I was taking the time to try out some new writing software I picked up after NaNoWriMo ended back in November tonight. I have technically have three novels I’m working on simultaneously, though one is just in the between drafts phase of editing. Because of that, instead of taking what I normally did and just work on the novels, I thought I’d go back to my old script that I’d been wanting to submit at some point to an animation production studio. I loved the script, but knew it still needed work. I got some readers on it, got their feedback, and then deals with my two novels almost back to back. It got lost in the shuffle for nearly half a year, and then further lost in the shuffle when I made my move from Muncie to Austin. I thought about it and I realized it was finally time to go back.
I took a look at the original scrip in the first program I wrote it in, and knowing what I had planned for it, it felt like something was missing within the feel of it. The first episode was an out and out action-comedy that conflicted rather strongly with the rather grim story that made up the second episode. I loved that first episode, and I didn’t want to lose the ability to laugh at some of the things that happened. It was part of the DNA of the Bryant story, but that DNA still rolled through the more saddening parts of Bryant’s story. They were connected, but keeping them as separate episodes almost seemed to hurt it. They were coming from essentially the same place, but they didn’t connect.
I had to sit and think on why the story went the way it did for a bit, and I realized that the inspiration stylistically, and I’ve always said this was the case, was that of Genndy Tartakovsky. I’ve been watching his animated shows since before I knew those shows had creators int he first place. Dexter’s Laboratory was my first foray into his animation, and that show, while not in the same vein as his later series, probably helped shape the sense of humor that I have today. I still can’t help but laugh whenever I think of the now famous, though gramatically incorrect, words, “Omelette du fromage.” but ater he moved from that series, he moved to some series that, while they still held comedy, there were stakes to the stories. There were jokes that could happen, but they weren’t separated from the danger that would be the main drives of the story arcs. The shows Samurai Jack, Star Wars: The Clone Wars (the miniseries to those not in the know), and Sym-Bionic Titan have absolutely informed how I look at animation, especially in an episodic format. There were comedy elements that came into play, but each of these stories held up on their own when it came to action, and your ability to care what was happening to the characters and why. You didn’t have to be completely goofy with your story, and you didn’t have to be going to the opposite end of the spectrum in order to find the place where a gripping plotline would be available to you and your audience. It could live in a harmony that some still haven’t been quite able to match since these shows went off the air.
I realized that what I waas wanting to do with the Bryant script was, yes, something of my own, but there was the imprint of Tartakovsky’s previous work all over the words that were flowing out of my fingers, whether it was the comedic, but action packed first episode, or the grim and solemn second episode. That was my connecting thread; I needed to bring those two sensations together to create that fusion that would be able to dance with a life that you could only really get in the animation that I felt it was born to be in. So, that’s what I started doing tonight. There are some jokes, but I’m taking a chunk of what was in the second script, and actually moving it to the front of the first script, while cutting the second back a bit. The beautiful thing is, it’s seeming like it’s starting to click. I’m able to get that classic action design from Samurai Jack in my head, the pace of Sym-Bionic Titan, and some of the comedy of Dexter’s Laboratory, which were all present in the previous drafts, but didn’t really start to shine until I brought them together. In other words; I’m getting Jack’s journey, and getting to eat Dexter’s omelette du fromage, too.