September 16, 2014 by bck1402
We all start somewhere, right?
So this one was the first for me, and forgive me if the recollections aren’t all there. It’s been a long time since writing this one – that’s back in 2008 – and even watching the cartoon, not everything comes back to mind.
This was the first show I worked on and this particular episode was the first I did on my own. Not really knowing anything, I put my name on the script along with the other writer, and yes, there was some discussion with her about the story, which came from the show’s producers/creator. Their idea and I had to put the story to it. I just followed instructions, used the characters they had and tried to figure how everyone behaved and where they were going. It was only much later along the series that I found my groove.
For this, I got the idea to let the lead characters, Gloria, tell the tale – and granted, it’s not an original approach. What it did let me do was get into the head of the lead character, get a feel for her, creatively speaking. Don’t get dirty-minded, she’s just a little kid and I had to tell her stories.
I was given a look at the designs of the characters and the world they inhabited. Naturally, all that had to play out in my head so that I could envision what to put on the paper. I also had notes to follow, so having that local cultural element was a requirement. Granted, I had no real idea if the setting was supposed to be local or not. After all, Gloria had blond hair.
The plot was simple enough. Gloria breaks a valuable teapot and lies about it while trying to fix it. Do children actually do that? No idea, but I figure that some kids, trying to avoid punishment or trouble, might do that. Sure, as a kid, I’ve lied before to avoid punishment or trouble. Not so much now because, really, once you learn that lesson of ‘don’t do that’, it kinda sticks.
At this point, there were a couple of Sugar Pals around, these little deserts that had come to life to assist Gloria wight he life lessons, sometimes be her conscience. Others would come along and there would be a number of them later, but at this point, we had cupcake Lotte and the candy-cane dog, Mint.
It was meant to be a half hour episode, which I figured would run about 20-23 minutes. The common rule in screenwriting was that one page was equivalent of one minute. So, the script ended at 21 pages. Of course, it was too short. To compensate, they added in a little ditty at the beginning of the cartoon and when the other writer and I saw that, it was a little jarring. The dark city scape, with dirty alleys and the bum… not quite what we envisioned based on the initial designs we saw. It was meant to be a nice little small town with a row of shop houses and a park somewhere; like a suburbia.
So, lessons abound in any case. I learnt to make sure to exceed the page count, giving more than needed. It was always better to have stuff to cut out than have nothing to add in. Yes – that’s editing. Writing as much as you can and the whittling it away to find the gem, cutting away at that lump of compressed carbon and have the diamond appear – okay, a little pretentious, yeh?
Anyway, I’ll let the work speak for itself. Here’s the script.
It took a long time to find the cartoon and for the longest time, the only way I though you cold see it was through this iPhone/iPad app. Now, you can see it on Toon Googles where the first six are free, and you have to subscribe to see the rest.
(sorry – the episode link didn’t work as it defaulted to the first. The featured episode is the fourth one… the last box of the first row below the video screen)
Sugar Pals is copyright to Backbone Entertainment