Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Animation Panel Discussion

I just got back from a lecture on "The State of New York Animation." It was more on the state of independent feature length animation more than a regional thing, which was fine by me. It was nice to see the place packed, in fact many of us were sitting on the floor in front and up the the aisles.

A few random notes from the evening:

On where to get funding/started:
Like illustration, there does not seem to be any one way to get a career moving. Each panelist had their own story. They all stressed getting yourself out in front of producers. Tatia Rosenthal had the best statement all night, "It's not so much who you go to, but how much you put into your work."

On loving what you are working on:
Emily Hubley stressed creating projects you really care for, "You have to make something that will interest you for the duration." Many of these movies are nearly a decade in the making. Bill Plymton alluded to that sentiment early in the evening when he mentioned spending a lot of time and money creating what, he thought, would be his big break-out success. It got a luke warm reception. After that, he decided to stick to his own darker, more internal, sensibilities and, of course, that movie is receiving great attention.

On following your artistic goals:
Hubley, "You can be the crazy person that talks about the movie you never made, or you can be the crazy person that talks about the movie you did make." Rosenthal, "I had no idea how hard it would be, which made it easy to start."

On building an audience for independent animation:
Plympton, "It's an exploding star. Animation is in a second golden age." He went on to talk about the variety of animation widely accessible nowadays -- Pixar digital, Miyazaki and Peresopolis hand drawn, Nick Park's stop motion, etc. I forget who said it but the conversation went back to creating films that excite you and letting that passion reach out to an audience that will love them. Obviously the Internet broadens accessibility exponentially.

Amid Amidi talked about the simple fact that the more variety people are offered the more they will crave different kinds of films. "If all you have is an apple tree, you're happy eating apples. If you are offered a cornucopia of fruits......" I got a personal chuckle from that, since I have heard my boss give that exact same speech, ohhhh, maybe one thousand times. Except my boss uses ketchup and horseradish (or some other kitchen condiment) as the example.

On magic bullets:
Someone in the audience asked what software is best to use. Michael Sporn said, "Anything. They all work." He then went on to say the only way to make films is to watch movies, and watch movies, and watch them again. Frame by frame. In other words, know your craft and know the history of your craft.

On Censorship:
Plympton, "Blockbuster cut four sex scenes out of one of my movies. None of the violence, of course."

And, that's about all I can remember.

I ran into Bryan Beus on the way in - apparently my tweet lured him in. Always nice to see Twitterettes in the real world.

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