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Tips on Writing Your First Animation Script

No matter your age, the vast majority of us get a lot of enjoyment out of animated films and television shows. Animation is an interesting and appealing style of entertainment since it’s a relatively new concept that continues to evolve and transform every single day.

Like most scripts, scripts geared for animation is an intricate tale in and of itself. Outside of just having to deal with the normal complacencies tied to a standard script, animation scripts have a whole additional purpose of adding the proper elements of animation.

Yes, they share the same commonality of storytelling as a script. Still, there's an additional questioning of the motif and framework tied to animation. Nowadays, animated films and television shows can be geared for kids, or they can be crafted for adults like South Park and The Simpsons.

With the subject of animation scripts, there are a good number of broad tips you can follow that'll help you perfect your first attempt at one. Like any first attempt, it's an arduous task to accomplish. However, with a bit of perseverance and knowledge, you'll be on your way to creating your first animation script. Nonetheless, let's get started!

Still from "WALL-E". Photo credit: NewWorldAI

Know Your Audience

Like any script, you need to have a proper story in place for your script. You can’t just begin your journey on writing one, without the idea to begin with. Before you consider what your story is going to entail, you need to figure out who your script is intended for.

Any studio, agent, manager, or script reader will want to know the designated audience for your script if it's animated. Usually, they'll want to know regardless if it's animated or not. Still, it's always in your best interest to determine your audience beforehand.

All this means is what your story will be rated essentially. Whether it's a script geared for toddlers, kids, teenagers, or adults, it's always a good idea to know who you're writing for. Basically, you don't want to create a story geared for kids with a bunch of swearing in it. Thus, why it's essential to know your audience.

Look at Your Concept

Now that you've narrowed down who your audience exactly is, now's the time to adequately address your concept. Self-criticism is your best option at this point, and you need to be honest with yourself. Looking at the concept of your future script will help you understand if it's worth moving forward or not.

Basically, you should never begin writing your script without a clear outline beforehand. Like a standard script, come up with character outlines, your intended audience, and essential plot points. From there, you'll be on your way to typing away the first pages of your script.

Fewer Words, More Visuals

Unlike standard scripts that are typically driven by dialogue, animation scripts need to have an immense focus on visuals. Since animated films and television shows are largely popular due to the way they look, it’s simple to understand why the visual text in your script is so important.

Don't take this as an understanding to have straightforward dialogue and paragraph upon paragraph for scene direction, but as a way to highlight how your script can interpret more visuals. Obviously, dialogue is essential, but visuals are just as crucial for animation scripts.

What Is Your Message?

No matter the length of your script, you need to understand the message behind your script. Virtually every animation script has a message behind it. You can make the same argument for standard scripts as well, but it’s more prevalent in animation scripts.

You don't have to determine your message before you begin your script, but understanding what it means is always a good idea. You never know when someone who is reading your script might ask you the meaning behind your script is.

How It Should Look

Although the visual representation of a script isn’t always needed outside of a text description, having an artist draw up your characters will help paint the picture in people’s heads. Doing so will increase your chance to properly sell your script to someone.

Everyone imagines characters different from one another, which is why it’s a good idea to get your characters drawn up. It’ll help paint the understanding of what your script means, thus, making it a better script overall.


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