Earlier this week, Noah Bradley published a piece concerning the astonishingly low wages that many artists endure. Although raising valid points, he neglects to address the multitude of factors that help create and sustain such a scenario.
Fans and fandoms are recurring themes here on the blog, and for good reason. They form an essential, and ever more critical part of a successful cartoon or animated feature. They are marketers, advocates, customers, and above all, appreciative individuals. However, fans have long been held at length by studios, and for good reason as the latest Steven Universe drama unfolds.
The third feature-length film centered on the Equestria Girls spin-off from My Little Pony is about to be released on home video and, well, I have conflicted feelings about it.
How can animation be even remotely similar to opening a restaurant? One is extremely risky, is enormously susceptible to changing tastes, is faced with intense competition and….well, I suppose they’re not so different after all, are they? So if you’re producing animated content, what lessons can you learn from a restaurant and can you use them to drive success?
It took long enough, but animation is just about everywhere you, and (among younger generations at least), is immensely popular. Many have long looked with envy at Japan with its ubiquitous anime and pined for a similar scenario in western markets. Their prayers may have been answered, but the reality is far from expectations. Animation has become a commodity, and with that it has lost its special place in the minds of consumers and fans alike. The question is, what happens now, and where does the industry go from here?
Seems like ages ago that everyone was gushing over Pixar’s latest hit, doesn’t it?
Now Minions is the movie on everyone’s lips. The hit of the land! A tremendous opening weekend! Almost $400,000,000 grossed worldwide!!! Illumination/Universal does it yet again! Can nothing stop them???
Wait, what’s that you say?
They’re working on a Wreck-It-Ralph sequel!?*
Well if they don’t call it Super Wreck-It-Ralph someone should be fired.†
† As quipped by Redditor /u/lpjunior999
Frozen contributed to my disillusionment with animation last year.
Inside Out is the catalyst this time around.
The cranial dynamo ran out of steam, and it’s no easy task to get it spinning again.
Ideally you shouldn’t have to start rebuilding a passion from scratch, and yet here we are.
With that in mind, the focus now is on creating something new, and in order to do that, you can’t focus on the old.
This week saw the announcement of not one, but three reboots to popular old shows. The Powerpuff Girls are being trotted out again, ReBoot gets well, rebooted, and even the Three Stooges refuse to die with a new animated show in the works. It’s all too much for me to bear!
If the thirteen episodes mentioned in the title seems a bit short, just imagine how the Simpsons would be viewed today if the original order was all that was made. Would it still be viewed as a classic, or be relegated to a footnote of television history? Regardless of what would have happened 25 years ago, the future is pointing inexorably towards series runs of a predetermined length and story structure.
Great TV is everywhere nowadays, at least that what everyone is telling me. Creators are pushing boundaries, genres are being stretched, and cultural barriers are falling. If only it were all true! Great TV is like Punk Rock in more ways than one, and what is on our screens nowadays isn’t inspiring me to get a leather jacket, or a mohawk.