animationnation mission statementunited we brandanimationnation facebook
  • If you can dream it, you can do it. -Walt Disney

  • Quality is a great business plan. -John Lasseter

  • Let's make some funny pictures. -Tex Avery

  • I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. -Howard Zinn

  • When critics sit in judgment it is hard to tell where justice leaves off and vengeance begins. -Chuck Jones

  • And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? -Jesus

  • A man should never neglect his family for business. -Walt Disney

  • What's most important in animation is the emotions and the ideas being portrayed. -Ralph Bakshi

  • Once you have heard a strange audience burst into laughter at a film you directed, you realize what the word joy is all about. -Chuck Jones

  • Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. -Buddhist Proverb

Reflecting on the old AN Forums

Share your views on the state of the Animation Industry.

Reflecting on the old AN Forums

Postby Charles » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:43 pm

In 2010, we retired the old AN Forums and moved over to this system. On a personal level, they've worked out great for me as a medium of commentary and expression. Embedding video is a easy as pie and uploading graphics is as efficient as an email attachment.

Editorial activity on the part of our membership has dropped off dramatically, but it was on the wane with the old forums. From what I could tell, it looked like everyone was hanging out waiting to see what I or someone else would post. In the last days of the old forums, it pretty much came down to one person posting comments in Side Topics that would ridicule religion, and we were scolded for suppressing the truth after years of tolerance of this kind of behavior.

Indeed, there were instances with so much editorial abuse of the old forums, not just in the end, but throughout the years, that it eventually became impossible to continue. The attitudes that developed towards AN and against me and others as well, for whatever reasons, became very difficult to overcome. I wasn't cut out to be a message board moderator and I freely admitted it back then as I do now. I know I made mistakes with people, I know that I could be abrasive, I know that some of the policies I initiated over time were unpopular with some, especially members who tended to be malicious, and we gradually wound things down as a result.

What most people forget, or don't realize, or lost sight of, is what the old AN Forums were about. They was intended to foster industry reform at a time when things were at a crossroads. I'm certain that AN made a significant and positive contribution in this regard.

We started the forums in early 1999 and by 2006, with Roy Disney's successful ouster of Michael Eisner and the merger of Pixar with the Disney Company, saving 2D animation at the studio, and the rise of 3D and the transition of feature animation from hand drawn to primarily CG animation, and the stability that came about through animation's growing popularity, it was evident that AN's mission had pretty much been accomplished. Or at least what the forums were initially geared towards accomplishing.

There were still things in the industry that needed to be addressed, but by that time blogs were in full swing, and everyone had their venue.

As I look back at those years, in comparison with what exists in animation today, I have a renewed appreciation for the old forums.

I'll follow up with some examples that will help illustrate what I'm referring to, and maybe folks will see the old forums in a better light as a result, and appreciate them for what they were and the good they did.
_________________________________

Daily Z

Image
User avatar
Charles
 
Posts: 7395
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 5:36 pm

Re: Reflecting on the old AN Forums

Postby Charles » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:29 am

One of the things that I attempted to do with the old forums, which turned out top be particularly unpopular with a few members who made freedom of speech of censorship an issue, even when it came to completely inappropriate and oftentimes malicious and disruptive behavior, was when I tried to reign it in.

Today, it's common to see strict editorial guidelines on forums and blogs when it comes to participation and comments. back in the day, when forums and the Internet in general was ore like the wild west, a few people could make a big stink when it came to making the AN forums more civil and less contentious.

Take a look at this if you would. It's the policies for a forum I discovered recently that's dedicated to the He-Man and She-Ra community.

http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/sho ... p?t=130363

These policies are much more severe and restrictive than the old AN Forums, yet they're consistent with the policies of most forums today.

Even the first steps we took towards making the AN Forums troll free were groundbreaking for the time. Today, people take it for granted that there's going to be moderated comments on blogs and forum policies that foster civility and enforce strong editorial standards. But as they say, it's the pioneers that catch all the arrows, and that's what happened with AN. We caught a lot of arrows on the old Forums for the steps we took to develop a place where our members could engage in discourse without having to deal with abuse and it still happened.

We tried balancing freedom of speech with the need for civility on a forum where anyone who was registered could start a topic. Not just respond to topics that a single individual would post, as blogs go, but an open forum where the industry could communicate with itself, and that was not an easy thing to do. Oftentimes we didn't get much help. We'd be tolerant with individuals for years, until things got so bad, we had to make a move and eliminate their account.

Even a deleted post would turn into a major affair on the old forums, and AN would be vilified for it. If we operated like a blog where comment moderation was enabled, we could've avoided a lot of the bad feelings that developed as a result of this. If there was a way to review a comment beforehand, it woul;d've been a different story.

Today, the animation community seems to be okay with having their comments moderated. In fact, when I read the comments that follow some of the posts on other blogs and I recognize the name, I see people who used to be on AN and were some of our most troublesome members, on their best behavior.

If thse bloggers gave their commentors the same editorial freedom that ANers had on the old forums, I wonder what we'd see.

The old AN Forums were significant for the animation community in many ways, and I'll get to that next.
_________________________________

Daily Z

Image
User avatar
Charles
 
Posts: 7395
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 5:36 pm

Re: Reflecting on the old AN Forums

Postby Charles » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:18 pm

I hope that in time, the animation community will look back at the AN Forums favorably.

Keep in mind just what the AN Forums did.

They motivated our community to action in 1999 and the years that followed.

They brought many people together.

The AN Forums were the very first site that explored the nature of the animation community. The first site that delved into subjects and areas nobody had gone to before. AN explored and discovered how the community felt about political issues, philosophical issues, even going so far as to poll the community as to whether or not they believed in God.

The AN Forums gave a voice to the community in topics that no place else would touch.

I think when the day comes when people can look back at what happened, at how significant AN has been on many levels, from the April 1 meetings and lunch time walkouts, the attempts to unify animation artists, to the exposure we gave many artists from around the world, I'm confident that history will judge the forums in a good light. It may take a while. We might have to wait until this current generation of industry historians move on, but when the time that the old forums represents becomes nostalgic, maybe we'll see some positive and appreciative
assessments of the the movement that was embodied in the Forums of AnimationNation.com.
_________________________________

Daily Z

Image
User avatar
Charles
 
Posts: 7395
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 5:36 pm

Re: Reflecting on the old AN Forums

Postby SNAKEBITE » Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:55 pm

I dunno, I think the site is doing great. I know its hard because we all volunteer our time and it divides us at times but if we just keep promoting artists and content and keep spreading the message then we are doing our part.

I don't like addressing these issues because I think we are all beyond them. We got rid of people who didn't get the message. Great! hell, if the only person who posted was Charles and he shared his truth all the time I would still read.

2010 ended on a real good note for me. After many years of bullsht, I have new opportunities that I deserved...I had to give it 100 percent of my attention..but I'm coming back this year to AN but I'm coming back to promote PetraGallerie.com and the artists we represent. Gonna work on more video productions that I will feature on AN and expand the online connection aspect of what we do for our international readers. More AN Frontline episodes.

I won't post as much because I will say it in video productions. Which I believe I can help more efficiently this way. things change, I see good changes.

This forum is unique and special. 2011 will really support this statement.
User avatar
SNAKEBITE
 
Posts: 968
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 5:43 pm
Location: LA

Re: Reflecting on the old AN Forums

Postby Charles » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:22 pm

To clarify, I'm referring to the old forums. I'm hoping that someday the old forums will be remembered for the great contribution they made to what was happening in the industry at the time, especially in the LA scene.

I wish we had this current format in 2006. If we did we could've moved on and made AN content centric as well as discussion centric. The balance would've been nice and I think it would've lead to other things besides the continuation of the contentiousness that frequented the boards.

Anyway, it's behind us now and we're on to other things. The new forums are a nice creative medium and I enjoy being able to embed video and upload graphics to compliment commentary. They lend themselves to entertainment, education and we can post banners too which is something we couldn't do before on the old system.

This is a retrospect on the old forums. We've only been away from them for about 6 1/2 months. Not long. The more time passes, the better picture we get as to how to form up the current AN.
_________________________________

Daily Z

Image
User avatar
Charles
 
Posts: 7395
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 5:36 pm

Re: Reflecting on the old AN Forums

Postby SNAKEBITE » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:35 pm

my bad, I read it wrong...but either way. FIST HIGH!
User avatar
SNAKEBITE
 
Posts: 968
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 5:43 pm
Location: LA

Re: Reflecting on the old AN Forums

Postby SNAKEBITE » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:44 am

You know what I liked about the old forums..on a side note. the rawness of it. People were angry, lots of people didn't know what they were mad at and those that did know what they were mad at got it from all angles. It really revealed people's true nature and confirmed that those you want to protect are the first ones that turn on you.

All kinds of crazy stories.Lessons. People thought we didn't know who they were..its kinda funny looking back. I know Charles had to deal with an aspect I didn't but over all I think it was suppose to go down the way it did for lots of reasons. I know a lot of major players in the business who started the same time I did 18 years ago. Some less time.But they are the new generation, and even though we don't hear from them on the board, behind the scenes we know whats up...they don't like the old way of thinking and they are positioning themselves to take over...sure, lots of the usual suspects, but there is a significant evolution out there. Who knows what direction it goes from here but fukin hell, we stirred it up. Inspired some, pissed off others. Job well done.

Now all of us are on a new level and the message of AN evolved partly because of what AN was apart of 12 years ago.

And now more and more artists are speaking the truth and changing the dynamic...and there;s no choice really, technology is here..changed everything.

We can take back control.

personally I see it all crashing and burning and needing a new paradigm completely..but my time machine has been acting up so anything is possible..fuk it, lets just design it. Each one, design your life..its hard as hell. Hardest thing to do, But the pros outweigh the cons.
User avatar
SNAKEBITE
 
Posts: 968
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 5:43 pm
Location: LA

Re: Reflecting on the old AN Forums

Postby Charles » Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:37 am

Perhaps in the future, the old forums will be appreciated. I'm hopeful that will be the case. Right now it's still too close. Like a TV show or a movie or a popular song that hit the charts. Time has to go by for the public to value it and to find its place in history.

The old forums really exposed a lot of what the animation community is about. Positive and negative. Know what else? They'll never be replaced. I doubt if we'll ever see anything like them again. They were right for the age, and we won't see that age again.

Everyone had a lot of freedom on the old forums and it couldn't be handled.

On the one side, we had a faction that wanted to be able to use them for whatever they wanted to do, even if it was to attack other members. On the other side, we had a faction that wanted parameters and an environment that was protected from abuse.

Whichever way we went, we would alienate people. It was impossible to keep everyone happy. Add to that the things I said and did that got folks upset.

People many times really overreacted to what would go down on the forums. It was more of a reflection on them as individuals than it was on the forums themselves. The old forums gave a face to the animation community as much as they did a voice, and sometimes that face could be very ugly, but it could be very beautiful too. That's the way the community is. It's a huge contrast. On one side, beauty and understanding and friendliness and courage and generosity and joy. On the other, anger and bitterness and resentment and pettiness and jealousy and insecurity and you name it.

What's interesting is that today, there's nothing that has really replaced the old forums. Aside from the current AN Forums, you don't have a central site where the community can gather in one place. There's no place where the community can focus and enjoy the editorial freedom they had. Not just to comment, but to initiate discussion as well. Things are broken up now. They've been pretty much scattered to a few different blogs, which are way more of a controlled environment that the old forums ever were.

What's ironic is that the old AN Forums, like the new ones, fostered leadership and it's as if the community as a whole ultimately chose to be lead instead.

Makes me wonder if the community was ever capable of an open forum to be begin with. Or if the community is capable, ever was or ever will be capable of rising to ideals such as unity for even just one day a year. I tend to think that we're not. There's something in the character of the modern animation community that prevents it. Even keeps it from acknowledging AN in a proper light.

Maybe that will change in time.

As Snakebite pointed out, you can see the influence of the AN Forums throughout these sites and in the online presence of many individuals.

The pros outweigh the cons, and that's the real legacy of the old forums.
_________________________________

Daily Z

Image
User avatar
Charles
 
Posts: 7395
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 5:36 pm

Re: Reflecting on the old AN Forums

Postby skynet » Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:02 pm

Charles, maybe you and Bite should put together and write a book about it one day, "AnimationNation - The Voice of the Animation Industry." ....or maybe not. That would be a ton of work organizing that much history. But you could tell the real story for future generations.
User avatar
skynet
 
Posts: 1146
Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 9:17 pm

Re: Reflecting on the old AN Forums

Postby Charles » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:50 pm

I'd like to write a history of AN, and maybe I will someday. It's been suggested before.

One thing I'd like to mention that is very important is the success of our subscriber system, which I termed "The Independent Economy". It helped get the idea across to many people about developing an independent aspect to their careers.

I will say that our members were very generous in supporting AN as much as they did. At the time when disk space and bandwidth were selling at a premium, we would get bills as high as $125 for the month. Ridiculous what we had to pay. Then we also spent a lot of money on the contests.

We tried to get it back to the community as much as possible through monthly contests and it worked out well for a while.

What's interesting now that I can look back at it all, we were supported almost entirely by individuals. The Animation Guild, ASIFA-Hollywood, the studios, all the major organizations, publications, none of them subscribed to the site. It was all individuals that supported us.

Some still do and it helps pay a much more reasonable monthly fee.

In the days of the old forums that was definitely a highlight and something the community came through on big time. But it was individuals and not the established organizations or studios.
_________________________________

Daily Z

Image
User avatar
Charles
 
Posts: 7395
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 5:36 pm

Re: Reflecting on the old AN Forums

Postby Charles » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:55 pm

One of the things I miss the most about the old forums is the persistent negativity. Whenever I need a fix I can always go to a few other blogs.
_________________________________

Daily Z

Image
User avatar
Charles
 
Posts: 7395
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 5:36 pm


Return to General Discussion

cron