Re: Taking Affirmative Action

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Posted by Jon McClenahan on May 27, 1999 at 07:48:56:

In Reply to: Taking Affirmative Action posted by Brian Mitchell on May 19, 1999 at 19:22:25:

: It really doesn't matter where you live. What it takes is sheer determination to be better at what you do, not at what others do.

: I went to SVA (School Of Visual Arts) for little over one year and was very disenchanted with the program. They had animation students taking super 8 film classes! Art was an elective!

: I had animation class for three hours a week and the instructors' main comments on anybodys' animation was (hiccup) GREAT! There was never a comment on what to do to improve it. So, I took matters in my own hands. First I dropped out, bought a super 8 stop motion camera, super 8 Disney and Warner cartoons and taught myself animation. Second, I bought every good drawing book I could find and enrolled myself at Art Students League In New York, learning from some of the best instructors in New York like Gustav Rehberger and Robert Beverly Hale. Then I set goals for myself, and drew my butt off for five years! The hard work paid off when I landed a job in Los Angeles doing Character Layout.

: The one thing I have learned over the years in this business is you have to stick to your guns.

: Eventually, I got fed up with the business in Los Angeles because of the insane politics of it all. I returned to New York, and found out that it wasn't much better fact, its' WORSE!

: So, I once again took matters in my own hands and partnered with a computer animation/business pro, Michael Faiella and opened up a studio here. We're selling Quality Classical style animation, and we figured that we would have the world at our feet. Apparently,lots of companies got scared off by the prospect that quality classic style animation costs some major bucks, and so I'd have to say that business for our first year had been rocky to say the least. But, we were determined to make this company successful. You have to stay focused and find ways to be flexible.

: The word failure cannot be in your vocabulary. The pain that you felt learning your craft is nothing like the labor pains that you experience birthing a new animation studio. Now I know why Walt Disney went through numerous nervous breakdowns.

: The point is this. Things remain the same unless you take charge of your life and do something about it. The movers and shakers of this and any business have always been dis-satisfied with things. Look at Walt Disney, UPA, Don Bluth, Ralph Bakshi, John Kricfalusi, Hanna/Barbera among others. Whether you like them and their works is another story. In one way or another, they all forced a change in our business. You can help it by talking about it, but you have to empower yourselves and take the next big step.

: That's the only way it's going to happen. Maybe then and only then, when the talent goes to animator friendly studios, they'll finally learn that you can't produce cartoons without animation artists.

Hey Brian!

As usual, great points! I had no idea of the struggles you have gone through! Now that's a classy guy, who just does his work without complaining (Readers should know Brian and I have worked together on several projects). But seriously, whining gets us nowhere.

One thing, however, I'd really like the readership to understand, is that, yes, "you can't produce cartoons without animation artists" ... but we can't produce cartoons (at least the ones anybody will ever SEE) without businessmen - suits, if you will. It's easier to turn a galloping horse gradually, and that means working WITH the horse to guide him in the direction you want to go, but not jerking the reins too forcefully, or you will be thrown off the horse. We need to understand the language of our suit-brothers, because without them, nothing will ever get done. What they do is an art, too, you know. If it wasn't, we'd be able to handle that part too ... and let's face it, we can't (or don't want to).

You go, Brian!

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