Once Upon A Time...

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Posted by Charles on November 20, 1999 at 18:41:26:

...There was a big studio that produced lots of animated programming for television. They came to LA in the early 80's to set up shop. They started out small, but had a plan. Produce animation for television by keeping pre and post production here and sending everything else out of the country. Aggressively undercut local studios that had for years produced Saturday morning shows.

Their plan worked and they quickly grew to be the biggest supplier of animation for television in the western hemisphere. It was nothing for this studio to be producing 8 to 10 different shows a season or more. But the true nature of their vision eventually emerged. They started looking for more and more shortcuts. They scoured the earth in search of studios that could produce animation at lower and lower rates. Quality was nice, but it really didn't matter. Just get it done and get it out.

Eventually, they started sending pre-production to other countries. This was a really smart thing to do, of course, because the pseudo-producers could rake in even more money for themselves from shrinking production budgets through the layoff of their remaining in-house pre-production artists. Unfortunately, they never stopped to think about the problems this would cause. They never paused to ponder what would happen to them and their business if they kept producing shows that gradually got worse and worse and worse.

Today, that studio is giving up one of the three floors they occupy in a nice office building and are fitting their operations to two floors instead. The director for the only series they're producing was given a box of pencil stubs to use instead of new art supplies. That's what I call progress.

So friends, how does an animation studio grow from a smart idea to a kitchen table to a powerhouse, then start back towards a kitchen table again? Simple! Don't worry about quality. Don't worry about your clients. Don't worry about your audience. Don't give a second thought about all of those dedicated artists who believed in you and who did their best to help you succeed, in spite of your indifference to them and your lies about their future.

Just think of yourselves and do it cheap.

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