Once in a while you meet a person
who is so hard-working and dedicated to his craft that his work stands
above the rest. Less often you meet such a person who is also willing to
take the time to cut a trail so that others can follow in the footsteps
of his success. Such a man is Jeffrey Scott.
Fortunately for me,
Jeffrey learned the ropes of animation writing at Hanna-Barbera -- and
learned them fast! Within six months he was made full story
editor on Super Friends, which became one of the most
successful action series we had ever produced. So successful was
Jeffrey's first story-editing assignment that ABC ordered an additional
32 half-hours of the series, a record at that time. Remarkably, Jeffrey
didn't just edit these scripts, he wrote them all! Over the next three
seasons he wrote nearly a hundred more! And that was just Super
Friends. He continued his high-quality, high-production output on
Captain Caveman, Trollkins, Pac-Man and Wake, Rattle & Roll,
writing over 200 scripts for H-B, more than any other writer in the
history of the studio.
Anyone who loves movies and television
knows the importance of a good script. Though today this is equally true
in animation, it wasn't always the case. I should know, because H-B was
responsible for developing the current script writing process for TV
When Bill Hanna and I were doing Tom & Jerry
for MGM, like Disney and other studios, we never had scripts. Instead,
we'd come up with a notion, then brainstorm gags with our artists,
stringing them together to make a cartoon. Classical animation relied
much more on action and far less on dialogue. But animated action was
getting more and more expensive, and by 1958, MGM stopped production of
Tom & Jerry. So Bill and I decided to try our luck in
Unfortunately, we quickly discovered that there was
even less money for TV animation than theatrical. So we had to find a
way to drastically cut our budgets. This forced us to come up with what
we called "limited animation", by which we turned the classical
structure on its head, creating cartoons with more dialogue and less
action. Surprisingly, though we used fewer and simpler drawings, by
timing the action correctly we were able to create cartoons that were
just as funny as those produced in full animation.
Bill and me, we had more than good animation timing--our timing was
perfect to get into TV animation. People were no longer enraptured by
the beauty of full animation shown in theaters. Pretty pictures alone
weren't enough to keep them interested. In television animation, the
most important elements were clever gags, funny dialogue and good
That's when we realized we needed scripts. Lots of
And that's why today's animation market is story
driven. Whether full-length animated feature, prime-time animated
sitcom, or Saturday morning cartoon, it all begins with the script. A
producer can no longer rely solely on artists. He has to have someone
who understands story structure, character development and dialogue. In
other words, he has to have a cartoon writer.
And if you want to
become one, you have to read this book!
With HOW TO WRITE
FOR ANIMATION, Jeffrey has cut a clear path that will take aspiring
animation writers from their first confrontation with the dreaded "blank
page", past the dangers of falling anvils, all the way through to a
confident understanding of how to write animation. Jeffrey has done a
masterful job of condensing 25 years of experience into an easy to read,
step-by-step journey through the cartoon writing process.
you're new to cartoon writing, this book will give you the tools you
need to come up with clever ideas, flesh them out into well-structured
stories, develop interesting characters, and transform it all into
professional quality scripts. In it you'll find valuable secrets that
will help you create your own series and show you how to sell it. But
this book isn't just for the novice. If you're already an animation
writer there are plenty of helpful tips and tricks gleaned from
knowledge that can only be acquired after writing a staggering 600
scripts in virtually every genre of animation.
I can tell you
from personal experience that to really succeed in this business you
need to create your own style and fight for your ideas. But first you
need to learn the fundamentals of your craft and learn them well. And
that's exactly what this book will teach you.
So if you want to
become an animation writer, just turn the page and get ready to
Yabba Dabba Do It!
Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc.
Back Cover Blurbs
"Jeffrey Scott combines that rarest and most
extraordinary of talents--he is a master storyteller, a prolific writer
and turns out scripts 'faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful
than a locomotive.' He leaves a legacy to the world of animation writing
that is unmatched and unparalleled and, fortunately for so many, now
memorialized in this excellent book."
Warner Bros. Television
"Jeffrey Scott has written the definitive
sourcebook for anyone interested in the world of animation and script
writing. Infused with humor and a love of the craft, this book is filled
with the practical information one needs to get started, and is a great
resource for producers, directors and executives already in the
"Jeffrey Scott is without a doubt the most
prolific and accomplished writer of television animation of all time.
Action, comedy--he does it all, and very, very well. I LOVED this book!
Maybe if I had read it twenty years ago I would have stayed a writer and
not become an executive."
"Jeffrey's book contains everything you need
to know about writing for animation and then some. Reading this book is
a must for anyone interested in excelling in the field."
CEO & Chairman