What is your name and your current occupation?
Jeffrey Scott. Screenwriter.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I was a portrait photographer in high school. I got one job. The guy hated the pics so much he refused to pay me. Not at all crazy, but I also inked comic books for Disney, Warners, Hanna-Barbera and Lantz characters.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Number one by far would be my work on Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies, for which I won three Emmys and the Humanitas Prize. Working with Jim was a true pleasure. I later wrote a live-action screenplay for him, but sadly he passed before we could make the film.
How did you become interested in animation?
First by watching cartoons as a kid. I loved the old Max Fleisher Superman cartoons. Then my father invented an animation process so I got know animation from a deeper perspective.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in Hollywood into a show biz family. My grandfather was Moe Howard of The Three Stooges. My father, Norman Maurer, produced their feature films for Columbia. He later became a story editor at Hanna-Barbera. When his assistant quit he asked me if I’d like to replace him. $500 a week to learn how to write? You bet! Six months later I was story-editing Super Friends.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
It’s really quite simple: I sit down before my computer and write. If I’m not writing I’m emailing producers, sending and receiving story material, etc. If I’m not doing that I’m promoting in some way, either writing blog posts or making connections via email, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. And if not that…I’m golfing.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Solving story problems. I really enjoy having a difficult plot point to work out and then finding the best solution.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Not writing. I go a bit stir crazy when I’m not working.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
It’s the fact that in this business we are very much at the effect of other people in terms of getting work. It’s not a steady job, and even if you’re a busy writer like me there is still often downtime between jobs when you just wait for a call.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I have a laptop computer with a second large monitor beside it so that I can write on one monitor while researching on the other. It also allows me to have notes on one screen and the work on the other. Other than that I don’t use much tech in my work, other than my cell phone occasionally.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Animation greatness? Naw, I never met Walt Disney. Or God.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Life, itself, is a tough situation. But I persist and do my best to smile.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
Well, let’s see, there’s a screenplay I’ve been working on for 35 years. Still haven’t gotten it right. And I’ve got a terrific product I’m working on with a merchandising buddy of mine in New York. It’s hush-hush, but if it works out it could be the next hot property.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Funny you should ask that. In fact, I can tie two cherry stems together in a square know with my tongue. I’m not kidding!
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Keep your day job. And read all the best-selling screenplay writing books, starting with STORY by Robert McKee and THE WRITER’S JOURNEY BY Christopher Vogler. And if you want to write cartoons for TV then my book will help, HOW TO WRITE FOR ANIMATION.
My website: www.JeffreyScott.tv
My Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/
My Humanitas Prize winning episode of Muppet Babies: