1. Aleque

    Aleque Member

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    Tips for writing short animation episodes (coherent story progression)

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Aleque, Dec 11, 2016.

    Hello

    I don't have any education in the field of writing. I've watched some tutorials and tried to analyze some movies, games, series - on my own. Trial and error, mostly.

    I am in the process of creating an animation series about gaming. I want to create a 5-10 minutes long pilot episode. Then, I plan on creating short 2-3 minute episodes, that I want to release every 2 weeks, or so. I want every episode to have a certain pattern, so that each episode both includes in-real-life scenes and in-game scenes. Furthermore, I want each episode to be a continuous progression of a coherent story.

    I have a feeling, that there are some elements of writing that I am not even aware of for this certain task.

    I know, that I should work backwards. Knowing what the series ends with and try to figure out how it happens. I can imagine, that writing an individual episode is much easier than writing a bunch of episodes with a continuous story, and that is where it gets complicated. Because, I also have to consider plot twists, cliff-hangers, character development, set-ups and pay-offs, etc.

    Can someone please give me some tips or advice regarding how I can make my episodes entertaining (including both ingame and in-real-life scenes), yet still make them a part of a bigger story?

    Thanks in advance

    -Aleque
     
  2. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    Just about any Marvel comic will give you an idea of how to provide episode closure while supporting a 'season arc.' A lot of TV shows do this, too (Travellers is a recent example).

    If you think in terms of an overall goal and obstacles for the season arc and then smaller stepping stone goals/obstacles per episode—not all of which have to support the season arc—you should be on the right track. And if you're planning some wingnut, off-the-wall story ideas to draw from, I recommend The Simpsons. But The Simpsons does a back-to-square-one thing at the end of each episode (except for events like the death of Maude Flanders) so you might not want to incorporate too much of what you learn there.

    As far as life within the game goes, I've got nothing. I flirted with computer games a long time ago, but lost interest. Perhaps someone else can help with that end of things.
     
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  3. bonijean2

    bonijean2 Ancient Artists And Storytellers Rock

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    A friend of mine has been an animator for over twenty years and, although I have never tried this, he has been very successful. In a nutshell, I would say to include the concept of "expect the unexpected" in your work. My friend began working at Wil Vinton studios when just a teenager and besides being a gifted artist, he continues to use his Wow factor and does very well for himself.
     
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  4. Aleque

    Aleque Member

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    Thank you for your awesome replies - they help. How do you think I should structure my episodes? (as a simple model)

    Problem --> Resolution

    Or...?
     
  5. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Shenanigan Master Contributor

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    Perhaps you could watch some shows with the same episode and season length your going for and see how they do it?
     
  6. antlad

    antlad Banned

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    I would go to youtube, there are probably a dozen series about this.
    If you have never written and animated a short, I would start there. Before you do any writing, planning, or anything else, you need to figure out time. How long do things take in the animation? The speed will determine most everything else.
    As far as the story goes, just think- conflict, resolution, conflict, resolution, etc, etc.
     
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  7. Aleque

    Aleque Member

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    If only I could find shows like that :) most shows just consist of random (back to square 1) episodes
     
  8. Aleque

    Aleque Member

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    How do you mean? The time it takes to animate a scene? Or the actual time within the universe I am creating?
     
  9. Malisky

    Malisky Fortune cookie Contributor

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    If I'm getting this right do you mean that your MC is a game player but we also get to see him as an impersonated game persona?
     
  10. antlad

    antlad Banned

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    It is tough to explain. If you are going to have a series, the flow (timing) of each episode needs to match the other episodes.
    You can write a script and then try to fit an animation around it, but it is hard without knowing time.
    How long will it take characters to say sentences? If you are time limiting yourself, that is a huge question to answer before starting.
    Animation is an odd thing when you really get into working within it.
     
  11. Aleque

    Aleque Member

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    Yeah. You both see him as himself IRL and as this ingame hero, when he is playing the game. And sometimes it's a mix, meaning that he can look as his ingame hero but still sound as himself when using the ingame voice chat.
     
  12. Aleque

    Aleque Member

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    Well, I don't want to rush things - I want them to feel right. This is why the technical part can be hard for me to grasp, sometimes. I consider myself to be more of a intuitive or "emotional" type. When I watch a movie or a series, sometimes it just feels right. I can't explain why - it just does. Other times, it feels like a certain climax is missing, characters are not reacting realistically enough or the scenes seem too rushed.

    This is why I would love some help with some technical tips. So that I can start comprehending in technical terms what it is I feel as a viewer when watching or creating something.

    I imagine one episode of 2-3 minutes is equivalent of few hours of real time. But I also imagine exceptions. Like, when you see the character preparing for the tournament, there would be a montage scene with him training over a period of days or even weeks.

    I just would like some opinions on formulas I can use that do work
     

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