Animation Guild

Fall 2019

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FALL 2019 15 F R A M E X F R A M E ONCE YOU HAD THE OUTLINE, HOW DID YOU DIVIDE THE WRITING? SCOTT: We split it right down the middle, each wrote a half. Then we swapped halves and edited each other. JOSH: Because we've been working together for such a long time, it's easy to go, "Oh, this stinks." He's not going to get offended, and the same thing goes for me. Part of the fun is the merging of our voices. So, for us, Captain Kevin is really the symbol for that. He is the epitome of that sense of humor that we were really excited about writing. He's very punny, very much in a dad joke space. One of the very first things I wrote was his introduction where he comes up and he kicks Mike. He's an adult kicking a child on the side of the Amazon and he's wearing no pants. He just has his boxer shorts on so he is this outrageous character. Once we had that … SCOTT: … we got the tone. AND AFTER YOU SWAPPED? SCOTT: We took a pass editing the whole thing and not just fixing typos. If we had a huge change [like] if we wanted to throw out a chapter then we'd discuss it. But we gave each other leeway to really re-write each other. JOSH: Once we got to the point where we were ready to pass it back to our editor, I was reading it to my kids. TO MAKE SURE THEY WOULD LAUGH? JOSH: Some of that is establishing the internal rhythm of the word choice and the syntax. There were a couple times later in our editorial pass where we had to go back and forth with our copy editors because it was like, "We know this is not grammatically correct but this is the rhythm. Otherwise, it breaks the joke. If the kid is not reading it like this, they're not going to laugh." SCOTT: I think that comes from seeing our work on TV. It's not just about having it perfect, it's about how does this character sound out loud. Maybe on the page it works but you have to use your ear when you write it. JOSH: Kids are great test subjects because if they don't laugh, that's it. It's not like they're hiding their reactions from you. SCOTT: It's great to get a review from a journalist but when you hear, "Oh, my kid stayed up past his bedtime reading," or "I heard my kid laughing in the other room,"— that's so much more rewarding. WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO CREATE THIS BOOK TOGETHER? SCOTT: One is being able to create something that comes from within so it's not servicing someone else's vision—to have something that's uniquely ours, something that… JOSH: …only we could write and is largely unfiltered. SCOTT: It's not going through 17 different hoops to get on the air. For the most part, what we originally wrote is still on the page. JOSH: That's hugely satisfying. All the folks who work in animation know how collaborative it is, and generally collaborative for good. But there are times when things get watered down and the intent is lost. Thematically, underneath all of that, we wanted to tell a story that was about how you find adventure nowadays. SCOTT: The idea that if everything in the world has been seen by satellites, are there really still temples out there? This is something Mike wrestles with, "Everything's been discovered so there are no rewards. Why take any risks?" JOSH: We were calling it Shipwreckers and Disney was not into that idea. SCOTT: They thought it sounded too much like pirates. JOSH: When you look back at all old adventure stories, anything with Robinson in the title— Robinson Crusoe and Swiss Family Robinson— everything happens after the shipwreck. On some level, that's what life is like. Things can go terrible and you lose everything but that can be the beginning of the adventure. SCOTT: It's the catalyst for something exciting. That's actually the Captain's motto: The shipwreck is the beginning. JOSH: I think for most people that's how they look at themselves and their lives—I'm trying to avoid a shipwreck. He's actually trying to drive toward one. SCOTT: I think in a way, at least for me, I was also writing that for myself because it's hard to take risks. Illustrations courtesy of Brian Ajhar. @Disney-Hyperion

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