C'mon guys...

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Posted by Charles on May 17, 1999 at 03:45:49:

In Reply to: Frightening parallels between CalArts and Sheridan posted by Lost Soul on May 16, 1999 at 14:09:20:

Time to get busy.

There's really no reason to sit around and put up with this. The conditions you've described to me at Sheridan are unacceptable. Why are you tolerating it? It makes no sense.

Your positions as animation artists in school give you much more power than what you'd experience in a studio environment. In a studio, you are a paid employee. You are receiving an income which makes any protest that you are inclined to mount very difficult.

But in art and animation schools, you're the ones with the money. You are the client. You have every right to demand individually and en masse a professional product and/or service for the outrageous fees these dollar sucking ducks are gourging on.

There's been a growing crisis in art education in America for decades. I honestly wouldn't have any idea where to send my children for competent training anywhere in the country if they wanted to be artists. These schools are preying on the dreams of kids who see animation as a land of creative happiness and fullfilment with promises of huge starting salaries.

Animation is darn hard work. It's long hours of intense and dedicated craftsmanship which becomes a shared experience among a very diverse group of talented people. It's made miserable by industrially ignorant, closed minded, self absorbed corporate deadbeats. The same kind that you've got running your show.

The only reason they get away with it is because you're letting them.

In the 1960's, colleges and universities across the country and all over the world were in an uproar. The university has always been the forum for movements and grass roots change. The kind of change that sets the tone for a generation to come.

If I could pull off the April 1st meeting here in the international heart of the industry, imagine what you can do where you're at. I operate in an industry of thousands of artists. How many students have you got in your character animation program? How many are at CalArts? Your situations are much more managable and the realization of your goals much more attainable.

Why don't you upper classmen have some fun and do the right thing at the same time. Stand up for yourselves and each other. Demand immediate change. Start demanding refunds from these schools if they don't impliment the changes that you want. If they won't give you a refund, then sue them for fraud and misrepresentation.

Take the news to Animation World Network (www.awn.com). Let the next wave of prospective animation students know what to expect if they should decide to go to these schools. Nothing like a bit of impending legal action and media exposure to get our distinguished academians squirming on their duffs.

Stop being such easy pushovers. If you plan on succeeding in animation, you've got to be much tougher. Take a good, hard look inside and ask yourselves how badly you want this. If the answer comes back in the afirmative, then get on it.

Organize yourselves. Organize student committees. Take it to the student body government if you've got one. If not, make one. Form a group dedicated to serve as a watchdog over the administation to guarantee that basic services in the animation department are met.

If you are going to inherit this industry, if there's going to be a change, the schools have got to get involved. You men and women have to get together and learn how to fight for each other. You're going to have to start exercising your collective might at the institutional level. If your schools aren't working, then talk to your instructors about starting their own. It happened here, so don't tell me that it can't be done.

If you want to succeed as an artist, then strive for greatness. The schools are preparing you as fodder for the system. Success is in the art. Strive to be a great artist and the rest will follow. Don't keep your thinking mired in getting a portfolio together to get a job at a big studio. Your goal should be excellence in your work. The rest will come.

Demand classes or seminars in intellectual property rights, labor law, negotiating employment contracts, etc. Are you getting this in school? If not, you've got a big problem. They're sending you out as sheep among wolves.

I know those of you at Sheridan and CalArts have got what it takes to start rebuilding the animation universe. Those of you who are not afraid to accept your role as leaders, take that first step and teach these fatted cows who graze upon your hopes a lesson in dealing with artists.

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