Monday, January 11, 2016
Sometimes I have a little something that might be helpful to somebody, some little tidbit about how ADVENTURE TIME gets made. Like tonight's episode "Angel Face"! See, at first Kent and Adam and Pen and I were trying to write a MOST DANGEROUS GAME kind of outline about the King of Ooo hunting his subjects for sport, ha ha ha! We hashed it out for days and just couldn't make it go anywhere (though we used a scrap of it in the outline for "Stakes," the Marceline arc from earlier this year). So then one day both Adam and Kent were busy, as I recall it (the latter out of town, maybe?), leaving Pen and me alone, still trying to figure out this "hunting Crunchy for sport" episode, and for some reason I said that Jake could be a tiny horse that BMO was riding... and Pen was like, "Let's go with that." Another good writing lesson from Pen, because he didn't mean "Let's see how we can fit that into our story," he meant "Let's write a whole new outline based on that image." And so we did, over the course of a single meeting, after spending days and days going in another direction. And when Adam came back he strengthened what we had done (adding the surprise identity of the antagonist, just for example) and then of course Somvilay and Seo made it into something solid for real, the way they do, what with their storyboarding and writing the whole dang thing and all (sentient sandwiches, for example). Oh, the only other thing I can tell you is I came up with the name "Angel Face" because of the Robert Mitchum movie of that title (above), which I happened to be thinking about, though it's not a western and has absolutely nothing to do with the story we came up with. So! What's the lesson? Don't be afraid to abandon your original idea, I guess. If you're stuck, shift your focus: it might open the floodgates! And you can always save and reuse scraps of an idea that doesn't work. Latch onto an evocative image. Writing can be fun? And titles don't have to mean anything. Maybe those aren't the lessons.