Monday, February 16, 2009

You see, that's not actually a show


With the panic turned up to 11 and people knowing they're likely going to be out of a job in a week or so, with the world being what it is, people are trying to evaluate where they are, what they've got and what they're going to do. And some of those people think they're going to go off and, in about three weeks time, they'll have a show on air.

They won't.

It takes a special kind of person to create a show. I mean a decent show. Even a half-decent show. It takes creativity for one thing.

But a massive amount of creative people think they have a show. But they don't. Often, they'll have a funny drawing. Perhaps many funny drawings. Maybe even a scene. Or, in a bizarrely huge amount of cases, just a walk cycle. Often, these things come from exceptionally talented people. People capable of work that puts them in a whole different artistic realm.

But they don't have shows.

See, what many people in animation and artistic positions don't seem to fully realise is that being a creator, putting together an actual workable show concept, requires a different kind of brain. A brain that many creative people just don't have. It's a brain that is in conflict. A brain that is as much the brain of a producer as it is the brain of an artist. Probably more so actually as the producer side has to be able to reign in the artist, make him see reason, make him understand the realities of the business world and, importantly, make him stop pricking about with walk cycles and force him to make an actual proposal.

I realise I'm totally generalising here but it seems that the more artistically talented someone is, the further away they are from being this type of person. Unfair? Perhaps but I'm just going from observation here. Fantastic artists are often volitile, have spent so many hours honing their craft that they are a little out of touch with the world, they get lost in details and can't see the big picture and, for some of them, words are their enemy, not their friend. That's often part and parcel of what makes them such great artists.

But it also prevents them from having that producer brain.

So what's the point of my post? Emmm... not quite sure. I think it's that we artists often spend a lot of time looking at shows and thinking, how the hell did that get on the air?! We could do better than that! And, for many aspects of shows, we could. But making that leap from artist to having an actual show is often just too great.

If you're in a studio and you see an average artist, aguy who you see writing in a notebook as much as you see him drawing in it, a guy who's reading books that have as much text as it has pictures, a guy who balances his time so, while he's not producing work as good as you, he's getting it all done and approved on time, a guy who takes an interest in a production beyond the artwork, keep an eye on him.

He could be the one to get a show off the ground. And, if you're one of those excellent volitile artists, stick to him. Because, if he has any sense (and if he gets a show off the ground, there's a good chance he does), he'll want people who are more talented them him in important roles.

And, if you're in a studio and you really want to make a show, well, stop pricking about with walk cycles and go put together a good proposal.

As for me... I don't know what brain I've got. I can't even be sure I have one.

4 comments:

sephim said...

At least they're not creating another Drawn Together, the Meet The Spartans of animation.

Mr. Trombley said...

Dear Sir,

A friend of mine is a ca salesman. His boss, the owner of the dealership, employs a man (actually, for all I know, it might be a lady) who does all the bookkeeping in the place. Every decision is run by her first, she makes the projections and presents the options. He (or she) practically run the place!

When I first heard this story I wondered "Why doesn't she just start her own dealership?" I mean, then she would make more money, right? But then I started thinking like an actuary. Looking at the risks.

I realized that she (or he) has the benefits of running the business with severely reduced risk! The owner of the Lot is risking his whole life running the place. Everything he owns he owes to it. And her (him)? She's (He's) risking a steady job. With her experience and education she can go anywhere in the world (and I mean literally anywhere they use the arabic numerals) and get a good job.

And that's true for everybody! What stops, say, you from starting an animation company? That it's a stupid idea! That you'd risk everything in your life on something you have not the time, the training, nor the inclination for.

I don't quite know what I'm going for here, but it seemed related.

Red Pill Junkie said...

I suppose I agree with your premise. Take me for instance: Several years ago I tried to create a partnership with a girl who owned a little furniture store; the idea was that, being the incredible talented person that I am (yeah, right) I would be able to design and produce furniture pieces that she later would sell.

The thing is that, 6 months later, I was only able to sell one lousy furniture piece, even though many people came to her store and complimented my work—they only seem not to like it enough to buy it, apparently :(

So yes, I've always known I don't have a business-oriented mind. In fact, even though it would make great sense for my professional career, I wouldn't be able to study a MBA because I would surely die... of boredom. My plan has always been to find a partner who is business-savvy and has the people skills I sorely lack, so that would free me from concentrating into the designing part of the deal; but alas I'm still looking for such a person. And even if I do find him/her, it will be very tricky to find the right balance between our respective co-dependency—i.e. that none of us take the whole credit.

It really bugs me that we live in a world where a person who comes up with an idea is not entitled to earn more than the person who merely administers that idea; but the sad truth is that, without a good business projection, ideas in themselves are worthless :-(

kyle b said...

good post BA!