Ideas for the Animated Short : Finding and Building Stories book cover
2nd Edition

Ideas for the Animated Short
Finding and Building Stories

ISBN 9780240818726
Published March 11, 2013 by Routledge
280 Pages 240 Color Illustrations

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Book Description

Editor's note: there has been an issue with the book's companion site. Focal Press is fixing the issue.  In the meanwhile, please visit for all the material promised in the book.

From demo reel creation to festival shorts, students and professionals alike are creating animated shorts that are dynamic and eye catching but the time constraints of these shorts are challenging in their own right. The unique format of the animated short of two to five minutes in length presents a practical and aesthetic challenge that is rarely addressed in the classroom. Ideas for the Animated Short is a comprehensive and practical blueprint for creative and unique animated short creation with a focus on the strength of a compelling story. A comprehensive guide to the animated short, this title is an invaluable asset for aspiring animation professionals, students and independent filmmakers. Explore the process of developing a short from conception to final delivery and adapt the industry's best practices in your own workflow. Written by four leading animators, artists and professors, Ideas for the Animated Short is written from the unique perspective of a professional animator adapting creative stories into incredible animated shorts.

Follow from start to finish the creation of an animated short from the pre-production thought process to story development and character design. Explore the best practices and avoid the common pitfalls of creating two to five minute shorts. Watch a specially created animated short, demonstrating the core techniques and principles at the companion website! Packed with illustrated examples of idea generation, character and story development, acting, dialogue and storyboarding practice this is your conceptual toolkit proven to meet the challenges of this unique art form. The companion website includes in-depth interviews with industry insiders, short animations (many with accompanying animatics, character designs and environment designs) and an acting workshop to get your animated short off to a flying start! With all NEW content on script writing, acting, sound design and visual storytelling that further enhance your animated shorts and apply the industry best practices to your own projects.

Table of Contents

Foreword: John Tarnoff, DreamWorks Animation



"Bee Sting" by Demetri Martin

Chapter 1: Story Background and Theory

Making the Animated Short: An Interview with Andrew Jimenez, Pixar Animation Studios

Chapter 2: Finding Ideas

The Ideas Behind Technological Threat: An interview with Bill and Sue Kroyer

The Ideas Behind Moongirl: An Interview with Mike Cachuela

Chapter 3: Acting: Exploring the Human Condition

The Importance of Play: An Interview with Jack Canfora, Playwright

Chapter 4: Building Character and Location

Personality, Goals, Shapes and Variance in Character Design: Tom Bancroft, Funnypages Production, LLC

Visual Design: Interviews with Kendal Cronkhite and Kathy Altieri, DreamWorks Feature Animation

Chapter 5: Building Story

Making It Visual: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. An interview with Brandon Oldenburg and Adam Volker, Moonbot Studios (excerpt)

Chapter 6: Off the Rails: An Introduction to Nonlinear Storytelling

An Interview with Deanna Morse

Chapter 7: The Purpose of Dialogue

The ABCCCs of Voice and Dialects for Animators: Ginny Kopf

Creating Music to Support Narrative: An Interview With Perry Lamarca

Chapter 8: Storyboarding

Storyboarding: An Interview with Nathan Greno, Walt Disney Feature Animation

Chapter 9: Staging

On Staging: An interview and shot analysis with Steve Hickner, Dreamworks Animation Studios

Chapter 10: Developing a Short Animated Film with Aubry Mintz

Pitching Stories: Sande Scoredos, Sony Pictures Imagesworks

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Karen Sullivan, Faculty/Media Arts Coordinator, Department of Computer Animation, Ringling College of Art and Design

Kate Alexander, Associate Director Education and Touring, Florida Studio Theatre

Aubry Mintz, Professor of Art, Illustration/Animation, California State University Long Beach

Ellen Besen, Animation filmmaker/mentor; author of Animation Unleashed published by MWP