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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » Spongebob and Korea

   
Author Topic: Spongebob and Korea
Dayna
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Here's an interesting article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/12/arts/design/12spon.html?_r=1&ref=arts&oref=slogin

What I found interesting was this sentence:
"In the 1980s animation began to migrate overseas because the labor was less expensive and because animated shows were not selling well in the United States. The labor is still somewhat cheaper, Nickelodeon executives said, but South Korea dominates in animation because the country has built an infrastructure for the practice while in the United States there is little formal training for animators."

I'm curious as to what "little formal training" means. Any thoughts? I always thought animation was shipped out largely due to cost and the taxes saved, but this is a new reason. I would think most of us are highly skilled and trained, and more than able to handle the work. I'm not getting what they mean by the formal training part. It's the first time I've ever heard it put in such a way.

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Charles
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Well that's what happens when a writer interviews someone who's not an artist working on the series. That quote comes from Paul Tibbitt, the supervising producer of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” who serves as the show runner, according to the article.

The only other person mentioned and quoted in the article is Cyma Zarghami, the president of the Nickelodeon networks.

Here's my favorite part of the article. The very end of it...

' “Atlantis SquarePantis,” begun in May 2006, was delivered to Nickelodeon roughly a year later, allowing plenty of time for the network’s marketers to promote it. As for the animators in Burbank, they know just how to celebrate: drop on the deck and flop like a fish. '

So, all you animators at Nick, be sure you videotape the celebration and put it on YouTube. We'd love to see you guys drop and flop.

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Charles
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Looks like the monkey is still kickin at some places.

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KevinO
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I watched it last night on Nick with my son and after there was a 10 -15 minute 'making of' special about it. And the showing of shipping it off to Korea was a big part of the making of. It showed storyboarders, character designers here, talked to board artists, bg artists, etc. At least they got some credit due. But it annoyed me about the Korean animation, like it was some great thing that they do it so well. No, it's cheaper! Bottom line.
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Ganklin
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hah "little formal training". what an a-hole. i guess i spent 6 years doing a whole lot of nothing.

the nytimes can go flop like a fish.

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Pigboy
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FYI although Paul Tibbitt is now supervising producer he was a storyboard artist on the show back in the early days, so to label him as "someone who's not an artist working on the series" is at least slightly inaccurate.
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tstevens
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I have understood that the South Korean government helps to subsidize training for industry. At one point I had heard that the Korean government was involved in animation training.

One thing I think should be noted is that many of the top tier schools here in the US are training people for the creative positions and not necesarrilly for the more labor involved positions. I have met plenty of people who could do rough animation but knew little about inbetweening, clean-up, writing exposure sheets and on and on. Part of what you get when you go to a reputable overseas studio is the basic labor that fewer and fewer people are trained to do around here. It isn't that people don't want to do it, it's just that the producers can't afford it. As a reaction to that, fewer schools really focus on the entry level animation jobs anymore.

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Dayna
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I have no idea what is taught in schools these days, but 10 years ago I did learn all the basics of traditional animation pre-digital revolution, yet still most shows were being shipped overseas. Here in NYC, full in house animated shows are a very rare occurrence, and I know so many talented people whose skills are not being used (except by themselves). I've also seen recent grad films that are wonderfully hand-drawn. It's frustrating that someone would say we have little formal training, and the NYTimes publishes this as fact. I can't see how that's true. We're perfectly capable of the work, it's just cheaper to outsource it.
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Charles
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I looked over the article again to be sure I didn't miss anything and I don't think I did. There's nothing in the article that described Paul Tibbitt as a board artist or former board artist. Unless one is familiar with the all the Spongebob production people over the years, or unless it's mentioned in the article, kinda difficult to figure that out.

I noticed also that the sending it to Korea quote is not directly attributable to Paul Tibbitt as I mentioned previously. It's attributable to Nickelodeon executives. That's a mistake on my part and I apologize for the error.

That's right, Dayna, there's plenty of people who could do it here. It's a matter of production economics dressed up with an alternative excuse that trained artists aren't available in the US. There's no reason for the misrepresentation. All the executives have to do is just state that it's cheaper to do it in Korea, plain and simple, instead of insinuating that artists in the US are inadequately trained.

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