The past month and a half or so has been nonstop busy.
The liberating thing though, is it’s not getting me down or anything.
I came to a realization about animation, things like that…
It should be something simple, like “well duh,” but something I’ve noticed with all the studios, the fans, etc, is that the studio attitude is giving fans what they think the fans want, and then the fans call the studios out for not giving them what they want at all.
The lynch pin in this is, there’s this cycle of dependency, of studios on audience, audience on studio, and in an established system, of course that’s going to happen. But the problem is, each sees the other as the end all. This is especially noticeable on the audience end, because that’s what you typically encounter on this site.
Seeing yet another post about Disney not including enough POC, making all the characters look the same, Dreamworks laying off workers, everyone gutting their 2D departments, resorting to sequels, and now even the sequels are underperforming, so the industry is in a severe state of flux…
My question is…why are we still looking to these places (and I say places, not people, because there are a lot of ways good talents are lost in these messes and I won’t disregard their skills) for validation? Why am I still looking to these places for validation?
Wanting to be a Disney animator is a hangup for many people, because you’re boxing yourself into a specific idea about what animation “has to be.”
I get why - I’m only in my 20s, I watched all the Disney films on videocassette, it encapsulated this magic and artistry and of course it influenced me. It’s easy to see that as the height of what animation can be. It is a height, as achieved by these particular artists, but the wonder of imagination, of true imagination, is pushing yourself, and looking beyond even that which you hold in the highest esteem.
"Shoot for the moon - even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars."
That’s an old saying, right?
The old ideas about art and animation…I’m not saying they’re dead, but I don’t know if they are being practiced in the studio system anymore. Disney has a legacy, but pretty much all of the artists who created that foundation are dead. It’s the same studio in name but not necessarily in content. I think people are going to…I think I’m going to have to realize that the studio I wanted doesn’t exist anymore. There’s a new house style and system, which may be fine in it’s way, but I don’t know if it does it for me.
I’ve wondered if it was just me growing up, if it took longer to “outgrow cartoons” than my other peers, if all of my proclamations of glory were just tempered by nostalgia. But in the past year or two, I’ve taken it upon myself to reach further into animation history, some of which of course involves seeing films I’ve never seen before. And I still love animation. And that difference is still there. How could it not be? It was a different time!
The thing I’m not going to allow myself to do is lament the loss of this art form. How in the world can I hope to aspire to make great things if everyone’s telling me the best is already behind me?
There’s this divide between the purists and the futurists, but it’s severely lacking in grey areas. I think history should be learned from, should inspire, and I also don’t think progress is bad. I love animating in Flash! I love just being able to play back my timing instantly! Yet I have a stylistic ideology that predates my life! And I have to keep checking myself, because dangit, I don’t want to never grow and develop, and just draw the same thing forever.
The short version (if it’s possible) is that I can’t rely on an already very unsteady institution structure to produce the kind of content I want to see. I can’t just be one of the people waiting for someone else to pick up the slack.
I’m going to have to do it.
Me, and other people who feel the same.
And jeez that’s going to be hard.
But I can’t do any less!