H-B Animation scripts - glossary

From: chance <chance_at_unix.infoserve.net>
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 1996 06:56:47 -0800

I forgot to do this, so here it is:

(reference "Blowout!")

O.S. = "Out of Shot". That portion of the scene occurring just outside the view
            of the 'camera', or otherwise obscured from being seen.

VO = "Voice Over". The character's line of spoken dialogue or other sound effect
           is heard, but the camera isn't on the character or device responsible. For
           instance, the camera focusses in on Prof. Hackle driving out of the junkyard
           in his truck, and we hear the two Metallikats squabbling in the back, though
           we don't see them:

                                                          MAC (VO)
                                          Maybe you could make her without a mouth?

                                           .....and *him* taller!

POV = "Point of View". The camera 'sees' the scene from the point of view of
            one of the characters present in it. For instance, if Callie, Razor and T-Bone
             were having a discussion and the Kat guys wound up blushing, the writer
             may have us 'look' at Razor/T-Bone from the 'POV' of Callie.

OTS = "Over The Shoulder" Similar to POV in execution, but the character or
             prop named immediately following the 'OTS' is also visible in the shot.
             For instance, if the line went "ANGLE ON DARK KAT OTS RAZOR",
             we'd be looking at Dark Kat perhaps threatening Razor, from the back
             of Razor's head; literally, 'over his shoulder'.

PAN WITH = The 'camera' follows the characters as they approach other
                        characters or props. For instance, "PAN WITH Creeplings
                        as they approach REACTOR CORE".

WIDE TO ESTABLISH = Means that the 'camera' is looking at the scene far
            enough back that we can see the building, scene or other manner of 'set'
            that the action will take place in during subsequent frames. For instance,
            Razor and T-Bone land the Turbokat and we see them approaching
            a chain link fence, the scene fades out, then the camera goes "WIDE TO
            ESTABLISH" on the now familiar Pumadyne laboratory. You generally
            see this each time there's a major location change, like leaving the
            boys at the garage for a scene of Feral at Enforcer Hindquarters. After
            CUT TO: ENFORCER HQ, we'd have EXT. ENFORCER HQ - DAY
            and WIDE TO ESTABLISH. Basically, it's letting the audience know that
            the subsequent scenes of Feral take place during the daytime at Enforcer
            Headquarters, and not in the previous locale of Jake and Chance Garage.

CUT TO, DISSOLVE TO, and FADE TO: = Are different ways of changing from
            one scene to the next.

BG = "Back Ground". This is the painting that forms the background for various scenes.
           Each cel or combination of cels is placed overtop of a background painting
           and photographed. This is done 24 times for each second of film-footage, and
           many times that before the background is changed to something else. During
           the multi-character free-for-all at the end of "Katastrophe", the action takes
           place in the Tuna factory. There were very few backgrounds needed for
           that whole scene, though many different character cels were required to
           depict the fight happening against them.

ANIMATE BG = "Animate Background" This *generally* means that there's action
          taking place in a mechanical contrivance of some description - like a train or
          the Turbokat - and these vehicles have to appear as though they're moving.
          We focus in on T-Bone flying the Turbokat cursing the throttle because he's
           flying far too fast, and the BG is actually what's moving - not the TK. This
           is sometimes used in conjunction with foreground motion to make something
           look as though it's hurtling by at light speed.

ANGLE ON: A 'camera' direction. There's a big vault with Creeplings hammering
           away at the locking mechanism, and your attention is directed to the Vault
           door by "ANGLE ON VAULT DOOR".

CLOSE ON: 'Camera' zooms in on a character or prop. We have an exterior shot
           of the Turbokat closing on a target, and we want to get a closer shot of
           the cockpit. The camera direction might be "CLOSE ON COCKPIT",
           or might go one step further to pay more attention to Razor than T-Bone
           by saying "CLOSE ON COCKPIT FAVOURING RAZOR".

ECU, CU, XXCU: All variations of "Close Up" - 'Extreme Close Up", "Close Up"
           and "Xtra Xtra Close Up" respectively. Usually pertaining to a character when
           you want the focus on a particular facial expression that'd be basically invisible
           when the character is drawn full-frame (i.e., you can see his feet and head in the
           same shot!). XXCU might go as far as having only the character's eyes or
           mouth fill the 'screen'.

WORM'S EYE VIEW: This is literally what it implies; that the camera is on the ground
           at roughly the level of a worm looking up at the scene. For instance, Dark Kat
            pulls a gun on Razor, and T-Bone throws a rock at Dark Kat's hand, knocking
            the gun to the ground immediately in front of Razor. Razor steps on the gun
            with his foot before DK can retrieve it. We want the camera to get Razor's
            foot on the gun, and Dark Kat's reaction all within the same frame, so the
            'Camera Direction' might go something like this:

              Razor's foot stomps on the gun as Dark Kat attempts to retrieve it.
              Dark Kat rubs his sore wrist

(note: There are *wide* variations in style depending on who is writing what and for
          whom. Some Disney scripts I've got are a bit more, well, "formal" than
          Lance's stuff, but are downright hard to read as a result. )


Q: "What's the difference between backgrounds and props?"

A: Just like the stage, gang. A "prop", even a drawn one, is something that the characters
interact with. "Background" is simply the eye-candy in, literally, the background.
Jake and Chance sitting on the sofa watching Skaredy Kat in the garage breaks
down like this:

Garage, walls, pictures, famous 'ever-July' Calendar: all "Background"
TV remote, Nachos, couch, anchovies: all "props".
Skaredy Kat: believe it or not, he's considered a character despite the fact the TV
is a prop! (Chance throws the milk can through the picture tube, you see, and thus
interacts with it...keeping Katsui in the picture-tube business in the process)

Anything that has to react to a character's touch is either another character or a prop.
It's easy to tell the difference in everything but "The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat"
(where you even have to feed the backgrounds).

Q: "Why is some stuff capitalized and other stuff not?"

A: Tougher. Generally, all the directions to the 'camera' and character names are
capitalized. Also, depending on the writer, actions requiring special effects and props
that'll need new designs may also be capitalized for a variety of reasons. That's why
you get things like:

"The FEAR SHIP latches on to the Turbokat and YANKS it UP AND O.S."

FEAR SHIP is something the artists are going to have to design for the show, and
a sound effect and movement pattern will have to be developed for "YANK".
These "special" drawings and breakdowns become part of what they called
"show packs"; individual for each episode. That's why the drawings in the
"Toon" article of the Glovatrix remind the storyboard artists that the armament
found within the Glovatrix varies from show-to-show, and to check the
"individual show-packs" for details.

(Cut this out and save it somewhere for when we get the first draft of what would've
been "Curse of Kataluna")

Oh yeah, one more note. In the script, Lance references things like "From Show 4"
and so on. If you have the "Animato!" article handy, the numerical order of the eps
there is what Lance is referring to. There's also a couple of name changes that you'll
pick up on, chiefly "Occulus" instead of "Morbulus"; "Fear Ship" instead of "Doomsday
Express", and I-forget-which in place of "Turbo-Mole". When Lance wrote the first
draft of this, the stuff that'd been previously written hadn't gotten beyond storyboards,
and there were still changes to be made before the eps got animated overseas. For
instance, the name "Occulus" from "The Giant Bacteria" was changed just before the
completed episode aired (and Viper's dialogue all had to be re-done using "Morbulus"
instead) because a copyright conflict was uncovered concerning the "Occulus" name
and some defunct Marvel Comics character. Other names are changed for a variety
of reasons, sometimes because Broadcast Standards and Practices ("BS&P" or
"The Censors" for all you "Eek!", "Reboot" and "Animaniacs" fans) feels the name will
be too frightening for kids, or might be interpreted as something naughty, or simply
because someone with hungrier Lawyers used it first (as with "Occulus"). Often they're
changed because someone in the crew like the Tremblays etc comes up with a
better-sounding name while reading the script (as with "Turbo-Mole" vs. whatever
was used in "Blowout!").

"Blowout!" was slated to end the first season, but was handed to Glenn Leopold
for story editing and completely changed around to become "Katastrophe". Lance
felt Leopold's script was better than his (in fact, he even went as far to describe
himself as "burned-out" while penning it), so he didn't object to the changes whatsoever.

(anyone still want to write screenplays for a career after that lot?)
"Dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the sled dogs that relayed
 antitoxin six hundred miles over rough ice, across treacherous waters,
 through Arctic blizzards from Nenana to the relief of stricken Nome in
 the winter of 1925. Endurance, Fidelity, Intelligence." -- "Balto"

Received on Tue Mar 12 1996 - 10:40:25 PST

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