Monday, July 7, 2008

Directors are people too

I remember years ago, when I first started out, I was animating on a really crappy feature film. I had nothing but contempt for the animation director (the actual director of the movie was nowhere to be seen ever). I figured the animation director was an idiot. For a start, his drawings were shit. He drew me a rough pose for a dog that looked like some sort of crappy rodent. With five legs. And, when people asked him questions, nine times out of ten he basically said just figure it out. It was like he didn't care.

I saw nothing that showed he earned that job. I didn't respect him.

Years later, I was in one particular place for quite some time. I saw an animator work his way up, animating for other people and then moving on to directing short films and so on. He was pretty good. Not fantastic but well capable of doing what he was doing.

And then a new guy joined the studio. A young animator. He seemed to take instruction from this director reluctantly and I couldn't really figure it out. Then, when things were tight on a project, the director jumped on to animation, something he hadn't done in a while. He sketched out a scene and, of course, it worked really well. When he saw it, the young animator said he now could respect the director. He saw his animation, saw he had some talent.

And I was left thinking - what an asshole. He didn't give him credit for being able to do his job. Didn't think that perhaps he had worked for that. That he had earned the position. Like that director had to prove himself to every student animator who walked in the door.

I knew how much work that director had to do. I knew the pressure he was under from the producers. I knew that he had about a thousand decisions to make each day. I also knew he trusted most of his team to do their parts. Direction, being an animation director or similar, is a seriously tough job. It's far easier to just sit there and animate the scenes handed to us, like most of us do. And yet, as a young animator, I completely assumed the director was inept.

The simple fact that someone can hold a position like that should give them the respect. And, most of the time, they've earned it.

But I've also learned that, often, our frustrations are their frustrations. Only more so because they have to argue with producers about them.

Directors are people too.

1 comment:

donnachada said...

Thanks for dropping by and leaving the comment. I really appreciate it. Glad you could see the image. That made me really happy.