CG Today : How do you think you have acquired the ability to “get inside kid’s heads” and write what children like to see?

Maurer : I never grew up. Too much “Peter Pan” in the blood, I guess. It also helps to watch what kids do and say. Put yourself in their shoes – or booties -- and ask yourself what kids would know or not know about a subject or situation and therefore how would they react differently than an adult would, given their limited experience and their open-eyed curiosity and unbridled imaginations – and sometimes unwarranted fears.

Curious George is a great example – he’s just a five year old kid in monkey fur so he sees life’s situations from a kids-eye view. So when he hears about the “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, he goes looking for the Leprechaun – we adults know better, unfortunately.

CG Today : What was your major field of study in college, and did it prepare you for your life’s work?

Maurer : For me, the college route didn’t pay off. I was a film major at UCLA, but I never finished. Instead, I got an opportunity and started to write. While there are some gifted writing teachers out there, you can easily get bogged down in too much studying. I think the best way to learn writing is to “write, write, write!” And “watch, watch, watch!” successful shows or films – and study them. I have also learned some invaluable basic axioms of writing from freelance screenwriting teachers such as David Freeman, Syd Field and John Truby. It helps a lot to know some basics if you are going to study an art form.

CG Today : You have been a Creative Consultant, or as you call it, a “script doctor”. Isn’t it a bit daunting to try and cure a “sick” script?

Maurer : Sometimes. The hardest part is when the basic story structure isn’t working. You get hired to “fix” a 90 page script and you realize the only way to salvage it is to start over from scratch. That happens more often than it should. Producers need to be willing to face that reality and start over because a house built on a bad foundation will eventually fall down – better to fall down when you’re only paying a writer than after you've produced a multi-million dollar flop.

The better solution is to carefully develop your project’s structure and characters in stages from basic concept, to synopsis, to beat outline to 1st draft script. Creative Consulting is really the most valuable at the early stages of the writing process where you can concentrate on what’s wrong and fix it right away. I did this for a company in Russia who hired a screenwriter, then realized their treatment was flawed. They paid me to fix the structure before they wrote the script. It wound up winning a Golden Eagle, the Russian equivalent of an Academy Award for best animated feature. Sometimes a good script just needs polishing (adding humor, conflict, action, etc.) I enjoy the challenge of saving a project, daunting or otherwise.



CG Today : Will you be interested in writing and working along with Indian studios?

Maurer : Very much so. I have worked for studios in thirteen different countries and am currently writing a webisode series for an Indian company. I think India is a major player in the world of animation with lots of innovative creators and artists. I hope to create working relationships with many of them.

CG Today : We thank you so much for your time and your insights. Learning more about your stellar work has been a delight.

Maurer : Thank you. I appreciate your interest in hearing my thoughts.

Check out the trailer for the new season of Vipo the Flying Dog:


Michael Maurer - Writer

4954 Strohm Avenue
North Hollywood CA 91601


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