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Author Topic: Dreamworks India
knowledge
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This might be old news but it surprised me:

http://www.paprikaas.com/dwa_home.html

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Puneet Makhija
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Here's more on Paprikaas

http://www.animationxpress.com/index.php?file=story&id=6431

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knowledge
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I guess we're all numb to this sort of thing anymore.
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Charles
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So Knowledge, what do you suggest?

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Animation Co-op
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Hi Knowledge,

This is the wave of the future. R&H is doing it in India, ILM is doing it in Singapore... and the work is starting to end up on the big screen (as in "The Golden Compass"), a frontier that many American artists assumed outsourcing would never cross.

We're in a global environment where the cost of doing business in America is higher than practically anywhere else in the world. Meanwhile, other governments are aggressively supporting their industries and the quality of their inexpensive talent base only continues to improve.

So when you take that into account, the arc of this dynamic becomes clearer.

Of course, numbness is not the answer. The solution is to situate yourself so that you are not in a losing battle with this, and perhaps can even capitalize on it.

For example, a colleague of mine is making a feature film overseas that he otherwise would not be able to make at all. And while he's received some criticism for "outsourcing", it has allowed him to employ a dozen U.S. creatives who he would otherwise not.

Of course, he is the first to argue that he is not "outsourcing", since nothing of his existed in the U.S. to begin with. He is simply working overseas, and employing Americans in the process.

It doesn't have to be a zero-sum game, but you have to evolve your play book.

Kevin Geiger

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knowledge
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Thanks for the reply Kevin!

Charles, I honestly don't have an answer, which is why I was hoping for a response like Kevins.

I just hope that all of my friends across America are currently employed and don't need the work that is going to go to overseas studio branches.

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tstevens
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Ultimately we will have to see a paradigm shift in the way we produce things if we want to keep production here. If you can't compete with low cost labor overseas then you have to develope a model that will allow you to. Or, as Kevin implied, you can work with it, not against it.

However, the only company in the US that has been able to keep episodic production in the US is Renegade (and they were only able to do it once paperless animation became practical).

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http://www.foogersnarts.blogspot.com

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Im2dGuy
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Kevin, I totally appreciate
and hear what you are saying.

I wonder though, that people are upset
because of the specialization that is
needed in animation production.

Let me try a sports analogy to sum up my thoughts (although I know nothing about sports). A linebacker on a football team is trained to be a linebacker and is only good at being a linebacker. He concentrates being a linebacker and gets better and better at that position. Training him to be a quarterback (or a team manager, or whatever) and a linebacker would diminish his effectiveness as being a linebacker.
A linebacker is only good at being a linebacker and really has a special inclination (talent?) to do linebacker duties.
So now all linebacking is done in India.

Let me add a personal note. A lot of animation jobs (in America) are for character designers. I don't consider myself a character designer. I want to do animation (movement, mechanics, acting, etc). I became a teacher and have been teaching for six some years now. Being a teacher has its own requirements and skills to learn. Learning this and doing teacher duties has severely limited my animation training, and cut into being a better animator. Only now, through self study and dedication is my reel close to being worthy of a feature position. Now 3d animation positions are drifting across the pond.

Whats a linebacker to do?

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www.animationbrad.com

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Animation Co-op
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quote:
Whats a linebacker to do?
The most practical thing for that linebacker to do is to proactively plan for a career adjustment that will put them in a better situation than they'll be when they lose their linebacking position unprepared.

Just addressing the reality...

Kevin G.

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Charles
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Let's picket DreamWorks!

I think this is an issue for the Guild. Who, by the way, didn't show up for Animation Day (AN#10) on April 1, 2008. They didn't show up for the FTAC hearings at the Burbank City Council in 2005, the purpose of which was to do something about outsourcing production to other countries. Maybe it was the live action aspect of the hearings that discouraged anyone from the Guild to actually participate and put in a word of support for another union. Good thing there's independents who can fight for labor causes without having to worry about a potential contractual breach of a no-strike clause.

Sorry about the tone of my remarks folks, but if there's a numbness about the issue in this community, a contributing factor may be the Guild and their continued lack of participation on AN and in other ways. Their Christmas party is great though. It's appreciated and I mean it. But the industry wants leadership from the organization that's supposed to lead.

Just about everyone I know is busy. If outsourcing to India is supposed to be killing American jobs, I don't see it from where I'm at. Media is expanding worldwide. Everyone can afford computers, software and an Internet connection. You can't stop the expansion of the industry, the market and the artform, nor should we try. Everyone wants to animate. We compete because we're the best in the world at what we do. We have to be in order to continue to hold our position, without government subsidies of anykind.

Some friends I know have had very bad experiences working with studios overseas. Others have had luck. The trend I see among them is to split the production between a domestic crew and an international one. Seems to work for their situations.

I for one don't see this as the demise of our industry. Even if DreamWorks were to lay everyone off, you'd see new studios popping up all over LA. Shipping production overseas isn't going to stop our community from growing, from creating and producing content. There's too much world class talent here.

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Animation Co-op
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quote:
Even if DreamWorks were to lay everyone off, you'd see new studios popping up all over LA.
I'd change that to "especially if". [Cool]

Nothing like uncorking a major studio to seed the ground! [thumbsup]

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Im2dGuy
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quote:
The most practical thing for that linebacker to do is to proactively plan for a career adjustment that will put them in a better situation than they'll be when they lose their linebacking position unprepared.
So I guess growing up
they should have told me...

Do what you are good at,
do what you love,
exploit your unique talents--
as long as its not using a printing press,
or it can be done cheaper in another country.
[grouse]

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www.animationbrad.com

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tstevens
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Funny thing is that the best in any given field (wether it be linebacking, printing on a press, or making buggy whips) will in general stay employed. One of the things you have to consider is that people who have solid "core skills" will be able to cross over to other jobs much more easily than those who are lacking in basic skills. For example, while learning a program like Maya or Flash is good, the people who are the best still understand composition, staging, and timing.

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http://www.foogersnarts.blogspot.com

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Charles
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I'm not much for splitting hairs, which is why I trust these discussions to others within the community. A word of encouragement to Im2dGuy...

A linebacker doesn't always have to be a linebacker. Take the Fridge for example, William Perry from the 1985 NFL Champion Chicago Bears. He was a defensive lineman but on occasion he was placed in the role of running back. A 300 pound running back, almost impossible to stop.

Animation artists have to be, or at least should be multi-dimensional nowadays in many regards and instances. Even character designers should be able to work in visual development, storyboards, character layout, etc to remain competitive and viable. There are many people I know who are working full bore right now. Even in the very very best of times, some artists were still struggling with employment. Compared to the darkest days a few years ago, the situation seems to be much better, in so far as the individuals I know who were having a hard time of it not too long ago.

It's advisable to lock into more than just one thing. Expand your role in the game and look to play offense as well as defense.

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Animation Co-op
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Growing up, they should have told you: adapt or die. [Wink]
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Animation Co-op
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A little story for you... [Smile]

When I was a much younger man, I went to art school and got a painting degree, doing what I loved. Got out of school, and spent most of my time doing what I didn't love, in order to support myself. With only a Bachelor's degree, couldn't even get a teaching job.

Now, I could have bemoaned this situation or wished it otherwise, but I decided to do something about it. So I went to grad school, got an MFA in computer graphics, and was immediately hired into the animation industry at a good salary which then quintupled over the next 10 years. And I got to do what I loved in a context and on a playing field that I never imagined. And I still got to make my own work to boot. Well worth the sacrifice and hard work of a career shift and 3 years of "retraining".

Now, I'm changing up my game again: striking out on my own to take advantage of new opportunities in our evolving global industry, and continually learning new things. "I can't believe how dumb I was two weeks ago." [Wink]

So, BE change... [Cool]
...or be changed. [lamer]

KG

(It's also centering to keep in mind that making a comfortable living "doing what we love" is a luxury we enjoy that is beyond the comprehension of a the majority of our fellow human beings. We have it pretty good, even when things are "bad".)

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bigshot
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I addressed this at the Animation Nation meeting... I pointed out the quickest way to become a victim of outsourcing is to focus on learning animation as a trade, not an artform. The creative end of animation is culturally specific and is difficult to ship overseas. The hand work is what gets jobbed out. So a student who comes out of school knowing how to draw his ass is going to be employed a lot longer than one who just learns computer programs and compositing in school. Core art skills and traditional fine art training is what the guys like Marc Davis, Grim Natwick and Carlo Vinci studied in school.

See ya
Steve

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toonstruck
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On another note, I'm finding that lately some work that has been shipped elsewhere, at least in commercial production, is coming back to the US because of the weak dollar.

I take pride knowing that some can continue to get work and keep it in the US against a stacked deck. Theres something to be said for those that can prevail in such tight conditions by being creative with resources and don't have to rely on outsourcing.

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Animation Co-op
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Stephen, you're on the money with your observation about the value of learning animation as an artform instead of as a trade. But you're off the mark with your comment about drawing and computer graphics.

A student who learns how to draw can have as much of a "trade mentality" as a student who learns to use a computer. These are simply tools. The creative intent and expression is a product of the person, irrespective of the medium.

The "non-creative" work indeed gets jobbed out, but that type of work does so whether mediated by a pencil or a computer.

Kevin Geiger

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Richard
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I apologize if I have woefully engendered any animosity on this wonderful and genuinely helpful site with respect to my rebuttal to Mr. Geiger.

Kevin, I fully understand the current situation with the shackles of globalism and that, yes, I would have to find concord with your diatribe on "going with the flow", although, to my chagrin.

Free trade and globalism, as currently practiced, have incurred major repercussions on our national sovereignty and our quality of life. Considering that production jobs, the crux of our long-term strength and solidarity, are now rather scarce, even more so within the confines of the film and animation industry, we have lost a vital component of our national life line.

As a result, we are considerably weaker, both financially and academically. To accept this state of arrears as you have so brazenly, you also acquiesce the element of "creative destruction" endemic to the globalist cause. Your argument, though understandably stated vis-a-vis current economic trends besetting the American workforce, is akin to the adage, "Every man for himself" as the ship sinks, a phenomenon tooted by free-traders in spite of the very real decline of our society.

If my aforementioned tirade proves to be nothing more than idle ranting of a blind starving artist who refuses to 'bend with the wind', I will have no other choice but to accept my own abjection. However, it would not hurt to understand our plight and strive to reverse what so many view as irreversible, even if it has to start at the grassroots level and to the scoffing and disbelief of everyone else.

America needs your help to revitalize itself. Apathy and numbness are only sucking it dry.

Regards,
Richard Gaines

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Animation Co-op
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Cheers, Richard! [Wink]

Those who know me, what I do, and what I support can attest that I'm FAR from the "every man for himself" type. I'm more of the "all for one and one for all" type. [Smile]

It's just that my definition of "all" encompasses the world, not just the United States.

We're starting to get a good dialogue going here! [thumbsup]

Kevin G.

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EustaceScrubb
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quote:
The "non-creative" work indeed gets jobbed out, but that type of work does so whether mediated by a pencil or a computer.

A big part of the problem now is that animation (whether with pencil or using a computer ) is relegated to the "non-creative" category.

(I realize that you , Kevin G. , are not calling animation "non-creative" , hence the quotes you put around that phrase, but unfortunately that is how too many people in the business now view animation , as if it is just grunt work that can go to the lowest bidder .)

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