (most likely Kim Possible's inspiration) showed us you can defend the world and still enjoy Passion Pink lip gloss and hair glitter. I miss The Wild Thornberrys who traveled the globe and took us with them in their high-tech Winnebago. Angela Anaconda, an Average Joan kid, we rooted for her to live out her super-hero fantasy and show that Nanette Manoir, once and for all. You can still find them on the re-runs, but new stories are not being produced and that makes me sad.
Sure, slap stick humor is the basis of animation, but somehow when we weren't looking, story editors/producers made the characters more like us. Children and adults connected with their stories and saw their own lives conveyed in animation. I miss the animated human stories. There, I said it. However, lately there have been more human characters featured on the animated movie screen: Tangled and Despicable Me just popped into my head.
Yes, Sponge Bob Square Pants has a message in his story lines, but the connection with sea life takes a bigger imagination. Tell me, what is a squirrel doing underwater. Oh right, she does wear an old-time scuba diving suit. Really, what is she doing there? That's right, she's one of Sponge Bob's partner in crimes. Nevertheless, The Fairy Odd Parents stars an ignored-by-his-parents Billy and his doting-to-his-every-need fairy parents who zap into fish, a ball, a book, or anything else when humans other than Billy are around. I'm looking at this show from adult eyes, if I put on my eight-year-old glasses, I could probably relate. But if I put it in this New Millennium perspective where two-home families have become our children's reality, I can see the connection.
Granted, back in the sixties and seventies, you had your Yogi Bear, Tom & Jerry, Top Cat ... and many others. But let's face it, The Flintstones, The Jetsons and Scooby are still big marketing draws generations later because they connected with our lifestyles whether as kids or adults.
Despite what I say, Sponge Bob Square pants connects to children and adults, evidenced in their ratings. It too, may be marketed for decades to come.
To get an upclose and personal look into this crazy world of animation, I'm putting on my old reporter's hat and launching a blog called "Got Scribe?" -- within the next few months -- where I'll interview writers, producers and directors of today's animation, both children and prime-time adult.
But I'm not stopping there. Nope. I'll also jump on the game side and talk to the creative minds behind today's hottest games. Still not stopping there ... I'll check out debut authors and seasoned pros of new book releases ... also playwrights, television writers, copywriters and web writers ... those using their gifts to create amazing fruit for the masses to enjoy.
These are exciting times for the animation and game worlds and you better believe my fingers will be pounding that keyboard creating funny scripts that visit children and adults where they live.
Happy Watching! Stay Tuned.