Making an Animated Web Series

I’m taking a year long sabbatical to work on personal creative projects, and my main project is working on an animated web series. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years, so it’s really exciting that I’m actually getting to do it now.

I know a lot of writers that are interested in doing an animated project, so I wanted to go over some of the animation process.

It’s a ton of work! Here’s my rough breakdown of what’s involved:

SCRIPT

  • concept
  • logline
  • outline
  • script

ART DIRECTION

  • character design
  • character turnarounds
  • character model sheet with expressions and poses
  • background and prop design
  • finalize art style

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interview: Minty Lewis, creator of Bottom’s Butte

Even though we both live in LA, I first met Minty in Austin at the Austin Film Festival! Then we became Facebook friends and I saw that she created a short, so I had to ask her all about it. Follow this super talented lady on Twitter @mintylewis.

Your short has an alpaca and a peanut as the main characters! How’d you come up with the idea for your short?

It’s all kind of blurry when I look back on the origin, almost three years ago at this point. I knew I wanted to pitch something before I knew what I wanted to pitch, so I basically just threw a bunch of ideas at the wall and then saw what stuck for me. One of the things I was thinking about was my aunt Beverly, who has a giant, joyful, reckless personality, but now has Alzheimer’s and spent most of her life in dealing with alcoholism. Specifically, I was thinking about a story of hers in which she decided to audition for a play as she was drunkenly walking by a theater. They called to give her the lead role the next day, but once she sobered up she didn’t have the guts to follow through. The alpaca character (also named Beverly) grew out of me thinking about what it would be like if she could’ve just maintained that sweet spot of drunkenness. Like, maybe great things would have been possible if she could have just held on to that optimism and extroversion and risk-seeking behavior?

Translating these musings into a cartoon character, I’ve landed on a straitlaced alpaca who twisted her bun too tight and turned into a freewheelin’ teenager. The fact that she’s specifically an alpaca isn’t all that important, I just felt like there’d be more range in what I could do with her and the world if she wasn’t a human. People just seem more willing to accept/laugh at dark ideas if there’s a goofy cartoon face in front of them. I’ve always appreciated how nuts alpacas look with all the teeth and the hair, but you can take any creature and make it seem serious/nerdy/sexy/etc. with the details of the character design. The Peanette character grew out of a totally separate path where I was thinking about a “peanut butler,” but after I did some drawings and she turned into a burnout wearing a denim jacket, she seemed like a good pal for Beverly.

RELATED LINKS:

Bottom’s Butte

Behind the Scenes with Busy Philipps and me

Interview with me about the short

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writing recap of 2015, goals for 2016

So 2015 turned out to be a good a pretty good year. I finally got an agent, had meetings, wrote a new pilot, got some good feedback.

Friends of mine had good years as well. They got repped, got staffed, placed in contests and programs. I’m hoping the good momentum continues for everyone this year!

My goals for 2015 were:

1 – Get an agent.
YES

2 – Get staffed on a show.
NO. I had some meetings though.

3 – Write 2 pilots.
SORT OF. I wrote 1 pilot and started an outline of another, so 1.5.

4 – Work on some other creative project: either a feature, a web series, or an animated pitch.
NO. I came up with a bunch of ideas, but nothing that I loved enough to finish.
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