1) So, exactly what do you do, Andrew?
What do I do, or what do I want to do? Those are two very different questions.
2) Why don't you tell us both.
Okay. I'll start with what I do.
I am a writer, mostly of animated feature screenplays. Approximately 90-115 pages, action and dialogue, some people will tell you that's a little long and others will tell you that's just about right. So far, I've written about talking animals, but they act more human in some of my stories than in others.
What I want to do is find a way to make a living at it.
3) But isn't that sort of automatic? You write a script, send it off to Dreamworks or Disney, someone eventually likes it and draws it?
I wish it worked that way. The big studios have hordes of lawyers who make sure that outside scripts never get read. Animation scripts doubly so; there are teams of staff writers and storyboard artists and layers of other creative types working "in-house" at the studios, so an outsider has a lot of barriers to overcome.
4) Is it utterly hopeless?
No--maybe one of these days I'll be one of those 'in-house' types. Also, independent films get made, 'smaller' production companies, often outside the States. People find ways in. I've been hitting contests (carefully choosing my targets--like so many things, entering those costs money!).
5) Enough of the industry nuts and bolts. What sort of stories do you like to tell?
I like to take people on adventures to other times and places, and give them a world they can buy into and characters they want to root for, even if I've tweaked the rules a bit. That may mean Jewish mice facing down an ocean liner full of Nazis, or a weasel rescuing his amnesiac true love from a medical research lab--I'm working on a live-action story about a would-be soldier in the Vietnam War who learned that there are a million wrong ways to get out of the Army.
6) Sounds like war and animals, or combinations of the two, are strong themes in your work.
My grandfather was an aircraft mechanic in World War II, and I've had other relatives in the military. As to animals, I was nearly a biologist, then realized I liked writing about animals a lot more than dissecting them.
7) Does faith play a role in your stories?
Yes, and I can give you two short anecdotes. In one of my stories a character prays before facing a challenge, and that surprised a reader, who said she had not seen a character do that in an animation story. Maybe that's rare but it fit the character.
Another time, a long time ago, before moving to Los Angeles, I had another reader, supposedly with some experience, rip apart one of my scripts and tell me it would never stand a chance unless I "took out all the Christian symbolism". I didn't even realize it was there, but going back over it, I realized it would destroy the story if I did. I left it in, and no one else has ever griped about it.
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