Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 round-up? Let's try a whole life

I was going to attempt a 2008 round-up but my memory is so poor it seemed like too great a challenge. When I tried it, well, this happened. My whole life story was pieced together in several seconds. Only one memory really belonged to 2008.

It's kind of sad when you can condense your entire life into one small blog image. But I guess, now that I've done it, it might serve as an introduction to anyone who happens to pass by my blog over the next few days.

I lost control in 2008. I also lost touch with a lot of the world. Didn't return calls, texts, emails. Not that I get a huge amount but I went a little underground, especially towards the end of the year. I started living with my only goal being day to day survival. That's not enough. Not for me.

Hey, perhaps this round-up is going to happen after all...

Okay, I'll go for it. Here's some stuff I liked and hated in 2008. See if you agree.

Best World Event: McCain Losing The US Election. I don't know if Obama is going to be fantastic, hence the negative slant on the event itself. But I can be pretty damn sure that an old guy who has been psychologically damaged by years of torture, backed up by a woman who makes the current US President seem smart was not going to be great for those of us in the rest of the world.

Favourite Film: The Dark Knight. I saw very few films in 2008 (part of the going underground thing) but this one exceeded my expectations. A great crime movie. A little removed from Batman, however. I almost think this film could have been even better without a guy in a rubber bat suit and just some hard-ass cops instead.

Favourite Television Show: King Of Queens reruns. Hey, I make my own rules with this round-up. I love sitcoms. Like, adore them. I think they are much more clever than most people give them credit for and they are like the perfect form of television - short bouts of light, easy viewing and perfect escapism. King Of Queens is one of those that gets better with each viewing. Kevin James and Jerry Stiller are fantastic comic actors and just make me laugh. John K often compares cartoon acting to live-action acting. I think he'd get a lot from those two.

Favourite Album: The Dears, Missiles. Yeah, I mentioned this before. I love it.

Most Used Item Of 2008: iPod Touch. This thing is the future. I mean, look at those bulky tricorders on Star Trek. With an item much smaller, I can hold a whole crate of LPs, a bunch of colour television shows and (wi-fi permitting) I can access information on anything all over the world, contact just about anyone, debate serious issues with other concerned citizens (mostly about animation and games), find out the weather and more. It hasn't left my pocket since the end of 2007.

Best Game: Gears Of War 2. There may well be better than this but I played it fairly recently and my memory doesn't allow more than a few experiences to stay there at any one time.

Worst Game: Metal Gear Solid 4. Okay so it may not be the worst experience out there but it's barely a game! Barely a game! And it's certainly not a great movie. So what is it?

Game That I Thought Initially Was Stunning But Then Grew To Dislike: Little Big Planet. Love the presentation, the music, the VO by Stephen Fry. Adored it early on. But the dodgy physics-based gameplay and weird plane auto-selection killed it for me and I realised the game just wasn't anywhere near as good as I thought. The level creation is a huge part of it but, if I don't like the main play system, why would I spend time on that?

Favourite Animal Of 2008: Zebra. Okay, I'm running out of categories here, aren't I? It's that failing memory. But, hey, zebra... they're cool, right? Like horses, only with stripes. Fantastic.

Worst Pain In My Ass Of 2008: Those Negotiations. Yeah, those negotiations I referred to a while back are ongoing. Basically, they're about my involvement in a project that could be great but people above me are determined to destroy. When I'm ready to throw in the towel on what could be one of the best projects of my life, especially in a time of recession, that must mean I'm really pissed off. It also means I care. More than they do.

I can't even remember the other things that pissed me off this year. That's not a good sign.

Anyway, almost over now. A fairly arbitrary calendar date is going to allow me the illusion of a fresh start. And I'm going to take the chance. A new approach for 2009. I don't quite know what it is yet but I know one major part of it and I'll tell you right now what it is -

I am no longer in animation. I am in children's programming.

I'll go into this in more detail at some point but, where the industry and the world is now, animation as a craft is dying. There are some great people learning and holding on to the skills, and I admire them, but it's like learning Latin. It may help you once or twice in your life but, really, it's a long time learning a dead language. It's unlikely that I'll get the time or budget to put my animation skills to good use and produce a piece of really amazing animation.

But, that doesn't mean I can't make a great show for children. There is much more to making a show or film than simply the medium it is produced in. That's only a small part of it. In the current climate, there is still no reason whatsoever why I can't be part of some fantastic children's programming.

So the difference at first is merely a label change. But I think it will be a move in a more postive direction. A move from beating my head against a wall (trying to produce quality animation in a world that doesn't allow for it) to positively contributing to the lives of children by helping create fun, good and enriching television. If they're going to sit in front of that thing, it may as well be something good, right?



Lisa G said...

Congratulations on your new direction...and I so agree on the Dark Knight!

Mr. Trombley said...

Dear Sir,

Greetings from the frozen west! I'm on a dodgy connection, so I apologize if something goes wrong.

Good luck with your upcoming show! I can't wait for the day that I am watching TV with Mia and I recognize something that is unmistakeably yours.

Speaking of Sit-Coms, I always thought Jerry Stiller and Danny DeVito should do a buddy cop show. Not murders though, everyday stuff. An old friend of mine used to drive the criminals too bad for the local jail up to the big one in a big armored car. He reminded me of a taller Danny DeVito. I just think it would work perfectly.

susan said...

Hello Mr. Animator,

Happy New Year to you too. First of all the cartoon you have is pretty astute- I could relate especially the twenties thing.

Will take your opinion on the ipod touch. I love my old ipod 30G black with video.

Agree with the King of Queens, Jerry Stiller whether on this show or Seinfeld was brilliant. I also like the wife.

I understand about animation- in theory. I cannot draw worth s**t in real life, but I spent years writing, editing, ghost writing and news writing. I made very very good money. The market has just about dried up for this- no one buys books anymore, no one needs editors, no one needs news writers. It's hard to reinvent yourself.

Children is a good thing There will always be children.....and watching them smile is so wonderful. (Not a mother btw,, but I love my nephew).

Andy Latham said...

Happy New Year! I hope 2009 proves to be less depressing for you, even if just a little bit!

I also hope you find a way to make the great kids' shows you want to, whilst still keeping the animator alive in you. Whether it's a dying art or not, it will die all the quicker if people give up trying :)

Again, wishing you all the best for another year!

Red Pill Junkie said...

Happy 2009, Bitter! Only 3 more years 'til 2012 and the End of the World according to the Mayas ;-)

I think that you trying to diversify your career towards children programming is really intelligent. Nowadays the craftsman specializing in just one thing is bound to follow the was of the dodo. Best of luck in your future projects.

I also find very interesting—and positive from you—tht you don't mention the Economy in your Best & Worst list of 2008. I think that's a very healthy thing to do: forget about those Economist bastards who are relishing on their new scaremongering job they took from the Enviromentalists :-)

Man, I would love to have an Ipod Touch. I have a shitty 4gb 2nd gen. Ipod that I would love to replace, but every time I have a little extra cash to burn, something always happens (either a flat tire or a dentist appointment), so I better hang on to what's left of my Xmas bonus until I can fairly assess the situation on January.

Harriet said...

Congratulations and best of luck in your new career! I love children, I've been working with them for about 10 years now - they can be very cool. Sometimes I wish I was a kid, although I'd like to be a normal kid instead of the weird outcast type of kid that I was when I was a kid.