Bill Peet began his career at Walt Disney Studios in 1937. He started off as an ‘in-betweener’ on the animated shorts. Peet would later describe the position as a “tedious, painstaking job of adding hundreds of drawings in between hundreds of other drawings to move Donald or Mickey from here to there.”
One day a large stack of Donald Duck drawings was dumped on Peet’s desk. More in-betweens, please! The sight of those drawings caused Peet to have a near-nervous breakdown. He jumped up from his chair and ran out of the studio, shouting “NO MORE DUCKS!!! NO MORE LOUSY DUCKS!” The next day, Peet returned to the studio to pick up his things. He saw a letter on his desk. He was sure he had been fired. Instead, he’d been promoted to the story department!
Peet worked as a Disney story artist for years. He really came into his own on Dumbo. Walt Disney noticed this, too, and asked him to do ALL of the storyboards for the animated sequences in Song of the South. Walt was so impressed with Peet’s work on SotS, he tasked Peet with doing the storyboards (i.e. writing) for 101 Dalmatians and The Sword in the Stone.
Looking at this small selection of Peet’s storyboards from Song of the South, it’s not hard to see why Peet was one of Walt’s go-to story men!
Big Hero 6 co-director Chris Williams on Collaboration
environment is important, but that kind of environment can be difficult
to achieve in reality, because in some ways, it fights human nature.
all want to be told, all the time, that all of our ideas are amazing,
and every thought we have is gold. But if that’s all you ever get, the
story’s not going to get any better.
have to fight the human desire for affirmation and you have to actively
foster an environment where people feel comfortable disagreeing with
you — and disagreeing with each other — if that’s how they feel.
want honest and open debate because you can’t overemphasize that when
it comes to the story, conflict is good and disagreement is good.
in that collision between two contradictory ideas, often a third and
better idea will emerge that would never have seen the light of day had
there not been a vigorous discussion.
flip-side of that is, even when you disagree, you have to be respectful
of other peoples’ points of view because when you talk story you make
yourself very vulnerable.
you talk about story you’ll end up in the story room for hours and days
on end talking about things you love, things you hate, things that make
you sad, and you’re pulling from your own life experience.
you offer an idea, to some extent, you are saying, ‘This is who I am,’
and that line between who you are and what you do begins to become very
“It’s important to find that place where you can be honest and open but never let things get personal.”
Contrary to popular belief, great screenplays aren’t born of a single burst of inspiration. They’re painstakingly built draft by draft by… draft.
Aspiring screenwriters are wooed by tales of Billy Wilder and I. A. Diamond writing Some Like It Hot in 12 days or better yet, Paul Schrader cranking out Taxi Driver in a hotel room over a weekend. These feats remain remarkable, not just because of the classic films these scripts became, but because they almost never happen. Tales of such instant success perpetuate some harmful myths about the craft of screenwriting. Let’s take a look at three of these myths.
MYTH #1: If rewrites are needed, the script must be lousy.
When a studio buys a script, they also provide the writer with notes to improve the current draft, or to at least bring it closer to the studio’s take. These notes can be wide-ranging and can have a substantial impact on the script, leaving the writer with the impression the studio doesn’t like his or her work. Notes might suggest that the hero needs to have a different job, be more “active”, or make a different decision at the midpoint of the movie, which of course changes the rest of the story. Maybe certain characters need to be cut; the climax doesn’t have sufficient stakes; perhaps the love interest should be someone else. But the fact that these notes are given doesn’t mean that the idea, or the writer, don’t have merit. Instead, they serve to guide the writer to make the most of what’s already on the page. Every screenplay, even during production, is a work in progress, and these changes are part of the script’s natural evolution. Having to write another draft doesn’t mean the writing failed, it just means the journey from script to screen needs another step. Professional screenwriters often view finishing the first draft like a potter putting the clay on the wheel. The work’s begun, but there’s much left to do. Everybody in Hollywood dreams of a perfect first draft. Nobody in Hollywood expects one.
MYTH #2: Professional writers are so good they don’t have to rewrite.
Director Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, No Strings Attached) recently told Amazon Studios that all of the films he’s made went through at least 20 drafts before going into production. That’s not a typo. That’s 2-0, twenty. Professional screenwriters expect to perform multiple rewrites, addressing notes from studios, directors and stars. In fact, often times other professional writers will be brought onto a project to rewrite the first writer’s script, just to get an additional take on the story. Rewriting is a very real part of a professional writer’s life, no matter the number of Oscars or hit movies on their resumes.
MYTH #3: Rewriting is “tweaking.”
This is the most heartbreaking myth of all. When Steven Zaillian (American Gangster, Schindler’s List) or David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Spider-Man) refer to doing a new “draft” they aren’t talking about moving a few scenes, polishing a few lines of dialogue and weeding out typos. No, each draft is a substantially NEW SCRIPT. Each draft involves new sequences, characters, back stories, endings, and in some cases, even a different lead. New screenwriters often think that adding a line here and an extra scene there will address a note about a character’s motivation or the rules of a given supernatural world. The reason these small fixes don’t work in most cases is that story issues are best addressed not through explanation, but through action. A monologue about how the killer was once abused as a child might explain his behavior, but it doesn’t dramatize it, and drama is what makes great comedies, thrillers and sci-fi epics. The other problem with small fixes is that one small change can create all kinds of inconsistencies in scenes and characters before and after that “explanation.” So what constitutes a rewrite? It often requires revising the “architecture” of the entire story. That means going back to an outline or treatment and rebuilding the story, scene by scene, as if the script was being written for the first time. Not every draft involves starting with a blank page, but many do.
Sounds like work, doesn’t it? Rest assured, it is. Rewriting courts frustration, boredom and despair, and in most cases, all three. It’s why there are so many screenplays and so few professional screenwriters. The pros understand that the first few drafts are just the start of a long journey, but that journey might just end with a classic flick.
– The Amazon Studios Story Department
P.S. Here are some great books on rewriting, available at Amazon.com:
so Firewatch was a little bit of a letdown. Spoilers ahead. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t what I was expecting and was lackluster in the story department. The “mystery” was lacking and uninteresting, and even had a few glaring holes. (One guy setting up an elaborate fake experiment when all he was doing was making sure Henry and Delilah didn’t get too close to his kid’s body? Why such a complex plan? Who was Delilah talking to at the beginning of the game? Why did Ned trash the girls’ camp?)
I like the relationship between Henry and Delilah, and how you can get different outcomes. (My Henry told Delilah to go to Santa Fe, she told him to go to Julia which I believe is the right thing for him to do. I cast them as two people in one another’s lives for a short time for a reason, and then moving on.)
In short, it felt more like a game I’d pay 10 dollars for than 20. I give it a B-.
Ok so my brother just bought me Inquisition, and I wont be able to play it for a few months as I'm moving around the country, but how does it stack up against 2?
Eeeh, not as good imo.
It tackles the frustrations like recycled maps and a set backstory for your main character whose race is pre-determined and with limited customization even then, but at the cost of a coherent and believable storyline with fully fleshed out and consistent characterization for companions and villains.
Also, unless you’re playing on PC, PS4 or X-Box One, you won’t be able to see the end of the story, since they shipped the real epilogue as DLC and only for the new systems.
Whole game felt like kind of a shitty cashgrab. It was gorgeous and I really liked some of the companions and obviously I adored my Inquisitor but……… it gave me almost no emotional satisfaction in the story department.
Odd stories from the retail department at the Eye today
1. Man asks me to check if ice cream has eggs in it: I spend a good amount of time finding out in the freezing cold by trying to read the bottle up side down
2. A guy very seriously asked for a Pepsi at the Coca Cola London eye. Told me that we had sold our souls to the devil.
3. We are selling roses. Why? Who knows? But there are roses everywhere and whoever sells the most gets a bottle of champagne. I kind of want to win because there would be some fun in drinking champagne from the bottle alone on a Sunday evening with the roses I bought myself to win it
are you excited for Gary Oldman/Don Bluth's Dragon's Lair project?
I’m glad that it’s getting the chance to happen and proves that there’s still a sizable following and devotee to hand drawn animation. I think it’ll be nice to see but while Bluth is an amazing artist and animator he’s always kind of lacked in the story and character department so I’m not expecting much there