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.
Are you in animation? A working professional in Los Angeles?
Worried about facing a layoff?
With many of the major studios clearing house, you probably are concerned. If you lose your job, where ya gonna go? Is the central animation industry able to absorb you?
Have you been sitting on the sidelines, avoiding involvement in industry affairs? Never been to a meeting of the Animation Guild? Are you one of the many union members resigned to apathy? Not motivated enough to get involved and have your voice be heard?
Are you one of the overwhelming numbers of silent voices in animation? Are you resigned to an uncertain fate concerning your career?
What are you doing to make the industry better?
Great points sir!
In my head I ask muhself these questions ALL the time... what are you doing to make yourself a better human for your environment (the animation industry)... are you working for money, or are you creating your future? are you doing the absolute best job you can, or are you doing the job that's paid for? are you standing for what you KNOW to be right, or are you standing silent for cash? Have you EARNED your position, or did you TAKE a position offered...?
I tell myself "If I know better, do better..." otherwise I find myself only stunting my own growth.
the question should be Is our Animation Industry is going in the right direction ??? I think the answer is "NO" ... But who is responsible for this ??? or We actually don't care about thinking all this...because we all are busy either doing our jobs or finding ourselves a job !!
Do you think the animation industry is going in the right direction?
What is the right direction?
I would really like to know what folks think the right direction is.
Please excuse me for being wordsy.. but this topic is a big conversation and i tried muh best to keep it as short as i could...
To my perspective, the industry is going in the same direction it's been on for a bit.. in circles. The focus of the ANIMATION industry started with ANIMATION. It's changed to the dollars that go with it... Where the head goes.. the body follows. The top, needs to focus on Animation again, and place faith that the dollar will follow. If THEY build it... it will come. By the top I refer to both artists and executives with experience and power behind their decisions. The top presently, I noticed, has gotten soft and heavy, and thinks individually, rather than for the greater good. The elders at the top are tired and over with caring, and have mentally gotten itself into a why bother state of mind, unaware that by not bothering... they are blockading the routes for those that do care and would bother. The youth at the top are unaware of the world around them, talking the talk as much as they can to avoid walking the walk...It wouldn't be THAT big a shift, for everyone to behave like the adults we are. I think crowd sourcing CAN be the piece to break the cycle.. it's PROOF that dollars follow the art, and not vice versa. I think soon enough studios will predominantly take pitches from successfully crowd sourced material, and at that point, it is the internal strength of the artist creator that will matter. Will the artist creator accept their help, without giving up the point?... how many dollars can the artist say no to before resolve is crumbled? In my honest opinion... i find humans at the end of the day are inherently lazy, and wish to not work. So it's easy to take their world from them... just offer up... play in return. Right now, the best one move anyone can do, is to be honest in their decisions. If you know better, do better. If you know what you are working on sucks, figure out why it sucks and offer your leaders the solutions. Don't just bitch about it cowardly behind their backs. We are ALL on the same team, and like any good relationship open communication is REQUIRED. If they choose to not listen, wish them peace and love and go your way, following what you believe to be right. DO NOT put energy into a thing you don't believe in. It can be hard, I completely understand...but if you need to "earn money to care for your kid"... I merely ask, don't you need to be a RESPONSIBLE adult to take care of your kid first and foremost? What kind of example does that set for the child, to compromise what you know is right.. for a dollar? If you do believe in a project you commit to, WORK on it as if you were paid a buhzillion dollars... your execution as a master, or student of the art should ALWAYS come first. No excuses for less than the best. If it takes you too long to do your best, it means you are not that good at the responsibilities you shouldered, and you should either pick up a lighter burden, or eat the cost of it taking you longer and know that with time and practice you will become faster and better. Find a master who does it better, faster, whatever it is that throws you off your game, and work with them. Eventually with time and practice it will all come to you (as wisdom is known to do). Leaders of our industry (directors and producers and other exec types), do not send your soldiers to their deaths. You are failing them. You are slaughtering them by the thousands... do not design a battle built with human failure at it's core. Your crew WANTS to succeed, to do a good job, to please you. Spend the time to design achievable victories, with the least amount of collatoral damage as possible. Love your crew, and they will love you too. In the end, it all starts with trying your best... this industry.. is just not trying it's best at the moment...
Very astute contribution to the topic Marius.
Based upon your response I'd like to offer up another set of questions. For you and all to contemplate.
Do you think it is necessary to move forward in animation with executives who are not artists or individuals who are not directly experienced creatively as artists in animation?
Do you think that animation would be better off with artists as executives?
Is there an inclination on the part of artists to avoid leadership in a production environment and in community?
Your fellow human being will not stand up to evil or trouble. Only leaders do.
Marshaling them to stand up takes talent.
The best thing you can do for the animation community is to do your best and wait for the rest to follow. Don't divert from producing your own products for any reason whatsoever.
I guess the same could be asked about other professions too. I think to be qualified for certain positions, you should have some credibility.
Would someone want to see a marriage counselor who's never been married?
Would I want to hire a nanny who's never had kids?
Should someone who's never coached or played at a professional, coach the LA Lakers?
It would be hard to take an executive's advice or criticism seriously if they've never had any artistic experience and/or education.
In my opinion, I think an executive with an artistic background would be more respected than those who don't
"Do you think it is necessary to move forward in animation with executives who are not artists or individuals who are not directly experienced creatively as artists in animation?"
I honestly believe there is an art to business, as there is in all things. I think executives are performing their artform with error, free of retakes, while the rest of us have to work around their mistakes. I know how time consuming just managing a massive project can be, I know how time consuming many aspects of business are. If we want to spend our time making art, we need them to spend their time making business to coexist. For sure, we can do it without them, but that SHORTENS the amount of time one has to create. It's the same reason why artists work together, because together we can do many things in less time and with the added wisdom of MANY. When we work separately, complex things take longer and only have the input from the individual. In my eyes, it's always what's best for the greater good, and honestly, working together socially is the way to the greater good. Executives and artists, nobody's families need suffer...Nobody needs to have it all nor should WANT it all... sharing is caring...
"Do you think that animation would be better off with artists as executives?"
Then who would be the artists?... I believe artists and executives need to learn how to communicate properly, parcel up duties and responsibilities fairly, and work together to succeed at the commitments they as humans made. I think an artist being an executive is as bad for the business side of the industry, as an executive being an artist was for the creative side....
"Is there an inclination on the part of artists to avoid leadership in a production environment and in community?"
I think artists are avoiding leadership for the most part, because they aren't masters. I think the master artists are avoiding leadership, because they lost focus and focussed on personal comfort instead of the direction of the industry. I've heard of some of the masters who kept focus, respected but mocked for their passionate outcries. By their FELLOW artists.
In my opinion leadership comes down to 2 humans, maybe 3. These 2 or three humans should have logged the MOST hours working on a property.. they are... The Creator of a property (soul), the Director of the property (body), and the PRODUCER of the property (mind). ALL three need to work together. If a project fails, it is there it failed. Creators should not be empowered if the other two branches aren't in agreement, and nothing should move til those three humans establish a very good solid achievable plan of attack...
What if there is a client representing the creator?... Then the client is out of line, they are executors and facilitators.. not creators, not directors, and not producers. They need to be EXPLAINED their role to the success of the project and abide by it. If a creator can't be bothered to participate in the creation... well, that's a deadbeat parent to me.. and they should not be empowered....
Thanks for your excellent response guys. Here's my next question.
If one would be inclined to build a better industry, considering all the many obstacles one would face in doing so dealing with an entrenched system, what would be the best, most efficient and most effective course of action?
"If one would be inclined to build a better industry, considering all the many obstacles one would face in doing so dealing with an entrenched system, what would be the best, most efficient and most effective course of action?"
If your troops are scattered, you need to organize the command. No point in trying to organize everyone. So first. Identify command. In our case, it would be the masters. WHO are they? We can't all be them. I have been thinking very much about how to identify one, and I think I came up with a simple system. a master is one who creates a piece of art, that is recognized by a peer of masters. This would be... a masterpiece. I think That JUST organizing a list of all the master categories will be a lot of work. There are masters in all fields of animation from script to screen, both creative and executive. Soooo... I guess first would be to identify ALL the responsibilities in the field of animation. That right there is a large master task, and outside my knowledge or abilities. I can't know what I do not know. We would need a representative from the three main awareness' to come together... mind body and soul. A master producer (an executive that executed production duties masterfully on a masterpiece), a master director (artist captain who masterfully coordinated the art creation of a masterpiece), and a master creator (a creator of a masterpiece with a proven record for both creative and executive) need to come together to hash out some of the preliminary details better. Those three humans have the answers, resources and ability to bring the beginning of change. Until those three factions come together, all the rest of us can do is blindly try to master our own journeys, so that when we are in those positions, we can make the change...
(ps. I believe a more efficient animation guild would be designed on that trinity council concept over the traditional hierarchical structure)
((pps.. I believe our industry and guild should use the internet to unify us. Use cloud technology as a way to address issues and concerns. It would make town-hall meeting type things irrelevant. The focus of what the masses are concerned about would be clear, as well as possible sollutions))
money does not make a master... but a master makes money
If that's the plan that you feel would work best in making the animation industry a better one, how would you implement it?
How would you handle / manage the inherent resistance to change you will encounter as you proceed?
Only thing I can say from experience, to untangle a mess of wires, it's best to chart out what each and every wire is doing. I am not a master, and don't know a master... so I'm just trying to make sense of things.
The only reason I ask for the roles and responsibilities to be defined CLEARLY by both a master executive and creative is because there is a discrepancy in what's said and what's expected that is creating confusion and indecision within the system. So yes... Plan a for me was to get a representative from both sides... to help clarify why this is by writing it out... so that there is a start point for discussion. That way we can learn from the WISDOM ahead of us and try to focus on potential solutions. I know organization of industry is paramount. Construction has it. animation shares many similarities to construction. Blueprints are like boards, architects like directors. All kindsa subcategories of unions handle the labor, yet they all have CLEAR codes for working... If the elder generations ahead won't clearly outline and organize their systems then what are the following generations to do?
it appears.. the answer is... they create new systems...
which is what's happening. and what you've been saying...
just had an epiphany.
i feel foolish.
thanks for letting me ramble charles. This stuff's been rattling in my head for a while now and I needed to talk it out somehow. I see now, the point. I'm focussed the wrong way...
There are new things to focus on... that face the future.
Please excuse me again for the disturbance, and thanks for the inadvertent life lesson!
so to simply answer the initial question.."What are you doing to make the industry better?"
I s'pose I'm leaving it...
Is leaving the industry the same as leaving the art?
Perhaps leaving the industry is necessary for fully embracing the art.
Is it possible to change the industry from the inside? How can change come from the industry itself? Do you think that change is more effective when it comes from new models developed from outside the industry proper?
History shows that the greatest change comes from the outside. John Lasseter for example was fired from Disney because of the change he pioneered and wound up affecting the industry in ways much more profound than what he could have done from the inside.
Can positive and significant change come to this industry from the industry itself?
"Is leaving the industry the same as leaving the art?"
Not at all, mastering the illusion of life is really my focus. One thing I've learned on my journey has been that to achieve mastery, one has to do one's best at all times. In the industry I'm taught to not do my best, but my fastest. I cannot find mastery in this system.
"Is it possible to change the industry from the inside?" Completely possible, but the inside needs to intend to change.
"How can change come from the industry itself?"
By the actions of those within. The higher in rank the change, the greater the change in the industry.
"Do you think that change is more effective when it comes from new models developed from outside the industry proper?" That's the build it, they will come model. It works so I can't argue that it isn't effective, but it's definitely not the MOST effective in my opinion. it IS the safest... for EVERYONE not developing the models...
"History shows that the greatest change comes from the outside. John Lasseter for example was fired from Disney because of the change he pioneered and wound up affecting the industry in ways much more profound than what he could have done from the inside."
If we don't learn from our history we are doomed to repeat it. Like I said, I agree, that it IS effective. Just not THAT effective. For my dollar, I bet if Lasseter was empowered EARLIER on... well... who knows what POSITIVE effects that might have had....
"Can positive and significant change come to this industry from the industry itself?" Of course it can... From the top down... CHANGE has to become more valuable in the decision making processes than DOLLARS... seems the industry will only change for dollars...but it's only through change, that the dollars will be found. Only thing I can comfortably guarantee ... is you can not stop change. it always comes. it is a constant. As an industry you'd think the "masters" would plan accordingly...
Ok. I been thinking of a real world action step. How about this. EVERYONE in the union submit a personal five year plan regarding themselves and their place in the industry. Broken down by year. Organize the thoughts of the many into concise goals, and propose a union five year plan covering EVERYONE's needs. If the plan is fair, and realistic.. it should lead to advancement or evolution for all involved. None of this is wasted energy on anyone's part...it's how an adult is supposed to navigate through life. it's just... not fun. It involves... making oneself responsible. If a member doesn't involve themself in the step, they don't get accounted for in the plan, and can't complain.... maybe five years later, more participate... I figure help people forward, plan that way... and who knows?... just a thought...
Change / evolution doesn't come from initiative at the top brother Marius. It starts at the bottom and works its way up by the will of those looking to make a transition. There's nothing for the status quo to gain from a transition if it is not in the interests.
Artists need to get involved and make their move on many different levels and fronts for a brighter future individually and for all.
If you are in the union do you attend the bi-monthly meetings of the Guild?
This is an election year. Are you or anyone else willing to run for the executive board of a specific office?
I have to respectfully disagree sir. In all things, where the head goes, the body does follow. Does one expect the children to put the household in order... or the parents. The mess was created at the top. The bottom has no clue what that mess is. We discover it step by step as we advance, but there is no way for the bottom to correct the top. The bottom, can just try it's best. Expecting it to succeed without it's leadership.. well... that line of thinking does not leave me feeling hopeful.
A long time ago I was in the union. I was young, insecure, and intimidated by the union then. I have a big mouth though, dislike wasted effort, and look at and speak to everyone as an equal human. Needless to say, I didn't fit IN the establishment. My services do however, so I exist on the fringe by providing my services to those who do live in the system, who believe in me. As of late, I've switched to being a "studio" trained artist for crowdfunded properties. I am working as an animator on kickstarter funded "Cyanide and Happiness", as an animator on an indiegogo funded indie documentary "The Fantastic Flights of Sophie Blanchard", and am also directing and animating an indeigogo funded property for the youtube dubstep network monstercat. These projects will run me through the end of the year, and by then I am hoping to launch another crowdsource endeavor for my own property "a grim reality".
What I know is the only thing that's changed.. is respect. My new client list values any wisdom or experience I might have, and believes in the human experience of it all. That said, I fear for the artists... staying separated. I believe in what you say charles, the new guard will come in. That does not mean the old guard needs to be chased out of it's position. It can work together to lead the new guard in. Even if I disagree with the life decisions my elders have made... I still respect and value their position in my life, because elders are the keepers of wisdom. Whether they use it or not... is a whole other thing. Without the old guard sharing it's wisdom, the new guard is doomed to repeat it's history to gather it itself. SO here's a question, How do we make it so the union opens up it's doors to any ARTISTS willing to pay dues to join? Why the requirement to work at a studio shop to count? They, the studio shops, have VERY few jobs. What's the likelyhood for the union opening up it's doors to the next generation of artists...? Or does the next generation have to try to create it's own version of the union...?
Elders should be distributors of wisdom. Not keepers. And thats the problem. The keepers of wisdom end up being gate keepers. When the doors should be open to all. The elders should be stewards, not owners. Like the rest of us.
The gate keepers had their time. And they failed. They do not have to be destroyed in order for the rest of us to rebuild. They just merely need to step out of the way.
At this point of our evolution, why do we need establishments like Unions?