Dan Harmon, one of the writers of Kung Pu Panda, has written an entertaingly long rant about how much he disliked working on the film and particularly how much he disliked working with Jeffrey Katzenberg. Actually I’m not sure what’s more amusing: that Harmon hated working with Katzenberg so much or that he’s so damn clueless about the animation process. To begin the piece, Harmon expresses incredulity that some animated films are written with storyboards and not scripts: “First they storyboard the entire film. That is the first step. Not kidding. No writers, no script, just a story, and an entire film drawn on pieces of paper.”
Here’s another choice excerpt:
“I came in about four writers into the process. It’s kind of hard to write a “better” scene than the last writer when the rules are that you can only change 30 percent of each scene or completely change 30 percent of the scenes, per Katzenberg screening. So, for instance, in this scene, the panda comes up a flight of stairs carrying a bucket of water, slips on a banana peel, says something to two geese and does an air guitar. The good news? There can be anything in the bucket. Your mission: make the movie better.
“It’s harder than it sounds. Especially when the larger “bucket” that the movie is contained in cannot change: the fact that the story has to be about a panda who is informed he is the chosen one, destined to …beat up… a guy who has escaped from prison and who is spending the entire movie walking to town, in order to…try to beat him up, because that’s the prophecy. And I won’t spoil the movie, but the bad guy doesn’t win. Because he’s not destined to. But just to make sure he doesn’t win, and because there’s 70 minutes of time to kill before he gets there on foot, the panda is trained in the martial arts. it’s kind of like Karate Kid, but if Mister Miyogi had long ago banished the Kobras and was running the karate tournament.”