AWI 2012: Robert Axelrod on Anime Writing



By Samantha Simmons

AnimeWorld Indianapolis is proud to present Robert Axelrod as a guest of honor. Today, Axelrod spoke to con-goers about the ins and outs of script writing.

The panel, which was just as entertaining as it was informational, detailed what it takes to write scripts and how to begin. According to Axelrod, most scripts use boards approximately 8.5×11 inches in order to fit the most information onto confined space. These boards are divided into four columns: the loop column, the character column, the time code and the dialouge.

The loop column is for a character’s lines. Axelrod said this is called the loop column because snippets of the lines are recorded and replayed in loops to help perfect the timing and tone of the line to be used. This column is unique because typical punctuation is not used. Proper punctuation is only used when the line calls for a specific tone from the actor. “/” is used to seperate lines and pauses. So if you were reading a script / It would resemble this sentence here / pretty neat, huh?

The second column, the character column, simply states who speaks.

The third column is the most interesting and perhaps the most important. This is the time code column, in which the exact time and frame in which the character must speak (in regards to the final product) must be placed. Axelrod said that typically, we see 30 picture frames per second–which results in a motion picture. The time code column will tell the engineer of the project precisely where to insert a voice recording. For example, “01 20 58″ means that a voice must play at the first minute, 20 second mark on the 58th frame.

The fourth and final column lists the dialouge between two or more characters.

So that was script writing in a nutshell. Axelrod gave a great presentation with humor and audience interaction. He let the audience come up with ideas for the mock-script on the dry erase board, which lead to a Digimon script. Eventually, “Wizardmon” appaeared and told another character ”I am Wizardmon / believe in yourself”

Axelrod also took the time to answer audience questions, and even give insightful criticisms of the industry. Even Lord Zedd’s voice made his appearance. If asked to play Lord Zedd once again, Axelrod says he’d do it so long as the price was right. He said that he prefers unionized working, and that an offer would only be accepted under such conditions. He furthur explained that many industry heads are like bobbleheads: all of them need to nod up and down in order for anything to get done.

If you missed this exciting panel, don’t worry AnimeWorld con-goers! Robert Axelrod will be here tomorrow and will present another exciting panel, “Robert Axelrod’s Life with Lord Zedd and Beyond.”

Registration is still open, so you definitely don’t want to miss it.