Imported Talent

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Posted by Charles on August 30, 1999 at 15:57:30:

In Reply to: Toastie vs Evil Outsiders posted by Dudley Do Right on August 30, 1999 at 04:18:21:

An interesting thing about the establishment of DreamWorks Features and the production of "Prince of Egypt" is that many of the artists who worked on that film were from Europe. Someone intimately involved with the production told me last year when the film was released that the creative staff that migrated to DW from Disney was a minority, something along the lines of 30% to quote my source. The rest of the roster came from available local talent and lots of artists from abroad.

If you're going to play in this league, you've got to be good. Some of the greatest artistic talent in the world lives and works in Los Angeles. Take a good look at the feature animated films that are produced here. They are astonishing. You can't get that kind of quality unless you've got personel who can deliver.

It's not the Europeans, the Canadians, the Australians, the Asians or anyone else coming to LA to work in animation that necessarily cause difficulties. It's poor executive management and poor strategic planning, which includes a half hearted or non-existent attempt at nurturing local talent. A part of the bigger problem. For instance, one studio had to import storyboard artists from the Philipines because they couldn't find the artists that they needed here. They had to import character layout artists from Belgium for the same reason. All of this a result of wanting qualified talent on demand without an appropriate in-house training program in place to get local artists who want to work ready for the job.

But the artists who come here make this business a much more interesting place to be. They help to push the envelope and expand the art form. The foreign artists who are talented enough to come here to work contribute significantly to the creative gene pool, so to speak.

You've got to be good to make it as an artist in this business, in this town, even when things are booming. Whether or not you're an American born and bred or a refugee from Kosovo, your reputation as a fine artist or a hack will eventually preceed you. You'll survive and prosper if you can stay viable and competitive as a quality artist with a good, professional attitude.

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