Posted by Kevin O'Neil on March 25, 1999 at 18:27:45:
In Reply to: exchange of information posted by Kevin O'Neil on March 25, 1999 at 17:06:58:
I have a great idea, let’s organize a executive/animation worker exchange week. We’ll have all the execs spend a week at the drawing desk, in whichever department they like, character or effects, layout, p.a. whatever. Give them model sheets and scenes and their footage requirements. Give them layouts to sort, things to copy. (You know, it always nice to have a $300,000.00 a year copy boy.) Show them how to shoot a pencil test. Then show them again how to shoot a pencil test right. Tell them their scene looks not like what we had in mind but keep working on it, although it has to be done by Friday, and it’s Thursday already, oh and by the way...did you get those hookups?
We’ll take in the executive meetings with studio heads. We’ll go to the really nice office, (with windows and the secretary, mind you) We’ll go out to nice lunches in their expensive “new” BMW’s, Mercedes, Lexuses, Jaguars, Range Rovers, etc. They can eat at the commissaries or all cram into one of our Escorts or VW’s and head off to Baja Fresh. We’ll look over stacks of numbers that aren’t coming out right, and we have to make cuts somewhere, and it sure as hell isn’t going to be us, (we’re in that exec thinking mind you) We’ll drop our car off at the exec car wash, have it detailed. We’ll take in a meeting in the morning where all the fresh bagels and fruit have mysteriously disappeared to, and figure out who to lay off today.
In the meantime our counterparts will be desperately trying to get that scene done so they won’t be laid off, while they stayed up late last night getting their portfolios ready for the next place they can take it to where it’s shoved into a room with ten thousand other portfolios from around the world. Meanwhile we’ll file through their portfolios (the ones with the stocks, mutual funds and other investments) figuring out how to make more money to send our kids to private schools.
I would be all for exchange of information. I would love to go through a week doing what an executive does. There has to some way to bridge the gap, so both sides see what each other does and why we both are necessary and why so many artists are needed to get the job done right. This is an art. It takes talent, perseverance, dedication, the willing to teach others what you know, political savvy, and down right love of cartoons and animation to do it. Not to mention a bit of looniness thrown in. Who else would sit at a desk all day and night drawing one frame at a time, sometimes 20 levels worth (I’m an effects artist) for 5 seconds of animation? Not your average person. Not even your average insane person.
Of course would any of us sit and stare at a bunch of columns with numbers in them all day, trying to figure out why it doesn’t add up, but then put the blame on the cost of the artists, when the above the line cost has already ballooned to 10 or 20 million before the movie has even started? Do we really need a mega-star to voice a cartoon character? We need a character. A voice that desribes the character. We need a story. The animator describes the character with the acting he or she does. Some of the best animation I’ve seen in the last few years has always been the characters who don’t say much anyway.
We have to find a way to make the execs understand us and we understand them. I wish they would all take the time to come over and meet the people that do the work that makes them the money. Meet us on a personal basis. Spend time in the trenches, learning what it is we do. Actually sit and draw for a while. Some of them who are closet artists might even see and hear that we are intelligent, witty, & hard working people who love this medium. We’re not the simpletons they make us out to be. Why, some of us can even speak in complete sentences! It makes a lot of people happy to see these movies. I love seeing the joy in my kids faces when they see a good animated film. It’s not only about money, it’s storytelling that lasts forever and that itself will bring in constant money over the long run.
The people who finance these movies only understand one thing, money! They seem to like or want the quick return on their investment. Disney has always understood it’s a long term investment. Sure the company is always going to make money re-releasing every movie, with or without the artists. And they laid off too. Everybody’s mindset is that 200 million isn’t a success.
I had the pleasure of working on Iron Giant. It was the best thing I’ve ever worked on, (although I did enjoy Mulan a great deal also) Brad Bird was great to work with. He knew exactly what he wanted, how to express it. There is someone who should get more movies to direct. I will do everything to get the word out about that movie. I agree with Dave on that.
Great storytelling on a small budget, and no silly songs!! It will succeed! Hi Dave.
That’s all I have to say. I have no direct answer, but these are my thoughts, disjointed as some of them might be.
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