Friday, February 29, 2008

When systems fall apart

Not the exact scene of carnage I witnessed yesterday morning but not far off. Someone in the studio had been working for days, alone, on some really old design that had been abandoned well before preproduction even began.

How this happened at all is baffling but the big deal is why it wasn't caught.

There is a production manager person in here who is meant to make sure that everyone has what they need, is kept up to date and should know who is doing what at any given moment. So it's hard to blame the person who was actually working away on stuff that is totally unusable. The system broke down.

It's quite a costly error because other animators were waiting for the work that was actually supposed to be done.

It brings home just how isolated people can be in a studio full of people. I remember thinking that myself when I started way back in the old days. It was just me and my scene. I felt totally disconnected from the process and had no idea what anyone else was doing. The director should be on top of things, as should the producer, but when they are getting fed information from someone who has lost track of the system, they have no real way of knowing until the work comes in incorrect.

Or someone comes in early and spots the drawings on a desk.


Mitch Leeuwe said...

Thanks for telling all this. I find it interesting.

Why are the people so isolated from each other? Don't they talk with each other about there work? Do they rely to much on the production manager?

I wish I could work in a team full of animators. Sharing ideas and thoughs sounds nice.

Bitter Animator said...

It is odd, Mitch. Now I don't know if it happens in every studio but in the ones I've been in, animators often seem to isolate themselves.

I mean, they'll chat and have fun and will often talk about animation, but rarely about what they are actually working on. Often the director has to gather people around to show who is doing what and if he doesn't do that nobody would ever know. It seems, when it comes to work, people just fall into a habit of keeping to themselves.

It doesn't make much sense as they could all get great advice and help from each other.

But I was the same when I started. I bugged the lead animator to get him to help me with my scenes but I didn't know what anyone else was doing. I was totally engrossed in my own scene.

So, if you're doing something wrong, you could be working on it for days before you find out. But the production manager (or equivalent position) should be checking up on what you're doing.