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
Share your views on the state of the Animation Industry.
Don't know how many of you know of the charitable foundation "Hero Initiative" but my old pal Tom Mason who was my editor at Malibu Comics back in the day told me about it today. I was stunned at what Hero Initiative has been achieving. Now with the advent of crowdfunding my mind got to racing on how I could help. I then thought about animators. Is there a foundation like Hero Initiative for animators? If not, there should be.
Artists get beat down a lot. Mainly from either not learning business administration or from corporate greed. Rip offs, lies, manipulation, and exploitation hits us from every angle and the past 15 years shows that clearly. Using every resource to shore up things that prevent trouble and remedy disaster are needed. AN has shown this more than any other arts website. Still lots of work to do but sites like AN and Hero Initiative have taken charge and individually we should do more to support them.
Indeed we do need something like the Hero Initiative in animation Greg.
Thanks for posting this great topic and bringing it to our attention. I've featured the subject on AN's homepage for this date.
Dedicated article: http://www.animationnation.com/hero-ini ... ic-artists
I'm both excited to learn of the HI and angry at the same time. I'm fed up with the animation union. They could have easily done the same thing years ago for animation artists everywhere. Instead, their narrow mindedness, tunnel vision, hostility and lack of any kind of progressive ideas for the future has artists locked in to only the studios they represent and once you're out of their system that's it.
Why the hell can't these guys expand into a program that would encompass animation artists everywhere in the US without having to sign union rep cards? Including comic book artists!
At least now there's a model with the Hero Initiative. Thanks again for for sharing this. I'll be following up with a post about it on AN's Facebook page. Let's get the word out.
Thanks and a big right on Charles!
Remember around six years ago when we discussed group health insurance? I found out that AN could offer it. With the new Obamacare it could be easier, more comprehensive, less expensive however I understand it would be a heavy responsibility on your administrative staff.
That being said, lots of things are changing in favor of the responsible, proactive artist from new forms of crowdfunding and distribution to major networks like Netflix and Hulu chomping at the bit for new content. Some strong management and creative financing and there's no telling what animators could do especially classical 2D animation that for my money should pick up where Walt left off in the 60s.
So that's my two cents.
Man, it's been good to have a pro-active kick ass brother in spirit like you here Greg and for all these years.
Check this out. There's a crowdfunding campaign in progress that just started on Indiegog. It's to raise funding to initiate legal action on behalf of the VFX industry to enforce treaties that prohibit international tax subsidies. This is something that's been adversely affecting the VFX industry in the US. To what degree I can't say but I'm sure it's significant. There's a lot of unhappy people in VFX and companies are operating at basically zero margin.
Time to do something about it...
Campaign to End Subsidies in the Visual Effects Industry on indiegogo
Glad to see you recognize what's going on out here.
We all have to strike while the iron is hot. President Obama and his team are indeed hitting China hard but that's not enough. Hollywood has to stop the bigotry, cronyism too. Having lived in Hollywood and had several projects optioned for film I found some of the worst criminals I'd ever encountered at the studios and their agencies. Hollywood can't blame China for all its woes. Just look at the crap Hollywood churns out. Ninety percent has no intrinsic value. Real creatives are shunned, attacked, ripped off so some suit's girlfriend or boyfriend can get the job.
Some right winger or left winger conspires against a creator. You just can't make this stuff up. That's why the one thing this industry needs is the intervention that you point out in the video which is what I've said to the President and public that it's not government's responsibility to make jobs, it's government's responsibility to make the playing field level and honest and sometimes that means harsh legislation and in worse case scenarios, force.
We've had lobbyists, bribes, extortion running government too long and now that we have the high ground we can't let up. China has stolen, cheated, murdered, lied in every aspect of industry and government for decades. Not saying the U.S. is all that high and mighty either but at least the majority of Americans are fair folks. Same goes for the Chinese but as soon as politics and business come into play, out the window go ethics. We see the same thing all over the globe.
In animation/comics we've seen some of the most underhanded business practices in entertainment history. When sh#t got raggedy in the 00s, where did everybody run to? AN. Everybody and their third cousin twice removed showed up at this website. After they got what they wanted a good chunk of them turned their backs and didn't even say thanks. Now you know why the studio execs didn't give a darn about them. They knew these people were opportunists and had no cajones in the first place.
Now things have changed drastically. Independents can get money for major projects like never before in the history of entertainment. They can buy buildings at super low prices and the lowest interest rates. Supplies and overhead lower than who knows what. It's like having a key to Santa's workshop and he's off on vacation in the Caribbean.
It's all about personal integrity and responsibility. Past 12 years has shown artists they had better wake up and take charge of their lives or die on the vine. This past year has been one roller coaster ride for myself. Got a serious health problem pop up that I have to handle. Gotta raise money for it, get things done. In the meantime I still have to help other people fight for life. Hurricane Sandy kicked our asses on the east coast. I escaped as the storm passed over us but Long Island and Jersey got hammered. Now a vicious strain of the flu is taking its toll. People need to stick together and fight. We're getting hit from all directions that's why every little bit helps.
Let's push til it gives. Get the crowdfunding procedures down to a science and art, get the health options and other things so affordable and comprehensive that execs and artists can sleep better. Who knows, we might set several precedents, open new doors that will last for decades and more.
What you say is very true.
I personally struggle with this...
Can't tell you how much my opinion of things has been affected by what went down. Learned a very big lesson from it all.
But on the flip side...
The Hero Initiative is definitely a step in the right direction.
Know what else?
Who needs to deal with the kind of people you described above when there's a huge fan base for all things artistic and animated that's embracing and empowering crowdfunding.
Everything that AN has been about since the beginning, everything we said could be done through unity and independence is coming to fruition today. Everything we talked about from way back in early 1999 when most people in animation had no idea what an MP3 file was or scoffed at high speed broadband cuz it was 5 years away, stupid defeatist excuses, it's all emerged into a new system that is changing the playing field and will positively affect things from here on out.
Whether we get acknowledged or thanked isn't an issue any more. It won't happen in this generation. But what we can do is take advantage of these incredible resources that are available to us now. Everything from marketing intellectual properties to developing franchises to establishing groups that can create social and financial safety nets for artists who would otherwise be locked out of the old system and the old way of doing things.
It's here now. What's been happening in 2012 has proved how effective it can be and it can change lives.
Get ready for the future!
I personally think you should continue this conversation separate from the Hero Initiative video. Because I find that organization is a photo op bullsht fest for the corporations screwing us...at the risk of sounding like an asshole...but hey, what else is new? Thats MISTER Asshole..thank you..
The video for the hero initiative makes me angry. Its complete feel good tripe. Hey, I'm all for giving someone assistance when needed but with how much the word "help" was being thrown around, it almost made me puke. I've often said help is for those with no power and we have more power then this! Not say that no one needs help, its good karma to be apart of someone turning their life around...but what I have learned about life is this...if someone volunteers that they are helping people, chances are they are only helping themselves...besides, they should be empowering us instead! thats what Heros do. Inspire!
Hey, why not insult us more and have us all walk away with cheap plastic cups collecting change so we can hope for a bright new day. jeeeeeez
Poor old dude whos going blind, still drawing stuff that he was part of developing but gets to watch the companies profit off it?...other dude dying of cancer of the spine? all I see is him hunched over the table again to pay those so called "doctor" bills....I'm sorry, as a spiritual being I can't "help" but point out these cats ailments reflect their abuse...so many artists die at the table to make outrageous deadlines so only a few profit??..even the cat with cancer, his prize was to get back to work on those titles so he can pay the bills from doctors who say theres no cure? and he was happy with that, cuz he's still a fan! What cool dude he is..
WTF fellas, I'm dying here...this urkes me something fierce..
I wonder how many HI board members work for these companies too...no one wants to rock the boat.
So everyones solutions is to buy more of the books made by these companies while throwing some change in plastic cups for the unfortunate? No one talking about rallying the audience to boycott companies who don't share profits...or who perpetuate slave wage pay rates while these artists keep intellectual property alive so only a certain few make bank?...while the rest ask for help? Where's the hero in this bullsht soup? hell, this is like ketchup and water heated up with crackers for spiritual sustenance.
I'm sorry, I'm not fooled by these fools. and C, what you do is far more of a Heros initiative then these frauds...please, continue your progressive conversation else where because I don't want to see your good name associated with this crap.
Real heros would point out the crimes and the injustice. Not JUST give people band aids and tell them to get back to work. I know a lot of these people in this video and I'm sorry I do now. Really. If I felt like the balance lied in these peoples hands I would just shoot myself now...and I'm far from suicidal. Seriously, what the f*** color pill did we all swallow? must of been the caca poopoo colored one Morpheus was sittin on...cuz even he's shittin his pants with this bowel movement...or lack there of...this is creative constipation.
...Aaaaand at the end it says, HI is gonna help A LOT more artists....??? WHAAAAAAt? really? so you're saying its gonna get worse?....again, I'm too much of a metaphysical being not to see whats going on. these cats are losing their sight, cancer of the spine...?? sounds like work related sickness..and they are both still working? Its a shame such beautiful and hard working individuals are treated like people who need handouts...they earned better and no one is even saying that...they're saying, hey, buy more comics from these companies who pay s*** and treat people even worse...but don't forget your pennies in this cheap looking cup...and we're the power of the industry??? OMG...
sorry if I pissed on the parade here...I know for a fact Charles does more with this site right here then HI will ever do as far as evolving an industry.
Change can be a penny or a broken leg..Change is NOT something to cry for...EVOLVE mutha fuckas! EVOLVE! that means thinking different so we can talk different so then we can act different...this is the same old same old masked with typical major cord progressions played poorly on an acoustic guitar..and its PR for the cock suckers tryin to play us...
I know I'll get sht for this. I've already gotten sht in the past for my position with HI. But I don't have anything personal against HI..its just another generic looking agent of the matrix we need to kick.
..and again, the Animation industry does have something that makes people aware..one of those things is called AN...not a union..not an organization owned by another larger organization that profits off misfortune and doesn't create any sign of evolution..individuals create evolution before a group you have to pay to work to be a member. Lets let go of this idea that these organizations care. Cuz they don't. they create more walls and more problems then solutions.
man, I'm tellin you, this video made me so disgusted with what others think of as solutions...and the organizers sit there all righteous and act like they do anything. I'm mad for the cats they used in that video. they didn't honor them. they used them to make it look like they are part of progression when its just part of the recession.
Man, a real Hero would be apart of the taking the industry back. Revealing the deception and pulling the pants down off the small peepee thats always tryin to screw us.
all I hear, is hey, love us cuz one day you're gonna need us. Get use to it..in the meantime buy more comics from the criminals.
Well here's a testimonial from artist Russ Heath. What Hero Initiative did for him speaks volumes. Just what an organization like this is supposed to do.
http://heroinitiative.org/newsdetail.as ... aitive%21+
COol. I'm glad the dude got help. And I guess in a climate where artists are being raped systematically when you hear a story like this one might think, this is what we need...and I guess where an industry shits on people a little social service feels good to numb the truth...and the truth is what the HI video said...you're gonna need HI cuz its gonna happen a lot more...but hey HI don't ever point out why it does...don't ever rally people to address the real problem. Here's some help and a testimonial!! don't you feel better???..now buy more comics from these companies...and dont' forget your change..some poor artist, who isn't a business man, is hoping for it.
I'm not a business man...I'm a business...man
yeah HI, you're suppose to do this...giving assistance to a small ammount of artists getting fucked..unless you get more funding, then you can "help" even more guys who got fucked....cuz why? cuz artists aren't business people...lets perpetuate that myth! lets perpetuate that thats the problem...and glaze over the truth...cuz thats what you're suppose to do.
I like how people use words for their cause. Especially when "helping" people.
Definition of HERO
a : a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability
b : an illustrious warrior
c : a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities
d : one who shows great courage
a : the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work
b : the central figure in an event, period, or movement
plural usually he·ros : submarine 2
: an object of extreme admiration and devotion : idol
See hero defined for English-language learners »
See hero defined for kids »
1. The power or ability to begin or to follow through energetically with a plan or task; enterprise and determination.
2. A beginning or introductory step; an opening move: took the initiative in trying to solve the problem.
a. The power or right to introduce a new legislative measure.
b. The right and procedure by which citizens can propose a law by petition and ensure its submission to the electorate.
1. Of or relating to initiation.
2. Used to initiate; initiatory.
on (one's) own initiative
Without prompting or direction from others; on one's own.
I hear ya loud and clear bro.
I defer to your experience in the world of comics and completely relate to what I've experienced in my many years in animation.
Still it's better than nothing at all which was all these artists have had. Some initiative is better than no initiative. At least some guys are doing something to help others and they're doing it through crowdfunding.
You're not going to change artists. Either in comics or animation. They're going to be what they are. The best we can do is to be the best we can be individually and if there's a will to do something collectively, like Hero Initiative, then support it for what it's worth to you and for what it can do for others.
Be the change. Remember how often we've said that over the years?
Artists have a choice today. They can continue to seek salvation from the status quo or they can rise up and save themselves.
Here's an interesting comparison.
Just next door to where I'm typing this an animation studio moved in. I literally share two walls with this company that also produces live action films. The live actions guys I meet there are cool. They're nice guys, are able to engage in a normal conversation and they don't seem to be uptight about anything. The animation guys on the other hand are not quite the same. You can tell the difference. Not quite sure how to explain it. There's a perceivable contrast between the two.
What does this have to do with the topic? I don't know other than it relates in some way to what Snakebite is talking about. Live action doesn't strike me as a community that would ostracize individuals such as Bite or myself because we take a strong position that artists should be in far greater control of their industry and destinies in animation and comics. These people do not leave me with the impression that they would be as quick to vilify us as what I've seen with many of my colleagues in animation.
But I could be wrong. People are people and wherever there's people you have some element of dysfunction.
Something else I've noticed for a long time that's perpetuating the sense of helplessness and dependency among artists in the animation community.
They're taught to be helpless and dependent.
Look at what the schools are doing. How many of them are teaching something other than getting a job at a studio? They're all taught to be employees. Look at what the Animation Guild teaches. That the only way to long term stability in your career is union studio employment. Work for 20 years in union studio and get your pension. What happens when you can't work at a union studio? What do you do when you're too old to be hip and edgy or your union studio employment isn't consistent? What are your options?
There's no mention or education anywhere that I'm aware of dealing with the rise of independent opportunities. No education dealing with the development of a personal franchise or an independent economy or leadership or anything that would encourage a departure from the fanboy mentality and dependency on just one system.
Realistically, how many students coming out of these schools are mentally prepared for anything other than submit a portfolio or reel to a studio?
At least with HI there's a model of what can be done when artists get together and help each other out. It's better late than never at all.
Indeed. Hero initiative should be called Help Initiative...cuz the heroes are the ones who put their neck on the block to spark evolution. And they're just helping people already fucked, they're not about turning it around and making sure that artists DON'T need them in the future...hell, how is our government gonna fund them if they don't have people to help??? and like government backing means anything besides more deceptions and non solutions...seriously. I'm just getting insulted by all of this.
Hey, its cool these cats got help. But don't bloat up your chest because of it. Don't give yourself the title of Hero...lets others do that.
I wouldn't be so militant about it if I didn't think they exploiting these people to benefit their organization WHILE NOT presenting any long term goals and REAL solutions to this problem...like spreading a little awareness for one. But all these cats KNOW EXACTLY whats wrong with the industry and why people are getting fucked and dying at their chairs making stupid ass low paying deadlines...seriously....and no one says s***? wtf???
And you're right, C, its the artists first willing to say something...and all those cats at HI are artists...or couldn't make it as artists and decided to start an organization for other less fortunate artists...either way, everyone in that video knows whats up...and no one wants to saying anything...I mean, hell, HI just gets them more crappy paying jobs to get them back on deadline...and they pat themselves on the back for it.
And I know I'm the minority with my feelings. I've never been apart of the club. But my work speaks for itself.And HI speaks for itself...and it speaks loud and clear..shut up and take the hand outs...bla
I completely understand where you're coming from. After reading your posts I'm resisting the temptation to dive into my anger towards artists for reasons you point out on top of what I've seen and experienced.
But I've let all that go cuz it's a useless waste of emotional energy. Much better and more productive to channel it in directions that will benefit what I've been trying to create on my own. If I dwell on these things it will only serve to keep me mired in negativity and in reliving the past. I'm excited about the future and everything that's happening that helping artists to emerge and rise up from the muck.
If anything, when I think about this aspect of the industry and how artists have allowed themselves to become second class citizens in their own house it inspires and motivates me to progress and to pursue that which will bring me happiness and joy and continues to develop my independence from what everyone else settles for and gravitates towards.
The road less traveled!
Maybe this will help get the message across as to what's happening in the world of comics and independent endeavors nowadays...
Nobody I know of in the industry, whether it be comics or animation, has heard of it. But kids sure have!
Check it out. An online comic that wrapped up a Kickstarter campaign just two months ago on October 4 2012.
There were 24,346 backers who pledged $2,485,506 of a $700,000 goal so the creator of the project can produce it as a game.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/142 ... nture-game
Let me repeat that to be sure the message gets through...
An online comic Homestuck that few if any in the industry have heard of or are aware of raised $2,485,506 through a crowdfunding campaign just two months ago.
Talk about a hero initiative! And it's not even drawn that well!
I've been telling my students about this along with everything else that's happening through crowdfunding. In fact, next to video games, comic projects are the most successfully funded projects on Kickstarter. Comics are super popular and crowdfunding offers an opportunity for artists to create their own franchises that over time will potentially pay off for them much better than work for hire alone.
Maybe the message will get through when more work for hire artists see how successful and prosperous their colleagues are as a result of their entrepreneurial efforts.
You don't have to spend your golden years begging for financial help if you build your own creative empire.
Work for hire is increasingly becoming a dead end street. Look at these comic book artists in the Hero Initiative video. All the years they've worked for the man and now they have nothing.
In today's environment, it's prudent to think in terms of an independent aspect to your career.
In animation it's particularly useful to think this way as well. This isn't something that will happen overnight. It's takes work and planning and dedication towards a goal. If you stick with it and develop your community and fan base over time your chances for success will greatly improve and you can spend your golden years sitting on all that equity YOU built for yourself, not for a company that owns all the rights and doesn't give a rat's ass about you or your long term well being.
Your own initiative can eventually make you a hero.
Still, I think that what these guys are doing with HI is a good thing. It can be made better with dialogue and education and a rethinking of just how artists across a broad spectrum of disciplines can build a better future for themselves individually and collectively.
Exactly! I feel ya!
HI could take note from these new creators. If they really want to be heroes who initiate...that is.