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Five Tips For Writing A Cartoon Screenplay
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Writing a script or outline is highly recommended when it comes to any form of multimedia. So even if your Flash cartoon is simple, a screenplay will greatly enhance the flow and success of your film. Coming up with ideas can be tough as well, but that's what this article is for! Here are five tips (listed in no particular order) to keep in mind when writing a script for your cartoon.
Write What You Know. If you're having a hard time coming up with ideas, try to find inspiration in everyday things. For instance, maybe you have a friend that is a bit eccentric. Turn his/her personality into a character in your cartoon. Or maybe something funny happened to you at work. Morph and tweak that encounter into an idea you can use in your script. Alternatively, take a boring situation and turn it into something fun (inject fiction into it and so on). People can relate to situations like waiting in traffic or sitting in a classroom. If there's a certain movie or story you like, take inspiration from that (but don't copy it). The world we live in is full of ideas, waiting for you to grab and use.
Length. Let's face it, people have short attention spans. Today, with sites like YouTube, people want short and funny videos. We are talking anywhere between one and three minutes. If you push that you risk losing or not grabbing an internet audience. Now, maybe the YouTube audience isn't something you want to tap. That's perfectly fine. You should always write what you want and if your script is long and you like it, then by all means go for it. After all, maybe you want to submit this film to a festival as opposed to a site like YouTube. Or maybe you don't care who views your movie. Just keep in mind the shorter the movie, the greater the success on the internet. So, how can you judge how long your cartoon will be based on the script? A good rule of thumb for a screenplay is one page equals one minute of footage.
Keep It Within Your Means. Writing an epic battle with thousands of soldiers fighting may sound cool, but will you be able to animate it? Cartoons offer more freedom compared to live action film but they require work all the same. Try new things and push your boundaries but don't let yourself get bogged down with impossible tasks.
Be Adaptable. The good thing about writing down your ideas is that you can always tweak or change them later. When you start animating you may find you can't quite follow your original script. You may discover you can't quite animate something right or a piece of dialogue could be funnier. Whatever the case, keep an open mind and your movie will benefit from it.
Write Multiple Drafts. Usually the first draft of your script is not the final draft. After writing your script it may be a good idea to show it to others or even step away from it for a day or two. After returning you may see things you can fix or make flow better. Of course this also falls in line with my adaptability tip too. The bottom line is to have fun and write something you are proud of.
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