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Creating Animated Cartoons with Character: A Guide to Developing and Producing Your Own Series for TV, the Web, and Short Film Paperback – August 24, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

JOE MURRAY is an author, illustrator, animator, and filmmaker most widely known for his two hit animated shows, Rocko’s Modern Life and Camp Lazlo, both Emmy winners and with global fan bases in the millions of viewers. He has written and illustrated three children’s books, including Who Asked the Moon to Dinner? His production studio in Southern California has been in business for over 25 years. Visit Joe online at www.joemurraystudio.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill (August 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823033074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823033072
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #361,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Of course most of you reading this are interested in animation, and some of you may even dream of making your own animated television show someday. I know I do. I've had that dream since I was seven, and I've been working toward my goal by animating since I was ten. Unfortunately, even if you think you have a good concept for a show, you have no idea how to get it made, so your idea will probably just sit in your brain and you'll eventually take it with you to the grave.

Or at least, that's how it used to be. Luckily, the creator of Rocko's Modern Life and Camp Lazlo wrote a book that can help. Now you can know everything you ever wanted to, thanks to Joe Murray's Creating Animated Cartoons with Character: A Guide to Developing and Producing Your Own Series for TV, the Web and Short Film. (Goodness me, that's a long name for a book).

Creating Animated Cartoons with Character give readers the insight into what goes into creating an animated series from concept to bible to pitch to production, all using examples from Murray's own career as well as those of his friends, such as Stephen Hillenberg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants. Will you need an agent? Will they steal your ideas? The answers to questions every aspiring creator has are answered here. This book will force the reader to examine his or her motivation for attempting to make an animated series, as well as giving the reader a realistic idea of what to expect, or rather, what not to expect. Murray brilliantly explains how to create likeable characters and how to prepare a pitch. He also offers practical advice that can be used in just about any job, like not being a jerk and keeping your ego in check.
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Animation is a woefully little-examined field, and while nowadays several animators often write or blog about their experiences and techniques, it's much more difficult to find a streamlined, straight-forward examination of the entire process. Joe Murray, creator of hit shows Rocko's Modern Life and Camp Lazlo, does exactly that.

With a clear, comprehensive style, visual record, and insightful Q&As with other big-name animation experts, Murray pretty much answers every possible question one may have along the lines of developing a cartoon from the ground up. Pitching, design, character, scheduling, working with networks - everything is explained in as much detail as possible. There are some moments early on where the details are skipped, like how he moved on from local comic-newspaper artist to a full-fledged studio, but the details are about the network cartoon business, not so much his life before then.

I would say that the only issue I have is that there's a heavy use of metaphors, and while I understand it has such a writing trope to help the younger or the unfamiliar understand the business better, Murray is clear and concise enough with his initial explanations of events that it makes such analogies moot.

If you are curious about the business, eager to pitch your own cartoon, or looking to work in animation in any format, I would highly recommend this. Very down-to-earth and approachable, informative without being condescending, and - well, let's be frank: it's the entire approach by the guy who created one of the best animated shows in mid-90s. That alone makes it a must read.
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Disclosure: I worked for Joe on one of his shows, and this book reminds me how great that time was.
First, this book is an amazing snapshot of the industry, and all the mechanics running deep below the surface-- Things not evident to the staff, even.
This book is also a precise and lucid step-by-step guide to one of the most harrowing situations in entertainment. Having struck gold twice, Murray has a sober understanding of what happens, what never happens, and how you need to understand and re-tool yourself as things inevitably change. I'm going into this process now, and it's making all the difference that having the lights on would make if I was in a strange building, with dogs chasing me.
It's also a passionate treatise on retaining your artistic passion, and your courage-- Which is really really hard in this industry. He gives advice on how to avoid being crushed by the network juggernauts, or where to go if you'd rather have nothing to do with them.
This book does the astounding trick of granting the reader years of experience, like some sort of magic wand. Joe Murray has the understanding and clear writing ability to make it all seem relatively simple.
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It's great, but the only problem is that Joe doesn't make it clear what you have to study to be a cartoonist or filmmaker, and whether or not the original creator of a film or cartoon takes part of the animation production. It's come to my attention that the original creator does nothing after she/he sells her/his series to a company.
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I was expecting a typical book about a series but this one is not the case. Murray describes the whole process of a cartoon Tv Show. He talked about his carrer, his series, provides interviews with other creators. The best thing of this book is that it lets you search for more information just by searching the series mentioned during the interviews and in the end of the book there is a list of books you may be interested to read. I find that an excellent addition Murray added to the book
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