Sunday, October 18, 2009

Are Cartoonists Valued In The Cartoon Business?


Who should get credit for a cartoon's success?

When an average person thinks about cartoons, who does he thinks makes them? Probably cartoonists, right? I mean, they're called "cartoons", not animated scripts. Do they sell script pages at cartoon galleries?

I know when you get a couple cartoonists together drawing in public - like at a restaurant, they quickly amass a crowd of waiters and customers gushing over the funny scribbles we do, and making requests for us to draw them some cartoons. They ask us to draw their favorite characters and to draw their babies and pets. And they demand "funny". "Darw heem weeth a really beeg nose". And they have a million theories about the wonders of talent. Everybody enjoys a cartoonist. Well almost...

I can't imagine people crowding around cartoon writers and asking them to write them a funny paragraph, can you? "Excuse me sir, can you write me a funny Sponge Bob gag?" or "Write my baby."

Caricaturists are extremely popular at parks and parties. I've never heard of anyone paying to have a verbal description of their face written about them. ...Although Eddie is a great verbal caricaturist and I'd pay to read his descriptions of people's unflattering gifts from God, but I think he's the only one who does it so there isn't yet a market for it.

I know general average folks appreciate cartooning talent because I witness it all the time. Almost everyone. But when I got in the business I found out that the business itself didn't appreciate the people who are the reason the business has a market at all.

Cartoonists were at the bottom of the totem pole. Executives confer with "writers" and gave them the sole upfront credit for each cartoon.


Now when I think of writers, I think of people who have something original to say and the gift of verbal communication to pass on their unique points of view to the public. Novelists, maybe some old time poets, journalists, people who have a burning desire inside to share their thoughts about subjects of which they have personal knowledge - like Ted Geisel, have a great imagination and unique communicative skills.

There is a another kind of writer though who has no particular point of view, no knowledge of the subjects he writes about, no imagination and no love for cartoons - and not the least amount of skill or talent for communicating anything fresh or interesting.


These are "writers-for-hire" a kind of wimpy mercenary who will write anything for money on demand. This is what we had in the cartoon business in the 80s. A "writer-for-hire" would write a superhero story one day, then a Smurfs the next day and follow it up with a "Muppet-Babies". never- ever would they be caught dead talking to the artists about what they would like to draw or what they thought would be funny.

These parasites for some reason were the only people to get any credit in the title card before a cartoon.

Meet a writer for hire who explains arena to you. See her say these things with a straight face.

"I remember from being a kid are usually the ones that deal with things, like for example, in The Land Before Time, deals with the death of a mother figure"

Wow, that sounds pretty damn funny.

"If you're making a cartoon, you can have free range to put your story in where ever you want, because you don't actually have to make the place, rather than, you know, of course you have to draw it. You don't have to make it."

She means she doesn't have to make it. The cartoonists slaves do.

"So if you really want to elevate your cartoon into something more than just a "cartoon", incorporate these real life themes."

Or why not write something that isn't animated and see if you can sell it on the basis of your immense skill?

How to Write a Cartoon Script -- powered by

more rant to come and what changed all that...