I have several thousand squares that I have key-framed identical animation on. They are basically moving from behind camera to in front of camera in z-space. I am looking for a way to randomize the keys in time so that they all don't move at once. I could to it by hand.. but hoping there is a script out there that could help me out.
You could instance the plane to particles, using the generation and motion of the particles to make them move in Z from behind the camera. The best approach depends on exactly what you are wanting to achieve in the end but from what you described that might be the best way to get thousands of squares to swarm past the camera.
To do this set Maya to Dynamics mode and select Particles form the menu. In the menu select Create Emitter (you can change the emitter settings to what you want later). Select your square object (you only need the one) and select the particles. Go back to the menu and under Particles select "Instancer (Replacement)". Now you'll see that the particles have been replaced by instances of your original geometry.
I'll leave it up to you to figure out how to control the particles to do what you want for this. But you can make them do just about anything. In the Attribute Editor for the particles you will see an area of settings for the "Instancer (Geometry Replacement)" where you can control how the instances behave such as making them stay facing the camera or rotating to follow the dynamic direction of the particles. Play with it and you'll see how it works. You can create all sorts of cool stuff this way. You can even randomize the application of shaders to the instances.
Thank Peter for the suggestion. I've actually taken a logo and broke it up into individual polygons, and I'm animating those so they all fly in randomly in time, to reform the logo. I'm not sure if using particles would work the best... I've already tried that path without much huge success.
Thank you though and let me know if you have any other thoughts.