[Writing Help] Help coming up with ideas for animated shorts

I wasn’t sure where to post this, so I decided to put it in Misc. For a while, I’ve been suffering from a severe case of writer’s block, and I have no idea how to write an animated short, nor do I have any good ideas. This was keeping me from practicing in Pencil, so I decided to ask here: how do you come up with a good idea for an animation? How do you stay focused on one animation?

It’s very good question, and I guess the majority of us have this problem.

I wanted to do lot’s of animation practice with Pencil2D and I did not just want to animate 10 sec clips of this and that because in the end I wanted to have maybe a 2-4 minute short animation. I’d get the practice at the same time as I had created a bigger project out of it.

I just happened to listen to a humor podcast that had funny stories in them about 3 minutes long, they were set up like any fairy tale story but with some grown up humor twist to it. I thought that would be perfect to visualize, so I started to animate following that sound clip. And that’s what I’m doing now.

To create a story of your own is much harder of course but I was fed up trying to find the perfect story to do which resulted in no animation being done so that’s why I went for what I’m doing now.

@velocireed This is a difficult question as many writers suffer from that feeling. However, don’t let it control your output. There are many techniques to come up with ideas. These might not produce necessarily good ideas from the get go, but writing is a process of iteration which causes you to refine a story pretty much like you would a gemstone.

If you realize stories are just the same kind of tales recycled and re-purposed with current era sensibilities, then you could argue all stories are the same in their structure, however the “twist” that gives us things as different as harry potter from hunger games, where in a sense they are teenager stories where the MC has to find their place in the world through hardships and lots of struggling. They are very different due to their thematic approach, their setting, the way the story is told, and many other components.

Ideas are neither good nor bad, they are just ideas. So waiting for Inspiration is a waste of time. You do need to think what is your theme for the story you’re trying to tell, which means finding what you want to talk about to your audience. Is it world peace? maybe love? or maybe how you felt when you ate some pizza. It’s important to appreciate your own experiences, as you are the only one that can experience them in the way you do, and when told by you can be perceived differently by other people.

  1. A simple method is a “stream of consciousness” method, where you literally start writing anything that pops in your mind while trying to make a coherent story-sentence.

  2. Write a “shopping list” of ideas for places, character emotions, actions, objects, animals, etc. Then afterwards begin weaving relationships between those words and ask yourself what can come out of those. For example: Brick. Mouse. ¿Is it a mouse made of bricks? ¿does a mouse live on a brick house? maybe a mouse died under a brick and it’s spirit possessed the bricks and made a golem to hunt it’s murderer. So on and so forth.

  3. Analyze other literature. Scripts, short stories, comics, novels, anything. Try to distill their stories into quantifiable character actions. Who did what. So let’s say I was reading a Japanese graphic novel. This character was motivated by revenge, and kept hacking and slashing monsters until exacting revenge against the person who saved them from a monster while being a kid, but after saving a kid themselves, they find the joy of human relationships. That doesn’t sound too Japanese right? It very well could be a western, or a historical piece. That’s the template. It’s the storyline.

If you distill most things to their bare essence you find they are pretty much the same.

So for example, Batman Vs. Spiderman. Both are superheroes that had their precious parents taken away by a thug, and became crime fighters to prevent others from suffering the same. But after that it became a branching game. Both got their powers in different ways and for different reasons, while playing very different characters. One is a ninja with a billionaire playboy mask, the other one is a teenager with a mask that struggles with money. One shuts everyone away from their personal space to stay strong while fighting crime, the other one is in need or receives constant affection which helps him to get stronger to fight crime. Etc.

  1. Try https://www.seventhsanctum.com/ its a good page with a lot of character, stories and ideas generatos for many genres.

As for staying focused in animation…I’d suggest trying to impose on yoruself very clear goals. Like “today I will animate this leg” “tomorrow ill animate this arm” and so on. Don’t try to think youll do the “epic sword battle in perspective while jumping” on your first try. No one does. So divide and conquer. Breakdown your work in minuscule tasks that seem like a breeze to actually get the thing done.

Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it. I will try both suggestions and see where I get.

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