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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » Bakshi: Advice to young artists on how to survive tough times

   
Author Topic: Bakshi: Advice to young artists on how to survive tough times
bigshot
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Here's a clip from my interview with Ralph at Comic-Con..

Bakshi On Surviving Tough Times

See ya
Steve

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Jennifer Hachigian Jerrard
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Brilliant and inspiring. Thank you for posting this video.

[cheers]

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Richard
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Man, what I freakin' missed this year!!

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Eric Hedman
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I had no idea JohnK ate 1000 bucks of Pizza a week. [Wink]

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toonedbob
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This was my biggest regret about missing ComicCon this year. Thanks Steve. He's definately inspired me. I'm clearing out my spot in the garage and setting up my box !!!!
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pud
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Thanks bigshot [steve] for this youtube post.

A great moment of hearing his frustration with animators of today who whine and complain and what they should do.

motivational [Smile]

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" Your Scenes are there forever." - Ollie Johnston
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Pixel Pusher
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That was so good. I really hope people listen well.

Thanks for sharing that:)

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Animation Co-op
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Awesome, Steve! Thanks for that. [cheers]

Kevin G.

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SNAKEBITE
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Oh sure, Bakshi says it and you guys are all sentimental, Animation Nation says it and we hear whining... [biggrin]

I feel the man...anyone down to make a film?

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Animation Co-op
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Bakshi's not saying it, he's doing it. [Cool]

To be frank, I think that AN's admirable Independent Economy mission has been co-opted and compromised by a puzzling "Save Disney" sentiment.

Yes - Eisner's out, Lasseter's in, 2D's back at the Mouse House, yay - whatever.

Is this what we aspire to?

KG

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toonedbob
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Yo Snake - I'm down. No sentimentality or whining here. Bakshi was just able to verbalize why I joined Animation Nation. DIY or STFU. All the other stuff gets in the way!
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rocktoonz
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Yes, Ralph’s message was very inspiring. Then when it comes to the business aspects of profiting from an indie animated feature, then that’s where you really have to sit down and do your homework. Yes, you can get it done. Most Flash TV shows expect you to do a minute a week of animation, so you can do 70-minute film in 70 weeks by yourself with that math. Of course add time for story, design and post you are looking at three years as a solo artist, less time than a bachelors degree. Ok Doable.
So then when it comes to the market place where you monetize your efforts with distribution, that’s the kicker. Sure Bill Plympton gets it done with out major distribution, after first producing shorts as part of a larger feature, and even selling graphic novel versions of the film first. He might have figured it out. Other solo artists such as Phil Nebblink and Nina Paley have had a much tougher row to hoe in trying to recoup their investments. When you look at the live-action equivalents such as Blair Witch Project, Pi, and El Mariachi it’s more encouraging. They were picked up by major studios.
So what’s the secret? Define your audience and market. I notice there is a lack of G rated movies outside of the summer time season. If it’s for an older audience, I keep thinking you could take the film on tour like a rock band doing club dates and college radio interviews, all feeding the buzz into your film’s website. Dunno.

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bigshot
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Here's what Nina Paley had to say about it in the comments at Cartoon Brew...

I may be having a tough time making money from “Sita Sings the Blues” (let along getting out of my growing debt) but the film is young and I am still learning. Although I think the traditional channels of film distribution are broken, and the Entertainment Industry is morally bankrupt, I haven’t given up because the audiences are so clearly out there. Yes, I complain as loud as anyone (louder, probably) but I direct my anger at the problems, not at the art. Not making art will not solve the problem of artists not getting paid; making art might contribute to positive change, and it will definitely enrich the life of the artist in ways money never can. As important as money is, art is more important. Anyone can make money, but only you can make your art.

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toonedbob
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One option for distribution is four walling - I think that's what it is called. Spike and Mike do it, so it is like the rock band going on tour. It's tuff, but it can work out, especially if you line everything up first.

The thing is, most distributors are apprehnsive about animation, because the think they'd have to plop down a minimum of $10 milliion to acquire an animated property. If we keep our costs down, like Ralph says, then we can approach a distributor with a sweeter deal. I definitely agree with finding a specific market and going at it.

The point is , things ain't gonna change if nobody tries. He's speaking to the timid and weak of heart. How much time do we waste, playing video games, watching TV, etc. Instead of just watching the crap that's out there, let's create our own crap!

Failure isn't trying and not succeeding, it's in not trying at all.

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rocktoonz
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Thanks, yet another encouraging nugget. Yes, the art will out live you anyway. Trick is to find a way of sustaining yourself while doing it. Perhaps one must work outside the unstable industry to do it as Ralph suggests. Maybe in one of those “hot and expanding careers” that you see advertised on those AOL splashpages everyday. By any means necessary to get your film done.

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jeffnevins
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Thanks for posting.

Not to nitpick, but I think non-young artists can benefit from such advice as well. [Smile]

I'm glad I listened. I wasn't going to because I'm not a young artist anymore. But I need to survive tough times. Such as no income for five months, despite looking for non-animation work, while working indie.

Thanks again.

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tstevens
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My problem is that he is acting like no one is doing what he is talking about...

On this board alone, we have a wide variety of people getting out and doing indie projects. The range of talent and ideas is staggering. Guys like Rupert Piston are producing small flash projects: Michael Gagne and Mr Fun are producing independent books: Noogy has his indy feature project: Kevin Gieger has the animation Co-Op: Snakebite probably has a half dozen projects going right now! Trust me on this: people are doing exactly what he is saying and they were doing it before he said it.

The entrepeneurial spirit is probably more alive in animation now than it ever was in the past.

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Animation Co-op
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But... we could be doing MORE. [Smile]

I think his most salient point is the question of why so many talented animation artists who are out of work don't band together to make something of their own, instead of bagging groceries at Trader Joe's.

KG

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rocktoonz
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Four walling, yes like Kidtoons kidtoons
or Spike and Mike, spike and mike or the Gorillaz band for that matter.gorillaz

Make a 35mm print and work it town to town,…. Student Unions, school auditoriums whatever.

I was on Ralphs last big crew (of a couple hundred), "Cool World", appearantly THE last big crew, since he has a crew of 5 or so now for "Last Days of Coney Island". And rightly so. Toon Boom or Flash will get the job done. So animation teams could be the rock bands of the future, small, efficient, entertainment units. Correct, so many talented folks on this board are already doing cool indie projects, just not as many at the feature film level.

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SNAKEBITE
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my comment was tongue and cheek. I love his sentiment, and yes, I'm "doing" it as well. its gone differently than it has for him. I have had a lot more detours and lot less reliable people. its hard to band people together to work on a production.
especially if they are not getting paid. I seem to be one of the few willing to make the sacrifice while having to hear why the others are bailing is cuz "some of us have to make money to pay rent" as opposed to me, who doesn't need to.cuz I'm independently wealthy or some sort of mythology.

"Doing" consists of a lot of trial and error and believe me I've done my research on that theory.
not everyone is down for the ride until theres money involved...and a lot of the times the people that are down for the ride have little to nothing to really offer aside from heart...and this aint a boxing match, production needs skill.

again, I feel where he is coming from and I understand who he is talking to. But AN was started by people "doing" while pointing out the problems. Everyone here has personal agendas but AN is not a "Save Disney" site so don't perpetuate that myth. Some of us have found memories of Disney, not me really, and would like to see things change with Disney. I don't really care but that doesn't mean they are wrong. I personally just don't care.

ANs message of "doing" has been over shadowed by the people Bakshi was addressing.

I guess at the end each of us gets our own personal perspectives out of AN. People like myself get what Bakshi was sayin and then others get something completely different out of it....

Hey Kevin, have you ever spear headed a feature project that had no financial backing?

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Animation Co-op
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I am doing so as we speak. [Cool]

KG

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SNAKEBITE
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easy, huh

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SNAKEBITE
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...in a years time, you'll be rich...

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Animation Co-op
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Ha! Yeh... makes you wonder why Bakshi has to sell cels to fund his current pic. [Wink]

In a year, I'll be BALD! [Gary]

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Charles
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What Ralph Bakshi is saying is to keep creating.

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SoleilSmile
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And HOW!

^_^

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bigshot
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I spoke to Ralph on the phone the other day, and he invited me out to New Mexico to tape a series of interviews. He's interested in talking about how to think like an artist... and wants to pass along the advice given to him by his mentors, Manny Davis, Connie Rasinski and Jim Tyer. Ralph has a philosophy of creativity that isn't heard much any more in this practical, business oriented world. It should be very interesting.

See ya
Steve

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rocktoonz
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That's great Steve! Maybe you would like to release it in podcast form on a site like Toon in Animation I'm sure Tee Bosustow would love to add Ralph to the indie animation guests on the series!

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bigshot
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I'm still cogitating on how to do what I want to do technically... I don't want to do it in a linear "documentary film talking head style. Ralph is going to take us into his library and talk about how he uses inspiration and the artists he admires. I'm going to set it up so it's modular videos that link out to specific files in the archive database. So when Ralph talks about an image, it shows up on the screen alongside the video of Ralph. I'm working with one of our volunteers who's a tech genius to design an interface. It will be the prototype for a series of "guided tours" of the archive database.

See ya
Steve

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rocktoonz
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Wow! Now that's great as well and very useful for artists and scholars. So will this be available online or on-site?

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bigshot
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It will be a feature in our database in house, with small examples posted online. We're hoping to secure funding to syndicate the database to museums, libraries and universities around the country soon. The collection contains over 3,000 animated films and over 50,000 images so far.

See ya
Steve

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Charles
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I met Ralph Bakshi once. It was in 1987 when the new Mighty Mouse animated series was gearing up for production. My friend Jim Gomez talked me into showing my portfolio at the studio. Another friend of mine, Bruce Timm was on board, so I figured why not. Jim arranged for me to show it to John K. This was the second time I met John and I'd rather not leave my impressions about the meeting on a public forum.

While the meeting was going on, Ralph Bakshi walked into the office, took a look at my artwork, smiled real big and made a very complimentary comment. I just stood there pretty much, looking at him with his face about a foot away from mine and my eyes wide open, thinking to myself, damn! This is Ralph Bakshi!

It didn't work out, I wasn't invited to join the Mighty Mouse crew, but I always remembered that day when my path crossed Mr. Bakshi's for a brief moment in time.

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rocktoonz
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Here's an inspiring article on how to make animation (features) with no money, and interesting ways of distributing or exhibiting them.
Fillm in Focus Article

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Squash Banana
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In some ways, the comparison may not be fair, because there is undeniably more money and stability in video games than in television and feature animation, BUT I wanted to relay the success story of my friend.

He was halfway through his four-year degree in Interactive Design when he made a contact on an internship who caused him to consider starting his own business. So he did, and soon, he hired a friend, and they stumbled their way through their first game. They made many mistakes and found it almost impossible to get the client to pay them on time, but they finished the game. They were offered another, and this time my friend hired more people, part-time. He graduated just this year, and he opened an office/studio where he was able to offer his part-time employees full-time work. Every time we ask him how he did it, when he wasn't even out of school yet, he says, "I don't know, I just did it." And now, the studio is working on its own original concept, a team effort, without solicitation from anyone. They're just doing it.

I admire and envy tenacity like this, the kind that Bakshi is talking about. Some of us aren't born that way, but it's a great thing to strive for!

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Lee Crowe
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I loved working for Ralph on "Cool World". We got along famously. We had kind of a big brother/little sister relationship. When ever he got outta line, I'd just laugh at him.

He was great about encouraging young artists and letting them be free to do their best work. Granted, "Cool World" is no masterpiece, but I enjoyed the atmosphere of that studio: encouraging and creative with a rebellious edge...One of my favorite times in animation...

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