Monday, May 18, 2009


This is something that has been on and off for quite some time. I think I may have even blogged about it at some point but I've long forgotten. I probably meant to but didn't.

At some point, it's time to give up.

I'm right, aren't I?

It has to be true for many of us. Most of us. We have some things we want to do but, at some point, many of us have to accept we're not going to get to do those things.

It sounds bad but maybe it isn't.
That searching, those endless knocks, the criticism, the failures - they're not good for you. How could they be? Maybe just accepting that some things just aren't going to happen will allow me to let go of so many disappointments, stop me wasting large chunks of my life. At the beginning of last year (or was it the end of the year before?), I sent out a load of submissions for a project that I had worked long and hard on. I had a 100% failure rate. Stock rejection letters one after another.

What did I gain from that?

More recently, I spent many months on a screenplay. I sent the draft off quite some time ago and have heard nothing. Now, if there was good news, you can be sure I'd have heard it. Did I throw away those months? Even if there is good news, what that good news would be is the tiniest of tiny steps forward, possibly adding on considerably more work before the inevitable happens.

Most of us in any sort of creative field have goals and goals. So many, often very different. And I'm finding myself a complete failure at many of them. And that process of working so hard and then not getting results is killing me.

And yet, right now, I'm doing something else. Something I've done before. Working on a show for very young children - not animating. Writing. And I like it. More than that, I'm good at it. I care about it and I'm in a field where so few do. Maybe I should just finally accept that that is what I do and let go of the rest? Let those other dreams die.

Actually I did blog about this before. I've found it here in this post. Last September. I wrote "it's a bit like those claw machines right now. So many things to grab and yet those stupid claws are utterly useless. I'm getting old. I'm seriously thinking of letting go of the claw machine and playing a bit of Street Fighter instead."

Is it time I finally did that? Let go of that poxy claw machine thingy and go and play Street Fighter?

Not SF IV. I mean back when it was good.


Andy Latham said...

I'm terrified of letting go of any of my dreams. I don't know why. As you say, it might be a good thing.

I think I'm scared that I won't attain ANY of my dreams, so letting one go is one step closer to that. I have yet to find the thing that I'm best at in the way that you find you are best at writing for kids shows.

The scary thing is that to reach a dream, you tend not to have to just find what you are best at, but you have to be better at it than most other people. I'm sure as hell not there yet!

AnonymousGerbil said...

Man without dreams is man without hope.

What there is left if you give up all your dreams? Very little.

Purpose of the dreams is not that you gain them all, no one does, but they keep you going.

Dreams give you a reason to aim on something. Even if you fall short from that goal, atleast you tried...

To reach your dreams and fulfill them. If it would be easy, you would not value them because then you would not have made any sacrifices because of them.

How do I know? I gave up my dreams years ago, there's nothing anymore. Days go by, I lurk in net like a ghost, acomplish nothing and just wait for the inevitable, oblivion...

Red Pill Junkie said...

I agree with AnonymousGerbil. I stopped making New Year's resolutions a long time ago, tired that I never accomplished them. I feel dead inside most of the time.

"Aim for the stars. If you fail, you've least reach the Moon". I don't remember who said that.

Did you watch the movie 'Benjamin Button'? I cried at the final scene of Tilda Swinton's character.

I also would recommend you to read Paulo Coehlo's 'The Alchemist'. It's a bit corny, but it's right on the target when it comes to the topic of fighting to reach your dream.

Bitter Animator said...

I don't know. If you aim for the stars, you just have further to fall. I'm not saying I'll give up every dream.

But I spend so much time doing things that get me nowhere. That leads to being told over and over that I'm not good enough. Or I beat myself up over all those things I haven't done.

I spend so much time looking in vain for those things I don't have.

And maybe that's preventing me from seeing what I do have. Enjoying just what life has to offer right now. If my only dreams were a cold beer and a tub of ice cream, I'd be a happy man.

Bitter Animator said...

Oh, and no I haven't yet seen Benjamin Button. I must get it.

Red Pill Junkie said...

While you're at the video club, you should also rent 'City Slickers' ;-)

AnonymousGerbil said...

Things like what?

What I learned was - without dreams there is no reason to do things. And without reasons one acomplish nothing. It's endless circle of evil and there seem to be no way out.

Live like that too long, and maybe you can't even come up new dreams because you start to question "why?" for any goal on life.

I fell for that trap years ago, probably a half a decade ago, I can't remember when exactly because time loses its meaning.

At first it was nice. Life was simple and cold beer was that "heaven". But one can live like that only for so long. Now I can't even recall when I last time actually enjoyed about anything. And all that because nothing matters anymore.

Stick to your dreams and reach for them, without trying you can't succeed.

Anyway, your drawings are excellent, I've been lurking here and checking them now and then some while now.

Anonymous said...

The challenge you face with regards to screenwriting, television production, etc. is that everyone in those fields must ultimately beg the "gatekeepers" for permission to achieve their dream.

Your dreams are too important to let others decide their fate.You can write, you can animate and you know Flash. Throw a day-job on top of that (so your dream project isn't a slave to finance)and it makes you pretty much unstoppable. In the digital age a technologically proficient artist is God.

One of my favorite quotes (I don't know where it originates):
"Spend the next 6 months doing what most people aren't willing to do and you can spend the rest of your life doing what most people can't afford to do."

Forget the gatekeepers and think entrepreneurial. Launch your series online and build an audience. If you are at all successful the gatekeepers will come to you, and you will have more leverage for it. You will be meeting as an equal (original IP is gold) not as a serf begging for an opportunity.

Mr. Trombley said...

Dear Sir,

I suppose the ultimate fruition of the Claw Machine-Street Fighter metaphor is that you're losing because you're playing a rigged game.

In fact, a lot of the time it seems that all the games are rigged, just in there own way. Street Fighter doesn't have an AI smart enough to beat you, it cheats. Sort of. I guess you could say you're cheating with your big human brain.

Anyway, I suppose you must be doing the right thing. You don't even mention other options after all. I suppose you must have weighed everything. If I may spout a vapid homily on the previous metaphor, just because you've chosen the lightest load doesn't mean it won't be heavy.

And hey, look at Sophocles. He didn't do crap until he was like 60. So you're already ahead of him.

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, if you're ever looking to raise a little extra money I think there are more than a few of us who would gladly shell out $10 - $30 bucks for some Quicktime lessons ( style) on how you really do Flash animation for broadcast.

You did a blog post on it (real-world animation method) last year and as I recall it was a popular post. Just a thought.

Bitter Animator said...

Thanks, Bwakathaboom. That's certainly something to think about, although I'm not sure any advice I'd have would be worth $10!

Though I may well add more on the blog about our animation methods and what goes on in a studio that works with Flash.

susan said...


Funny this post. I have been working on a similar piece for over a month, slowly, because it's hard to write about. You did it so eloquently here.

I just keep thinking of "Ruby Tuesday". - "Loose your dreams and you will loose your mind".

You gotta keep dreaming and you do it so well in your element, with your drawings- and your writing.

As for the post about the claw, it had a Teddy in there. I wish I could send you a big old Vermont Teddy Bear.

Red Pill Junkie said...

This article might be relevant to the topic at hand.

Bitter Animator said...

There's a lot in that to go through. Even right at the start though, I don't really buy the "I don’t think I would want to change anything" view.

I think people say it and they're telling the truth. Oh wait, maybe I do believe it.

But I think what is happening is that they find something in their life they are attached to - a wife, children, dog, whatever - and they think, I am so glad I found them. And that's great. But the next thought leads them to, well, if I hadn't done this or that, I wouldn't have that person. So I wouldn't change anything.

But I think the reality is, given the choice, if they could keep that person and change everything else, they would.

At least, that's what I reckon.

Red Pill Junkie said...

You should give it a read to that article. Pretty lengthy but well worth it.