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Paul Wells teaches scriptwriting for animation at VAF headquarters

19 september 2008
Some 30 animation professionals and students attended a Scriptwriting For Animation workshop presented by Paul Wells, Director of Animation at The Animation Academy (Loughborough University, UK) and author of a number of books about animation, such as Scriptwriting (2007).
Because so many people expressed their interest in this workshop, the Flemish Audiovisual Fund (VAF) decided to organise two sessions.Combining his vast experience with script editing for tv series and his academic background in the field of animation, Paul Wells is very well placed to give a workshop on the topic of Scriptwriting For Animation. 'Compared to the narrative structure in live action movies, animation works differently', he explains. 'One of the most crucial elements is the choice of the technique you will be using. This choice may deeply influence the way you are going to tell your story. For instance, when you opt for stop motion animation, you will consider camera movements like you would in a live action environment. But in the case of drawn animation, you have total freedom in this respect'.Paul Wells introduces Polly the Penguin, formerly known as an anonymous coffeepot.Wells stresses the incredible potential of, and freedom within animation, and the downside that is linked to it: the need to control all this freedom. 'Animation offers us some very particular ways of seeing, and many possibilities. It enables metamorphosis and even anthropomorfism, the imposition of human traits on animals, objects and environments. It is a very helpful given that you can do this without question. Animation is also very good at the creation of alternative worlds, it is 'the art of the impossible'. But with all this freedom arises the matter of how we are going to manage that, to discipline ourselves. You need some structure, so the more limited the rules you set for yourself, the more creative you can become within this framework.'Asked what animation professionals can get out of workshops like this, Paul Wells argues that practitioners and people working with visual languages on a daily basis tend to be very naturalized in the things that they do. 'For animation professionals, workshops like this can help them re-think methods that are so-called 'common place'. And you shouldn't forget that a lot of practitioners learn in a hands-on process'.A cork screw can be a main character... only in a an animated movie.Steven De Beul from Beast Animation Studios, one of the animation professionals who attended the workshop, agrees that it can be useful to freshen up some of these principles. 'But it is primarily very interesting for students aspiring to make their first animated film'. Second year animation students Rosanna Janssens and Emmy Castelain are thrilled: 'This is a very stimulating workshop. So far, we have not come across these issues in our education, so we find it very helpful.'Scriptwriting by Paul Wells: A book addressing the variety of approaches in scripting, visualising an developing an animated film. Available at Website Animation Academy / Loughborough University