Animation : Animation Roundtable: 6 Top Filmmakers on 'Frozen' Lessons and Why Sequels Are "Killing" the Industry by Richard "RB" Botto

Richard "RB" Botto

Animation Roundtable: 6 Top Filmmakers on 'Frozen' Lessons and Why Sequels Are "Killing" the Industry

Amanda Toney

So interesting. Animators, any comments?

Antonio Ingram

I'm not an animator but he is so right about there being too many reboots and sequels. I think this adds on to the point from the discussion of a while back about the industry being more about money which has lead to all of this.

Debbie Elicksen

Maybe screenwriters should start visiting junior high and high school classes and talk to some students to tap their story creations. Goodness, there has to be some original material out there. That said, I will always be a sucker for a new Batman or Minions movie. :)

Laurie Ashbourne

There are great bits in this, but it really only skims the surface of the whole process of developing an animated film. I often get asked about animation scripts: how do I get it to a studio, how do I write one, etc. It used to be that a story had to have a reason to be animated, that was the question the studio head at Disney would always ask first. Why animation? With today's technology, every film (except the micro-budget indies) has computer animation in it, so the question has changed to a broader one of what is the best medium to tell this story? The key takeaways of the article that are easily overlooked are these: It all comes down to the emotional core of the story. Most are written and developed by the directors and the story artists have just as much input if not more, than the screenwriter(s). But the biggest takeaway is this, they take years to develop (Frozen... decades, and the writer director of that didn't find the emotional core of the screenplay until 'the song' was written). Something that wasn't mentioned is that in most animation studios, a film is put up on reels up to 8 times BEFORE it goes into full production. That means they literally re-write the movie as they see it working out on the screen before them. There are usually sequences that they know will not change and they can start the production process. But as pointed out, it is being developed up until the last possible minute. That's why they are so expensive and take so long. So for today's 3D animation it is silly NOT to extend the brand and do sequels. Where so much of the production process has been worked out (character modeling and rigging is a huge investment of time). Arguably the sequels SHOULD be better because there is more time to get the story right with so much of the production headache figured out already. Lastly, Bonnie and Dean (How to Train Your Dragon) really get it, they are dear and genuine people in it for the love of story and the medium -- so send them your Oscar vibes.

Richard "RB" Botto

Awesome post, Laurie. Fantastic info.

Jean-Marie Mazaleyrat

There are more creativity and magic in each of these movies, including How to Train Your Dragon 2, than in (overrated) Beowulf, Kill Bill 1+2 and some more reunited. I think that what they say make sense. That’s harder to make a good sequel or prequel than a new story if not being planned (a xxlogy or a franchise), because that’s not related to a unique story (Star Wars, The Godfather) … or to a strong character (Rocky, James Bond) who can hold a new plot each time. IMO, that’s even more difficult in animation for synergetic reasons: - From the audience’s POV, the magic of a new, weird, world is gone. You must find resources in the story to offset. - From the filmmakers' POV, making an animated movie is an integrated process where everybody works together, from the screenwriter to the post prod, changing lot of things until the very last time, to create both an original story and a new universe matching together. The magic is not only in the movie, but also in the movie making. Doing a sequel is just like doing an ordinary movie: the world of the story and the tools to "shoot" it already exist. It is made in a linear process like any standard movie: writing, pre prod… except for filming and post prod that may be mixed (depending on production choice). The animators create nothing; they just "shoot" the story like it is written. No more magic, no great motivation. I think that’s the objective reason why some great movie’s sequels like Who Frame Roger Rabbit or Avatar were not yet released.

Orlando Rivera

I agree with Jean-Marie. Sequels are hard (and many suck) but that is not killing the industry - it just changing again . If sequel are bad then TV would never have worked (and much of TV sucks but you can say that about most things).- Good stories told well works. I love good stories and sometime you do need more that 2 hours to explore a universe .

Debbie Elicksen

That is a great point, Orlando.

Jean-Marie Mazaleyrat

Happy New Year!

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