Animation Guild

Fall 2019

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14 KEYFRAME F R A M E X F R A M E YOU WERE USED TO COLLABORATING ON TV SCRIPTS BUT NEVER TACKLED AN ORIGINAL NOVEL. WHAT DID THAT PROCESS LOOK LIKE? SCOTT: It started with character—Captain Kevin. We wanted to have a character who would make bad jokes. I always like characters who are much more confident than their abilities should merit. We kept thinking, what if Indiana Jones was confident and cocky but was just an idiot and had none of the skills he needed. So the kids who are along have to step up. They become the heroes for this guy who can't take care of himself. JOSH: And delusional characters are really fun to write. One of the things that Scott tried to emphasize early on was we have to make sure they're characters that we want to write. Every step is going to be fun. So that's really what we focused on. You have a young character, Mike, who's an armchair adventurer, and his little sister, who's Han Solo-ish, and out for herself. She wants to treasure hunt and he's always trying to pull her back. SO WERE YOU GUYS ENVISIONING THE JUNGLE CRUISE? SCOTT: Initially, yes, and we thought that was a good entry way because we were going to be pitching this to Disney. Let's use some touchstones that make sense for them. JOSH: We had pitched them some other ideas but that was the one that they really took to. Our work on Phineas and Ferb had a broad audience. Parents can watch it too. We try to keep it really smart and funny and accessible for kids, and we wanted Shipwreckers to do that as well. SO YOU STARTED WITH THE CHARACTERS. HOW DID YOU ACTUALLY START WRITING THE BOOK? SCOTT: We used a lot of the same processes that we developed for TV. We would break it out into an outline and then put it up on cards just like we would for an episode. JOSH: We wrote some sample chapters, and those mostly remained unchanged, but they were the climax of the book. We knew we were going to get to a place where Mike, who's our homebody, comes out of his shell a little bit and embraces the adventure—that was part of his arc. SCOTT: He starts out very risk averse. He's all about protecting his sister. By the end, he learns, you have to take risks in life or you don't get anywhere. JOSH: So we worked from that backwards. IT WASN'T A LINEAR PROCESS. JOSH: Very early on it was a wish list. What do we want to write? What would be really fun? SCOTT: Oh, it'd be cool if there's a giant temple. What if there was a huge ship graveyard full of ships? JOSH: The book gets weirder as you go. It starts out very relatable and then becomes something outrageous and fantastical almost. FOR ALMOST A DECADE, WRITERS SCOTT PETERSON AND JOSH PRUETT HAVE WORKED TOGETHER IN SOME FORM. THEY MET ON THE HAUNTED MANSION, THEN SOLIDIFIED THEIR WORKING RELATIONSHIP (AND PROCLIVITY FOR DAD JOKES) ON PHINEAS AND FERB. THE NOTION OF CREATING THEIR OWN CHARACTERS AND STORY WITHOUT A FILTER WAS WORTH PURSUING, SO THE TWO SET THEIR SIGHTS ON WRITING AN ORIGINAL CHILDREN'S NOVEL. The resulting book, Shipwreckers! The Curse of the Cursed Temple of Curses—or—We Nearly Died. A Lot. (Disney-Hyperion), hit bookstores on May 21, almost four years after the two first pitched the idea. However, the first draft only took three months to write. Here, Pruett and Peterson take us inside their collaborative process and why they were drawn to print. ON THE SAME PAGE Josh Pruett (left) and Scott Peterson

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