Re: Mary had a little lamb

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Posted by Sheepie on February 17, 2000 at 02:00:46:

In Reply to: Mary had a little lamb posted by Charles on February 16, 2000 at 17:02:19:

: One of the things about animation artists that has always baffled me is why they insist on being sheep.

Nothing like insulting everyone to start off with.

:I'm really fed up with trying to change attitudes, so for those of you that want to follow the shepherds of despair, be my guest.

Again. Insulting.

: What I would like to do from here on out is provide some examples of progress that very few of you are aware of. Much of this is extremely confidential information, so I will keep it as ambiguous as possible while still getting the point across. Maybe it will help strengthen those who are trying to mentally break away from the flock.

: In my conversations with artists and in reading some of the messages that are posted here, I'm of the opinion that the last people who really know what's happening in this business are those artists at major studios who've been working in a production capacity in relatively secure positions and are immersed in their work. I was astonished when I spoke to a friend at DreamWorks Features some time ago to find out that they had no idea that layoffs were taking place around the industry.

I have freinds their and the all knew. In fact the phoned me to tell me. I cannot say I agree that these are "sheep" or that they are blissfully ignorant people. News travels like wildfire through the business.

: The only thing that Disney artists can tell me is what's happening at Disney. Many of them have little to no knowledge of what's happening outside of that microcosm, except for the connections they maintain with artists at other feature studios.

They hear but it doesn't affect them.

: While the boom was going on and the feature and TV crowd were riding high on the hog, there were artists out in the real world battling in trenches that most of you can't imagine. Some of these guys were blackballed. Not by the executives, because they couldn't care less. But by their fellow animation artist brothers and sisters.

By who and for what ? I know of a few that were blackballed but not by the artists at all. By the management.

: They were excluded from the boom not because of any lack in skill. Indeed, many of these people could draw rings around the very artists that were reviewing the work they submitted for possible employment. They were blackballed by the artists themselves because of their perceived "radical" views and their vision, realistic or not, of an animation industry controlled by artists instead of the non-creative suits that the rest of the community had diefied.

This is crazy. No one I know of was ever kept from jobs for being "radical". Don't hint at this. Did anyone say "we are not hiring you because you are too radical"? How do you know ?

: These guys were summarily exiled to the far reaches of the animation universe in LA. They were forced to freelance while everyone else was signing contracts and making salaries that far exceeded their actual worth.

Another insult. Come on Charles. This is below you. Are we going to determine "who" is worth "what" price ? Are we going to become the management now and determine who is "in" ?

:They had to struggle in ways that many of you are experiencing now, only it was worse for them. They had to take humiliating entry level jobs because their friends, many of whom got their break into the business because of them, didn't want to have anything to do with these non-chic troublemakers.

Exactly what did these "trouble makers " do ?

: I guess the animation community really had them figured out, right?

Did they ? How do you know ? Explain.

: What eventually happened was that the blackballed troublemakers learned lessons that the patricians couldn't imagine. They learned to survive in hard times. They kept the faith in their dream and in the ideal of a better industry. They made lots of connections in the biz. They became entrepreneurial. They developed a comprehensive view of the industry. They learned to identify long term trends. They learned to communicate with business people. Most importantly, they never gave up even though most of their "colleagues" had given up on them.

Again, how do you know ? When people are hired in animation it is not just animation skill that is a determining factor. Ability to communicate with directors, self discipline, effort , etc . It's not just the art. What did these people do that was so bad that people turned their backs ?

: Today, most of the industry still has no idea that these people even exist. Yet nobody is better poised for the future than they are. One guy, forced into designing for video games because no one else in traditional animation would have him, has signed a deal that is monumental.

That's great. Maybe, just maybe it was fate. Maybe it was necessary for it to happen. Should we feel bad because outside the system they did better than inside ? Is success not the best revenge ?

:A new business model for animation artists everywhere, it's described as the biggest contract for an American production designer in the history of the video game industry, and it all happened because this artist held his ground. He refused to compromise his principles. He would have rather worked as a plumber than continue to work on a typical work for hire basis.

Then for him, he did the right thing. For him.

: Another one of those blackballed warriors closed a deal in which he and a crew he assembled and helped train are going to be doing a significant portion of animation production, as well as pre-production design, for a couple of prime-time pilots that a major cable station is preparing to broadcast and it looks as if one of these concepts will be going to series. The significant aspect of this deal is that the production work he managed to keep was all destined for studios in Asia. He bucked the trend and actually got it to stay in LA instead.

Now that is success. And shouldn't be confidential (when the time is right). Hopefully he will share the secret of "how".

: Another guy has gotten so good at dealing with investment bankers that there is an outstanding chance that a slate of theatrical features will be greenlit in the near future. He's already lined up distribution for these projects.

My fingers are crossed for him/her.

: I'm aware of animation students who are getting 50% down payment ahead of starting work on freelance jobs that they would normally get screwed on. Why? Because they told the client that's what it would take and the client gave in.

This is something that should be the standard. No freelancer should have to wait the hell of thirty days to be paid. It is totally unfair. There are tons of stories of directors changing their minds and making a freelancer do twice the work for the pay of one scene.

: These artists who were shunned by their brethren will be the new centurions. They're going to be among the industry's future employers. Big money isn't going the way it once was in animation. Everyone is aware of the executive management problem. Productuion capital wants to go to the creative element, not to the useless middle-men that so many of you think are all powerful. Their days are numbered. Their system is crashing down around them. That's why so many studios are having problems right now. Animation wants to come home.

My take is over expansion with no real plan.

: Do you really think that this great, majestic, tremendously successful artform is going to dry up and be wisped way simply because the bumbling phonies can't cover their big lie anymore? It's not up to them. It never was. It's always been in our hands, but this community is so addicted to fear and pettiness that you can't see the path even though it's right in front of your wooly little faces.

Enough of the insults. Do you really think it's fear ? Fear is what drives people to extreme acts, not complacent sheepness.

: I have no doubt that some naysaying defeatist trying to be "realistic" will answer this in the grand fashion that's been typically exhibited on such an important and significant web site as this one. I'll leave my response ahead of time...

: Baaa baaa baaa.

The importance of the site depends on whether you get people to relate to the industries problems and agree on solutions. What you are doing by insulting them is alienating them , not motivating them. Being a defeatist is giving up , which sounds like what you are doing. If the action isn't what you want then it isn't right and people are sheep.

Answering with "Baaa Baaa" seems to defeat the purpose of any discussion. Of course if that is all you are willing to do then you have made your stance quite clear. I know it's frustrating not to have people agree with everything you say but then was that really the point of all this ? Was it not to discuss ? Warriors and sheep talking ? This you will have to explain to me. What was the point ?

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