22 November 2009

The Future of American Animation

Tooling around at the CTN Animation Expo in Burbank this weekend really inspired me to look again at the way I draw, how I get ideas- everything about the conference was very well put together. Except how small the venue was. There was a lot of interest and it was very crowded. Artists from everywhere- insane. There were a couple of studio unions around the same time, which brought Don Bluth and Gary Goldman into town.
If you don't know who these people are and you are in animation, then shame on you. Criticize, if you feel like it, a few of their projects. The fact is, they learned from brilliant talent in animation, and they themselves are considered in my business to be living legends.
I stood around watching his tutorials and finally got to introduce myself. He's a living caricature- broad forehead and skinny little nose. I mentioned maybe that I adored The Secret of NIMH as a child, and we used to play NIMH all the time. We were the rats and we would hide in the "rose bush." He laughed. He asked if I was working, so I told him. He asked the question:

Do you think there is a future for 2D animation in America?

God, I hope so. But lets face it. American animation is in a crisis. What happened, I don't know. I think what happened mostly is that we all lost the connection with the characters we work with. We (animators) are not emotionally involved with them as we should be. Lately, it seems people remember the writing more than the art. The animation on a certain network seems to be incidental. It relies on clever writing and the animation is more of a visual guide for the audience- so hurry up and get it done. How sad. We threw away decades of discovery. There are a few older guys left, and they are desperately preaching the same things. Maybe it's time to listen: No more s***y animation.
So I got a critique on my 3d animation from a 2d legend, he looked over my life drawings, and I got some good insight on how I should think about my drawing and my acting, and some new inspirations for my new projects. Exciting weekend- glad I got to attend.

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