Art is always held in high cultural esteem, yet only the best and most widely acclaimed retain any kind of longevity. The rest is quite literally disposable as any dumpster behind a library will happily attest to. Animation is no different than any other art, and just like them, the internet has brought about an even greater degree of disposable animation and produced a real struggle to create cartoons with any sense of quality, and timelessness.
As I prepare to produce a series of very short, er, shorts, I find my viewpoint of animation as an art and industry being forcibly changed. Not necessarily in a bad way mind you, but rather that it’s breadth and scope have changed as the reality of production becomes my greater focus. Here’s a few thoughts in no particular order.
The production of animated TV programs has never been greater. All three kids channels have full slates, numerous cable networks have their own shows, and FOX continues its long tradition of animated programming on Sunday nights. It’s a good time to be an optimist, yet it’s never been more important to be pessimistic about this sector of the business, because it’s about to go barrelling over a cliff.
In this month’s podcast, I chat with Helen Haswell. Helen is a PhD candidate at Queens University in Belfast, who’s area of research happens to be the merger of Disney and Pixar that took place back in 2006. We discuss that, and lots more in this episode. Just excuse the error in the opening; this is the third episode, not the fourth!
If the events of the last 15 years have taught us anything, it’s that young people in particular, really don’t give a damn about copyright. What it stands for, why it exists, and the purpose it serves are so lost on the youth that they often act as if it isn’t even real. Unfortunately for one upstart streaming website, the corporate parent of Nickelodeon begged to differ, and wasn’t afraid to sue to remind them either.
-+*Everyone can create, but should everyone create? Plenty of great ideas never get off the drawing board, and seemingly terrible ones manage to make it all the way…
-+*Yesterday, I was treated to a screening of an independent animated feature film called The Stressful Adventures of Boxhead and Roundhead. Written, directed and animated almost single-handedly by Australian Elliot Cowan, it’s a film that I’m still mulling over in my head the next day; a good sign if ever there was one. I’m not going to comment on the film itself just jet, however, the entire project has prompted some questions of my own on independent animated films in general and especially those done by one man bands or very small studios.
-+*Over on the Society for Animation Studies blog, Lauren Carr writes about what she perceives as a crisis in animation studies stemming mainly from a desire by students to simply learn the software tools rather than the technique and theory behind animation. If that’s true, then we are heading for an impending apocalypse in the field from which it will be very difficult to recover.
-+*In a brief, but all too painful and to-the-point post over on Tumblr, Keith Lango lays out what it means to create animation for mass consumption. It’s an…