Getting Your Animated Series Idea from Your Head to the Screen.
On the Series Idea:
Simplicity will be helpful when someone in the first season is just sitting down to watch the show for the first time, and can immediately figure out what is going on. This is not only derived by the strong simple idea, but with the design of the characters and the show as well.
One thing I have found about a hook, you hang onto to it at first. for instance, we basically burned through everything you do at a summer scout camp in the first season. As the series progresses, the characters, if they are developed properly, start a process of discovery that leads their personalities towards becoming the dominant focus. Not that you want to steer away from consistency, and the familiar aspects of your series “hook”, but you will find the characters beginning to make their own episodes within the structure you have set up. For instance, on Rocko’s Modern Life, the friendship between Rocko, Heffer and Filburt began overtaking the hook of “Modern Life”.
Another question to ask yourself when you are developing the main idea:
“Why does this need to be animated?”
My shows have always been anthropomorphic and very visually stretchy. Is your idea something that can be celebrated as an animated show? Even The Simpsons which relies a lot on genius dialog and writing, still needs animation for a lot of what they do.
Start thinking about the overall design of the show- Make it look different from anything else out there! Make it you. Something no one else can do!
The design look of your show is extremely important. Use your hook and your characters to help you find it. An outside designer can help as well. What you need is a great look that lets your show jump out of the pack. That if someone sees it for the first time they don’t mistaken it for another show. Don’t copy another show design you see on the network you are pitching to. My overall design for Camp Lazlo was different from Rocko, but my style is what it is. I don’t mind viewers saying “Hey, that’s the guy who did Rocko” when they see it. But I wanted to still push it in a new direction.
( Reprinted from Joe’s E-Book: Crafting a Cartoon)
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This Weeks Quote: “A tremendous amount of preparatory work and continuous training is necessary in order to turn your vague wish into professional excellence, so that in the end you are not a talented dilettante , but a true artist” – Aleksandr Tairov