What I tell myself everyday.

To all the people watching, I can never ever thank you enough for the kindness to me, I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask is one thing, and this is.. I'm asking this particularily of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism - for the record it's my least favorite quality, it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen." - Conan 'O'Brien

September 13, 2010

Do you really want to step into the animation industry? Part 1.

I am typing this isn't really as a guide for anyone. This is me thinking out loud and formulating my own thoughts or ideas.But any input is helpful. I will probably be re-structuring the paragraphs as I go along.

Students told me that after knowing me their morale become low. And that I am being cynical. But am I really? I think its more of knowing what the situation is out there so that you are prepared for it.

WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?

No one wakes up one morning and says I want to be an animator or a artist! You are probably affected by something u saw or read that excited you, or sparked something in you. And probably made you happy. And most of the time it is this happiness that you are trying to re-create by taking this path. I think it is important that you are aware of this. Nostalgic memory is a very powerful source. Or it is a form of escapism both rebelliously and/or passively.
Or you have stories to tell. Tons and tons of ideas inside you that is bursting to come out.

Or you can draw really well and if you do not draw for a day, you will go all twitchy.
Or just so that you do not have to conform to a path that is the norm.

How do people get into the industry? Understanding and recognising what you are thinking of. Compare it to other industries and also to the other average occupation. Similarity and differences. And lastly the reality of the situation you are in. Back again to the supply and demand chain. If you are an aspiring artist, as with times long past, you are going to have to come to grips with the economic reality of a real world. I.e you need money to pay the rent, put food on the table and to get laid.
Commitment and Talent. The word Passion insults me. I cringe whenever someone uses that word in association with this line of work. Passion to me feels tainted because it is easily brandished around by people trying to make use of gullible students to work for free or to work for peanuts. And it is a word associated with short term lust or desire with no regards for consequences and responsibility. It is a offense word. (Ok. I made my point) If you are passionate about animation, go watch the animated movie that you like then watch it again until you are sick of it then move on to something else with your life.

Commitment on the other hand, includes a drive and responsibility to yourself to succeed. If you want to strive and excel in this industry, that is one word that you need above the other. Commitment. Bear in mind that it is something that will come in handy when you need to get the animation fixed and approved for the 20th time because the client/director/supervisor cant make up his mind.

Talent is not really subjective. You either got it or not. To a certain extend, talent can be trained but only so far. I believe different people see things and the world differently. It could be just adjusting your frame of mind. To see things differently. And add to your ability. But if you do not have some level of talent, then you are going to need to work that extra harder.

For me, Animation in itself is a self indulgent exercise. The primary function in itself is to create entertainment. Hoping people will see your animation, or you have some message to convey or educate. Hence forth there is really a simple supply and demand chain. You must have something that you think people will want or hope to see. Or you just want to animate stories for yourself?

I read somewhere in a book that all people want to live their lives to the fullest. To its most fulfilling and to their best of their abilities. It is also to be happy. That is a given. No one is born into this world wanting to be unhappy. Everyone's definition of happiness is different. And also changes with time and growth. It is also the circumstances of not achieving happiness that causes grief and frustration.

Animation itself compromise of a multitude of skill sets and uses both the right and left side of the brain. And needs you to toggle between them.

Before animation was invented/discovered in the 1900s or whenever, the people who are gifted or inclined with these skill sets, have assumed a variety of roles through history. Craftsman, artists, storytellers even generals and engineers. Being "gifted in animating" can be broken down into several human traits. Same as texturing painting or lighting.
For the aspiring students out there thinking of making animation a career, please consider carefully what you are getting yourself into.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-japan-anime-20100819,0,7946983.story

http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/working-for-free-again.html
http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/wage-story.html

http://vfxsoldier.wordpress.com/2010/06/22/the-vfx-outsourcing-boogeyman/
Below is a short excerpt from http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/aspiring-artists.html

"Yesterday a woman called me from Atlanta. She wanted to know about getting into the hand-drawn animation business in Los Angeles. She had her heart set on it. I told her:
"It's tight out here, there's lots of competition for just a few jobs and those we've got are taken by veterans with lots of production experience. You'd be really smart to stay where you are and not come."
But she's probably coming.
It's hard to dissuade people from their ambitions and aspirations. If you want to be a cartoonist, or writer, or tightrope walker, who am I to say the field is too full and the competition too stiff? There's that one in a thousand chance that you're the genius with the natural gift and work ethic that will knock everybody's socks off and you will be wonderfully successful.
Jaded as I am, I know there are times when following your passion is the best road to travel. Added to which, job opportunities rise and fall, and it's tough to predict whether a segment of any particular market will be roaring or foundering when you're ready to jump into it. (Could anybody have predicted the 'toon boom of the nineties in, say, 1985? That in 2010, animation would be a major driver in full-length movies? Could my predecessor in this job have forecast that the 700-member Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists over which he presided would morph into the 2900-member Animation Guild? Doubt it.)
The future is always unknowable. Even though it's a reasonably safe bet that hand-drawn animation will not be regaining the high-ground it held in 1994, and that a chunk of lower-tier animation work will be outsourced to low-cost providers, the market is ever-changing, and it's not insane for a twenty-something to chase after her dream job. (At that age she has the time and the opportunity, so why the hell not? My only advice would be to pursue your heart's desire in an area of art that is robust rather than fading.)
If you don't grab at that brass ring when it floats by, the chance to yank it free might never come again. No matter how long the chances."


Continue Part 2

1 comment:

  1. Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration - Thomas Edison

    $ = quality = profit / iteration & creativity = inspiration x iteration
    ∴ professional artists either time poor or money poor
    (iteration = determination = commitment)

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