Posted by Charles on March 13, 1999 at 18:29:01:
In Reply to: A Different Approach posted by James Hull on March 12, 1999 at 10:37:02:
I and many like you share your frustrations, James. What you experienced at Disney Features was inexcusable and completely avoidable. It was another feather in the long headdress of failure that adorns animation executive management. The system failed you as it has so many others. In my own career I've experienced similar situations and similar results. You're not alone. I see a pattern in what happened to you as the same thing has happened to others, extremely talented specialists, some of whom are still at Disney sitting on needles and pins after many years of dedication as you've described, not knowing if they're going to be the next ones to go.
I think that the points you made about more of a collaborative effort between artists and executive management to help resolve these problems is very valid and is the ideal thing to do. Unfortunately, I do not have much faith in these people, nor in system that they operate within. I do not believe that those who control production are open to this kind of dialogue. I've tried this approach as have others without much success. They simply aren't open and they don't listen, opting to get rid of the trouble makers instead. Unless the managerial element acknowledges these problems, problems which exist within their own system, nothing will change. In my opinion, change will only come from a collective, comprehensive movement on the part of our community to position ourselves in the marketplace for the industry of the future. Long term goals achieved through education, re-education, a change in our attitudes, good planning, communication, exchange of information, encouragement, an efficient use of our time and taking advantage of resources which are available to us now. We have to create our own system because it won't be created for us. The system we are dealing with is failing more and more extremely talented individuals.
There's a trend in animation that many of the so called experts are not aware of. That is, the gradual elimination of executive middle men who cannot contribute in any real way to the production process and are oftentimes, detrimental to the process itself. As time goes on, this will become more and more evident. What sense does it make for someone to secure the services of an executive who can do nothing more than ship the entire production to another country? What sense does it make to spend all these years and all of this capital in training someone as skilled and talented as yourself, only to let them go so a competitive entity can pick you up, or have you start your own production house?
The downsizing trend of the 1990's has created a new demographic phenomenon. The emergence of small business as the catalyst in the American economy. This is not speculation. This is a fact. The same thing is happening in our own industry. The overpaid executives who run these studios will eventually be the victims of their own system. There are opportunities in animation for those who are able to find creative solutions to the problems inherent in the system as we now know it.
Animation is entering into a new era. Let's take advantage of this and be among the pioneers. It doesn't do us any good to sit around and foster anything less than agressive, positive, problem solving attitudes or think that the managerial element will embrace change unless they have no other choice. Let's take control of our collective destiny. Show up at the Sportsmen's Lodge on April 1. Make a statement and make a committment to be a part of the solution.
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