Notes From the Future of the Animation in Ontario @TAAFI
Good points were made. Here’s my take-aways:
The big three: Viacom, Disney and Warners now control the world wide taste and economy of children’s animation. They don’t want what they don’t own all rights to. They may give you a % of the net which is zero. This is a threat to independent animation production company owners. It becomes work for hire. (See the next paragraph.) The broadcasters have money buckets for: internal production, co-production and acquisition. The bucket is big for the first, shrinking for the latter.
Lip service was paid to the need for good writing. Writing and boarding budgets have constantly been cut in recent years and responsibilities for boarders in my experience are increasing. The economies of the industry are important to pay attention to but the work cannot be pushed further as artists are increasingly aware of the rights they are relinquishing and they resist giving their creative to production companies who will be forced to give their content to the broadcasters/ media corporations to profit from. Is it only enough to get a pay cheque while the mega corps reap the reward? My thoughts, not from the panel.
There seems to be a rise of the co-production. The euro is now at only a 20% premium.
Lots of talk about the need for talent esp. boarders. The choice of software at one time up to the boarder and now to help the production. A mention of a new Adobe product, but I can’t confirm this as yet. It may have been a reference to Adobe Story which at my last look, was more a writing and collaboration tool.
The wish of a writers school for animation was mentioned. It is important to note that the Writer’s Guild of Canada is trying to increase animation writers into their ranks. (See reduced cost.)
The online opportunities are growing but not sustaining for production companies at this time. The fact that Netflix is now commissioning live action was mentioned as was Annoying Orange’s big recent success on Cartoon Network. This is the future but how soon the future filters in is unclear.
There was a plea for “entertaining visual storytellers.”
It is heartening to hear Michael Hirsh still refer to his work as cartoons and that artists like Frank Falcone and George Elliot still seem to be drawing/animating.
Here’s my take-aways:
The decline in fees for licensing and DVD sales require a new model to make sales. The physical media still need to be paid attention to. The decline in collectors was mentioned but I see a rise of artists’ tables at fan-expos and such. These are of personal appearances where artists sign and sell collectables with their fans. But “attendance at festivals is good but expensive.”
The need to persevere. Resubmit the same proposal to grant and funding organizations. The juries change but the administration doesn’t. This is the opposite of festivals so the resubmission rule doesn’t apply.
The need to persevere too. The only way to rise your profile is to be constantly working on your own stuff. “Even if it’s ten minutes a day.”
Learn to code.
Put everything online. Now, most festivals do not require that they screen first. The new paradigm is that the festivals find the work online and ask the filmmaker to screen. Some filmmakers no longer chase festival submissions, just place their work up and grab festival screening if they are offered.
There has been a leveling of presentation with the implementation of digital projection. No longer does the expense of a 35mm print or Digi-Beta tape advantage the work.
The importance of Google Partnership program. By applying, you get advanced analytics to track your audience.
There is a lots of buzz about “22 Pixar Points of Storytelling” these days. If one looks deeper, the main points are also articulated by Alexander Mackendrick from CalArts in his collected lecture notes On Film-making. And he credits them back further.
I’ve also being reading Marilynne Robinson’s When I was a Child, I Read Books. In it, she discusses ideas of imitation and quotes Emerson in an address to the Harvard Divinity School on his concern on the state of preaching. (I read storytelling.)
“Let me admonish you first of all: to go alone: to refuse the good models, even those that are scared in the imagination of men, and dare to love God without mediator or veil. Friends enough you shall find who still hold up to your emulation Wesleys and Oberlins, Saints and Prophets. Thank God for these good models, but say, ‘I also am a man.’ Imitation cannot go above its model. The imitator dooms himself to hopeless mediocrity.”
So, we can follow the Pixar rules as they followed Mackendrick’s rules, and on and on, -good models all-but to truly advance, we need to find our own rules and way of preaching.
“Are there similarities between the film and wine businesses?
Definitely. The process is the same, with three stages. In film, you gather the source material. That’s the research or the story material or the writing. The gathering in wine is the gathering of the grapes. The second phase in film is, you take what you’ve gathered, which some days was good, some days was bad, and through the editing you assemble, just as in wine you taste the different lots and then you assemble what you think is the best wine. Then you have the third phase, which is the entire process of finishing, which in film is all the sound and mix and colour correction and finally taking it to the audience. In wine, it’s the same thing, the fining and the aging and the bottle aging and ultimately putting it into the package.”
From the Globe & Mail. Here.