Friday, April 24, 2009

Because I have nothing better to do

People have a habit of asking for things they don't need. Often under the guise that someone else who doesn't need it, needs it.

They don't. Need it, I mean.

This has happened all through my career. Animation tests when it is blindingly obvious from my showreel what the level of my ability is, ridiculous amounts of expected pitch material to win a ten second ad that won't pay a week's wages and then all kinds of lunacy to help clients 'visualise' because their imaginations died that one Christmas night when they saw who was actually putting the presents under the tree.

For a project I was looking at recently, it was suggested to me that I create animated storyboards for the entire project. All one and a half hours of it. You know, just knock them up. Because, like, that's just the way we do things. A couple of sketches and a good night's sleep and, next morning, BAM, a whole animatic. Don't worry that the script isn't even in first draft stage because, when we finalise it, we can do them all over again.

People just ask for things they don't need.

Why is that? Do they just like having stuff? Things they didn't have the day before? Do they feel they need for a constant stream of arbitrary requests to justify their salary?

I honestly don't know.

But it occurred to me while thinking of that that I have survived in my career precisely by not doing things I don't have to. I get things done on time and on budget by making sure none of my time is taken up doing things that won't ever matter. When I'm more heavily involved in a project, I try to make sure that every penny of the production makes it on to the screen. And I do that by not pissing it away doing things people will never see and will not make a damn bit of difference to the end product.

Maybe I should be applying this way of thinking to my own life. My own recession budgeting. What do I actually need? What will actually make a difference up there on to the screen that is my whole life?

Perhaps that's something I need to think about.


Andy Latham said...

I think we could all think about that.

It's the same here. We do loads of things noone needs to see. What's worse is we show them things for approval, but do the animation anyway just in the hope they do approve.

We even deal with people whose job it is to decide what another set of people need to see.

Red Pill Junkie said...

"[...]because their imaginations died that one Christmas night when they saw who was actually putting the presents under the tree."That would be Santa Claus, so what's your point?


This reminds me of that time many years ago when I fought to have a career in animation. This guy who was kind of a mediocre actor/director came to us in the ope of creating an animation project, where the main character would be based on her own daughter; it would be about ecology and conservation of the oceans, so there would be sharks and turtles and fun stuff to do. It sounded like a fun thing to do.

BUT... he started asking for all sorts of things: a walking cycle of the main character (who wasn't even designed yet); storyboards and scripts; backgrounds and character designs; and of course he wouldn't pay for any of that because why he would have to pay for a project that might not get the green light, right?

That's the sort of thing that made our little startup studio go belly-up :-(

Re. the looking to cut off things we don't really need, I hear you. I'm craving to buy a laptop right now, but know that I don't desperately need it since my home desktop PC works just fine; I think a part of me thinks that buying a new toy will cheer me up, but the thought of having yet another debt is stressing, so... holding up for the moment.

Andy Latham said...

Interesting thing Red Pill brought up there....why do we think spending money will make us feel better?

I do that all the time, and I often instantly regret it.

Bitter Animator said...

Well I guess they call it retail therapy for a reason. Yeah, buying something new can definitely give me a buzz but, like you say, it can often come with buyer's remorse when the novelty wears off and, importantly, I realise how much I have spent.

I wonder if it is some sort of psychological conflict with the concept of money. When we were hunters, we would get the satisfaction of a kill, we'd get to eat and then probably have a good sleep afterwards. We would have a clear sense of reward and our primitive minds would have no problem processing that.

Now, we work for money. It defines our worth and our security. But money is a totally abstract concept. So maybe we need to convert that money to something more substantial to really feel rewarded. Worth.

But then we know that, by doing that, we're actually giving the source of that security away and are left with less of our reward for the work we do.

It's a conflict.

Red Pill Junkie said...

I think you nailed it there. Our money is now electrons flying round the wires between banks. Sometimes we need something tangible that reinforces our belief that we have some security.

Also, all the publicity bombarding our eye balls every minute of our waking like.

Being under a bit of paranoia at the moment. Pandemic alert around here and all that... did that bloke just coughed? Oh oh @_@