Even toons need conflict
This is because writing in a voice that’s not your own is similar to speaking in a voice not your own.
Fiction writers, speechwriters and writers like me who write copy for clients have to hear voices in their head every day.
In my case, on any given day those voices can range from an African American preacher type voice to an effervescent female fitness model voice, to a staid attorney’s voice. Most people have a hard enough time writing in their own voice so people like me swoop in and write in their own voice better than they could.
So when I found out the other day that voice actor Billy West is considered the “new Mel Blanc,” I made a point to read more about him.
West did the voices of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in Space Jam and says he’s not happy with how Warner Brothers has changed the Looney Tunes characters in recent years.
When you start stripping away those things that made it a full dimension character, you’re going to have Xeroxes of it in every way including creativity.
The worst mistake Warner Brothers ever did was make all these characters friends, because then you took away the dynamic. Elmer wanted to kill Bugs Bunny. There was no question in anybody’s mind. Sylvester wanted to kill Tweetie.
There was danger involved, and some life truths involved. When you’re telling the truth, you’re really dealing with comedy. If you don’t have the truth on your side, then comedy can’t spring from it.
It reminds me of what I said in a previous post about how screenwriter Robert Mckee said that conflict is what changes you, not joy – joy is only possible after the conflict is over. And in cartoons, no conflict means no comedy.
I’ve always loved the classic Looney Tunes cartoons, so I’ll close with my favorite, the conflict-laden Rabbit of Seville:
Filed under: Conflict
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