Why do People Continue to Offer Up Excuses?

The rise in popularity in using technology for animation has brought about a subsequent explosion in creative output. For decades, animation was the preserve of a few who had the right resources and location to do it. That’s all changed though, and while today anyone can create, produce, and distribute animated content, many offer only excuses as to why they’re efforts do not produce results.

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As I prepare to produce a series of shorts, it’s become clear that the same stumbling blocks that others have encountered, I also must overcome. Naturally time, money, and enthusiasm all play a role. but it wasn’t until I read this list of free animation software over on the NYFA blog, did it dawn on me that many obstacles are illusionary, and self-inflicted.

Although the amount of free animation software is not nearly as developed, or as popular as I would like (see this post), it’s nonetheless come a long way in recent times, and if Blender is any indication, it can only get better. Despite this though, many animators complain about having to purchase expensive pieces of software, and often use it as a crutch or excuse for not advancing their own projects. The NYFA post illustrates just how many options are available to animators and artists if they are willing and able to seek them out and exploit them.

I look at someone like Elliot Cowan, who completed an entire feature film almost by himself (here’s my review), and I see a lot of things evident in him, that are missing in many others. The usual clichés like vision, dedication, determination, and pragmatism are all present, but in conversing with Elliot and hearing him talk about how he made his film, it’s clear that actions count far more than words.

In focusing the lens back upon myself, I ask myself how can I use his experiences to my own advantage? What lessons can I learn and implement? What mistakes can I avoid?

I sometimes wonder if other creators contemplate such matters. You see plenty of students and young artists craving for advice and critique in regards to their art, but rarely, oh so rarely, do you hear them ask about what mistakes did someone else make, or how their artistic hero screwed up that one time. This is partly human nature; you always hear about how the winners win, never how the losers lose. This is despite the fact that lessons learned from mistakes are far more valuable.

To put all of this into perspective, artists and creators need to stop making excuses. Like the NYFA post outlines, the tools are absolutely there for everyone to use. Whether you are capable of doing so is almost entirely up to you; just don’t make excuses to cover up your own lack of drive.

12 Comments on “Why do People Continue to Offer Up Excuses?

  1. “I sometimes wonder if other creators contemplate such matters.”

    Few people “contemplate” anything these days. It’s easier to just read tutorials online or watch Netflix. I’m not judging that, it’s simply the truth. Easy has won out over difficult in our world.

    “many obstacles are illusionary, and self-inflicted.”

    Pretty much all obstacles are illusionary and self-inflicted. Anything we let get in our way, WE let get in our way. Even giant things that at face value seem very real and outside-inflicted. Everything is internal, and dependent on our own expectations and reactions. If you get a flat tire, you can blame the nail you ran over, or your choice to take that road instead of another, or the tire manufacturer for not making it stronger, or the guy who dropped the nail on the sidewalk or the little kid who kicked it into the street. But what if you didn’t blame any of them? What if it simply was a thing that happened and then you moved on, better than before? What would the world be like if we didn’t let the illusions control us?

    “lessons learned from mistakes are far more valuable.”

    Once you truly understand that very statement, the entire world opens up. Few embrace such wisdom as what you’ve just written there.

    The subject of this article teeters on the edge of a depth many people ignore as they sleepwalk through life. You’ll forgive me if my comment posted here leaps off that edge and into the great unknown. Feel free to ignore it. 🙂

  2. In addition to free animation software it’s also worth mentioning Dropbox, Skype, and Basecamp. I work on lots of animated projects, coordinating work between animators and clients and use these three tools on a daily basis.

    Not only has it never been easier to create animation, but it’s never been easier to connect with other artists and make it together!

  3. Interesting read. I could use that link to the NYFA page. I’ve searched for those kinds of programs in the past and never saw that page before.

    I think most of the problem goes to the fact that so many people get into animation without realizing the time and effort involved. I’ve tried to make animations in the past using MS Paint, GIMP, and Movie Maker, and it’s hard enough to give you a greater appreciation of the art form.

    Of those, I’ve tried Pencil and Blender in the past. I’ll tell you the first time I used Blender, it intimidated the hell out of me. It took me half a year before I made one good model with it.

    People who are serious about animation just need to put down both the time and effort to see them through the learning curve of a new program or the challenges of a particular project. I’ve been limited by time, but not by resources thanks to great free programs and articles like this which put everything into perspective.

    • Time is by far the biggest obstacle, but it’s also the biggest excuse. Nobody has as much as they’d like, but I definitely discovered during my MBA, that if you prioritise something enough, it WILL get done. Something will never be completed unless it really means that much to you, and unfortunately, as much as people say their short film means a lot to them, until they finish one, it’s just empty words.

  4. Great post, for those looking for Pencil (the link on the article don’t work anymore) It’s have been updated and moved to here [ http://www.pencil2d.org/ ].

    “just don’t make excuses to cover up your own lack of drive.” – Enough said…now back to the drawing table i go.

  5. I’m a bit of a weirdo on this topic, but I think there might be something going on that has to do with computers being the primary means of creative production now. I find it harder to get lost in the flow of work when I’m on the computer; harder to visualize creatively; harder to give careful thought to what I’m doing; more easily frustrated and distracted. I know not everybody feels this way, but I think it might be a factor for some people.

    • When distractions are just a click away, they’re very hard to ignore. I know there are plenty of times when I need to step away from the screen and focus on the real world. It’s partly why I use a typewriter sometimes; it’s just you and your thoughts!

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