Mark's Question(s): Can I Use Animated Material for Live-Action TV? - Writer's Digest

Mark's Question(s): Can I Use Animated Material for Live-Action TV?

Publish date:

Today's questions come from Mark, who posted them in the comments section a few days ago. Mark asks...

First: How do you ask a question of Chad?


Second: If I'm a
produced animation TV writer, and want to "break into" non-animated TV,
should I include samples of my produced work in my spec package to
literary agents representing non-animated TV writers? Or would my
animation credits count for nothing in the non-animated world? (Are
there agents that deal in both worlds??)

Well, Mark-- Question One: Posting in the comments is always a great idea, and sometimes even faster than emailing. My email is, but that actually gets routed through Writers Digest and doesn't always get to me right away. Plus, I'll be honest-- I hate checking email, so I sometimes stall. Or they get lost. Or I pretend they get lost because I don't want to check email.

The point is: posting in the comments is great.

Question Two: It often can be tough to transition from animated to live-action. Much tougher, in fact, than going from live-action to animation, like Rick Wiener and Kenny Schwartz, who started on traditional sitcoms like Mad About You and Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place before joining American Dad a few years ago. This doesn't mean it can't be done; Bobby Bowman was a story editor on Family Guy (in its first run) before going on to Yes, Dear, My Name is Earl, and Sons of Tucson.

The bigger issue isn't animated-to-live-action, but children-to-adult. If the animation you've produced is children's programming, it'll be much tougher to transition into "adult" programming. But material from shows like The Simpsons or King of the Hill will be more effective. If you've been doing children's animation... and you simply want to switch to children's live-action... then it's probably fine to include some of your produced work.

Basically, look at it this way: you want to prove to someone that you are the right person to hire in a very specific live-action arena (whatever that specific live-action arena may be: comedies, dramas, sci-fi, whatever). So you want to show them material that will convince them you're the guy to hire. If your goal is to get into live-action one-hour sci-fi dramas like Caprica or V, a brilliantly produced children's cartoon probably won't convince anyone, even if it's about robots and spaceships. But if it's a sophisticated adult cartoon, it might impress them. So ask yourself as your prepare your submission: "Would this piece of work convince me that the writer/producer is the exact right person for the project I'm working on?"


Bearing vs. Baring vs. Barring (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use bearing vs. baring vs. barring on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.


15 Things a Writer Should Never Do

Former Writer's Digest managing editor Zachary Petit shares his list of 15 things a writer should never do, based on interviews with successful authors as well as his own occasional literary forays and flails.


Evie Green: Imaginary Friends and Allowing Change

Author Evie Green explains why she was surprised to end writing a horror novel and how she learned to trust the editorial process.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: The 3 Prime Rules of Horror Writing, Contest Deadlines, and More!

Welcome to the first installment of a new series! There's always so much happening in the Writer's Digest universe that even staff members have trouble keeping up. So we're going to start collecting what's on the horizon to make it easier for everyone to know what's happening and when.


Lenora Bell: When Fairy Tales Meet Reality TV

Bestselling historical romance author Lenora Bell discusses researching, avoiding info-dumps while still charming readers, and how her latest book was inspired by her life.


Three Keys to Crafting Chemistry Between Characters

Romance author Michelle Major explains her three go-to tips for ensuring your characters have believable chemistry.

Saving Money on Your Screenwriting Career

Take Two: Saving Money on Your Screenwriting Career

No one wants to break the bank to learn how to write a screenplay. Jeanne Veillette Bowerman shares practical tips on saving money on the pursuit of a screenwriting career.


10 Epic Quotes From Watership Down, by Richard Adams

Here are 10 epic quotes from Watership Down, by Richard Adams. The story of a group of rabbits who escape an impending danger to find a new home, Watership Down is filled with moments of survival, faith, friendship, fear, and hope.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Quintilla Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the quintilla.