Posted by Charles on March 11, 1999 at 22:20:07:
In Reply to: Now losing preproduction to overseas labor posted by Bob on March 11, 1999 at 18:54:14:
Well, Bob, I read the material that you referred me to. Interesting array of opinions. Mr. Schwartz's comments were particularly lucid. In response to your suggestions, I don't think it is very likely that the Federal Government will make or even be interested in making an attempt to subsidize animation production in the U.S. to keep it stateside. The interests of the our government lie with Mr. Schwartz and not with us. Also, in this economic environment, subsidizing an industry like our own is simply not going to happen. In my opinion, I believe that our future is in animator owned studios that can compete with the top heavy corporate production houses in quality, price, concept and entertainment value. There's no reason whatsoever to send pre-production to another country. It's just an extension of the same old game. Shrinking production budgets force pseudo producers to look elsewhere so they can continue to support an obsolete infrastructure. Studio executives are not going to fire themselves. They're going to get rid of those pesky, pre-production artists who have the misfortune of actually expecting to make a living in the heart of the international capital of the industry. The trend towards sending pre-production to other countries began some time ago with DIC. They've been doing it far longer than any other major studio in town and it presents as many problems for pseudo producers as it does solutions. It's a stupid thing to do. I have seen and experienced first hand the problems that it causes. It's a trend that other studios are more willing to embrace. I remind them that one gets what one pays for. What it comes down to is that these studios want to give up on production altogether and are looking for someone to do it for them. There is one trend that none of these experts predicted. That is, the reaction of our incredibley talented, versatile and exuberant community. We can produce animation competitively with the world as long as the budget for management stays modest. It is a common practice for executives to skim 50% of a production budget for themselves. It is also a common practice for the overseas producer to take a sizeable chunk of the money they get as well. It is also common practice for an overseas studio to give stateside executives kickbacks from the budget. Our community can and will compete. Among the trends that favor us, inexpensive yet powerful computers and inexpensive yet powerful software. The playing field is leveling out in many ways. There are many solutions to help control the problem of production costs in the face of dwindling broadcast revenues, but these industry experts are so committed to their tunnel vision and the path of least effort that they simply don't see it. They're not capable of seeing it because they are not objective. For them to look at alternative solutions means to face the obsolescence of their system. A system that has been very, very good to them. I can't say I blame them for sending more of their work to other countries if a subsidy is involved and currency exchange rates are favorable. But what surprises me is the fact that they seem to think we're going to sit back and do nothing. Those same exchange rates and subsidies are available to us as well. Imagine animation studios, owned and operated by artists, making use of the same system that pseudo producers utilize so effectively to achieve an extraordinary level of mediocrity in their product. The hardships that we will be dealing with are unavoidable. This is the way that the industry is going. But animation is not going to disappear and neither are we. The future belongs to those who are able to produce first rate animated entertainment within the limitations of reduced production budgets. The American Animation Industry has the fortitude and the creative, problem solving capabilities and determination to meet and greet that challenge. There are more than enough artists willing to do it here, in the U.S., for the budget that they send the work out overseas. This is a trend that the experts fail to realize.
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