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Rhett Wickham: Great Animated Performances: Profiles of Modern Masters
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I certainly think that if you can’t follow it with the sound down then it belongs on stage in a theatre, where the tradition is more toward the spoken word and listening carefully to the polemics of something, or the wit of the dialogue versus the showing of a series of images to evoke an emotional response. Even with the live action screen writers that I work with this is a constant struggle to get them to stop telling and find a way to show. Too much talk, talk, talk….and I don’t mean to imply that everything should be an action adventure movie, but film allows you wonderful, subtle and magical ways to convey thoughts and emotions through actions, not just explanations. But I can promise you a struggle with a growing number of producers and studio executives even in live action is that often they don’t have the patience to read about what is shown, they want more dialogue and if it isn’t spelled out in what’s said then they don’t get it -- and that’s not the writers’ fault.


It’s a question of what makes the good animation script. Someone might sense that there’s a script where you can read the script and get the entire movie, like ‘This is the best animation script I’ve ever read!’ Well, that may be a problem…




If everything is communicated in the script there’s a certain way that it communicates to the reader, but in terms of the best animated features that’s not the same process.


Yeah, when they sent out the script for FINDING NEMO I don’t think they sat down at a typewriter and battled it out before they went into production.


Well certainly Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois didn’t. Some screenwriters can learn it, and some have learned it very well.


Yeah. Well we worked with Ted and Terry on ALADDIN they were certainly in tune with the process and they enjoyed it and they were very collaborative and they were big animation fans and that certainly helps.


TOMORROW: We continue the conversation and learn how Ron and John work out their scripts as writing partners in PART 2 of GREAT ANIMATED PERFORMANCES: RON ‘n JOHN.

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-- Rhett Wickham

Rhett Wickham is a frequent editorial contributor to LaughingPlace.com. Mr. Wickham is the Director of Creative Affairs for Squared Foot Productions, an independent feature film company in Los Angeles. Prior to moving to LA, Rhett worked as an actor and stage director in New York City following graduate studies at Tisch School of the Arts. He is a directing fellow with the Drama League of New York, and nearly a decade ago he founded AnimActing©®™ to teach and coach acting, character development and story analysis to animators, story artists and layout artists - work he continues both privately and through workshops in Los Angeles, New York and Orlando.  He is most proud to have been honored in 2003 with the Nine Old Men Award from Laughing Place readers, “for reminding us why Disney Feature Animation is the heart and soul of Disney.? He can be reached through actingforanimators@earthlink.net

The opinions expressed by our Rhett Wickham, and all of our columnists, do not necessarily represent the feelings of LaughingPlace.com or any of its employees or advertisers. All speculation and rumors about the future plans of the Walt Disney Company are just that - speculation and rumors - and should be treated as such.

--Posted March 11, 2004