Thursday, May 27, 2010

Having to end it...

Thing is, I knew this wasn't going to work right back when he came on board. Well, Colonel Ginger Nuts has to go. He just isn't cut out for children's shows.

And it's not a pleasant conversation.

Never should have happened in the first place. I said the project was shit. Said it from day one. And, in cases like this, I hate being right. So now it's taken well over a year to get to a point where the realisation kicks in that this man will never turn it into something good.

Now, it's up to other writers to try to make this into something other than a train wreck. And someone has to explain to this guy why he's not going to get to work on this show he created and will never see in its current form ever again.

I hope it's not me.

Monday, May 24, 2010

How many drafts?

I'm rapidly losing the will to live.

The reason I didn't want to write on this project was that I thought it was utter cack. Why would I spend my effort trying to turn something awful into something slightly less awful? Seems like a losing battle.

So I'm not writing it.

But, by the looks of what I am being given to read, nor is anyone else. I need to not even be aware of this project's existence. I need it to go away.

Go away piece of shit project with your shit writers. Go away.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Does anyone out there have any positive stories about distributors?



Even one?

No. No, I didn't think so. It's funny - I thought it was just the distribution company our show was with. I thought we went with a pack of monkeys and all those other distributors were great. After all, many distributors have great visibility in the business. They must all be great while we were lumbered with idiots.

Turns out everyone feels the same.

People on big shows with high-profile distributors have nothing but horror stories about how their show has been treated. Everyone feeling they went with the wrong distributor. And that's a real problem.

You see, when a show is made (as ours is now), it falls to the distributor to sell the show, usually internationally. They have to find the best platforms for the show, try to hype it up as much as they can, get it the best time slots from broadcasters. They have to find licensing deals, build what they would call a brand. Get books into shops. Toys if people want them. That sort of thing. Take the raw materials that are the show itself and get it out there.

Handing a show over to a distributor is like handing your child over... an abusive coke addict who barely knows or cares that your child exists.

Things I have seen from distributors that bug the living shit out of me:

- Not actually getting to know the show. Like, not even watching the goddam episodes. How can you possibly expect to sell something if you don't know what it is?!

- Trying to tell the show makers who live with the show every single day what the show is or should be, even though they don't know the show, as in the previous point.

- Not talking to other people within their company. Seriously - do you guys spend so much time glued to your Blackberries that you can't even talk to somebody in the next room? Stop asking for the same shit all the time when the people in your office already have it.

- Not forming any sort of strategy. Probably as a result of the previous point, distributors routinely wander around aimlessly until those few minutes a month they decide they should do something. Without the preparation and resources, they achieve nothing.

- Spending more time coming up with reasons why things won't work or can't happen than actually trying to find out what you can do. We've made a show. That's an uphill struggle. We know all about how difficult things can be. We don't care. What you can't do isn't worth shit to us. Go do something.

The list goes on and on...

How most of these people keep their jobs is absolutely beyond me. Actually, some distributors have a fairly high rate of staff turnover so maybe they don't. And of course, because they don't actually ever communicate with people in their own company, every time someone leaves it is like starting from scratch. The new person will be sure to tell us just what great things they've worked on. But that silence when we ask them a question about our show tells us so much more.

In a way, I suppose it's comforting to know that I'm not the only one who ended up with a fuckwit for a distributor.

Oh and if any distributor comes across this, you know I don't mean you, right? It's those other distributors...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Yeah, yeah so you're going to say, oh but The Thing is a remake and that's great. And The Fly. And...


I've had a lot of discussion recently about remakes (because there are so many of them) and any remake you can name that was actually good, you have to go back about 20 years or more to find. They were made because someone thought they could make a great movie out of the concept. They weren't made during a time of total creative bankrupcy and cynical lowest-common-denominator film financing.

Oh, but what about Dawn of the...


That wasn't a remake. It shared the name of a movie and one location - a shopping mall. That's it. No characters were brought over. Not the story. It didn't even have zombies in it. Wasn't a remake.

The use of the title there was little more than a symptom of the problem. Slap a name on it that people will recognise and hope that will sell it. Do you think The Thing really had any value in its name? Wasn't even the full title of the original movie. Was a whole different time when Carpenter made that movie.

Modern remakes are not made with love. They are dead. Soulless. Especially those that are remakes of current movies that just happen to be made in a language other than English.

They're shit.

And that's why I don't watch them.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The come down is a bitch

The crash at the end of long creative projects is apparently very common. Someone once told me that there is a course in dealing with it for actors. I wonder if I could find it and sign up.

With a quiet studio and empty desks, after so much creativity, I feel isolated. Empty.

Something happens when you move up the chain in animation (and probably any creative business). When you get to a certain level, where you're calling the shots, you can inspire others, you can get people to go along with your vision (however misguided), you can have a whole team of people willing to help you, wanting to help you...

And yet, as that happens, a gap forms between you and them.

An isolation.

As much as this business depends on being part of a team, the old expression of it being lonely at the top is true. Worse, if you're not at the top but at least in the upper part, you have the loneliness without the security of being overlord of all you survey. You're just overlord of a few little things.

Overlord for a brief period. But the isolation lasts longer and hits so much harder when the project is over. At that point, you no longer have a team of people around you willing to help. They're now just colleagues, distanced by some change in dynamic.

I'm in a void right now.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Early learners

Susan sent me this link to this rather fancy new children's furniture - their very own cubicle. Well, maybe they didn't intend for it to be represented in that way. Maybe not. But that's what it is.

I couldn't help thinking about the role of children's shows when I saw that. Of course, I'm always thinking about children's shows. It's what I do. But have you seen Higglytown Heroes? It's rather entertaining but the message of every show is that you should work hard. Each episode highlights a different job and shows how important they are to the community.

They're heroes you see.

It's quite a nice thought actually. The local pizza delivery guy does deserve credit. Many people doing their day to day jobs deserve more credit than they get.

But the message in each show seems to be simply - get out there and work, children! Work! Work! Work!

And I can't help wondering who those children are going to end up working for. Children learn from television and this is one show that has a clear message it is teaching. Some are less clear and some are plain disturbing (I may review some children's shows at some point, showing the lessons as they appear).

I've rambled on in the past about how we're living in this age of distraction. Bombarded by choices and yet also shackled by the things we think we need or should have.
Not shackled simply because that's the way life went or just happened to end up. No. Shackled because it serves some people's interests to keep us that way. Like modern day slaves.

But willing slaves.

And to make someone a willing slave, just like getting them hooked into a cult, you have to do a certain amount of conditioning. If you expect it to continue all their lives, you have to do a lot of conditioning. And that has to start early.

That's what schools are for, I guess.

Many schools grew from a need to create work forces of a certain level and, importantly, with certain leanings and loyalties in how they think. Often religiously motivated. To serve the machine.

We still do that today, but it's corporations now. The religion aspect has faded somewhat, though the history of the corporation seems tied to religion if you go back far enough - that's simply about who was holding the power at the time.

Now, we're creating our work force even before school. With shows, toy furniture. It's conditioning.

Is this conditioning something we should accept?

Or reject?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Well it's a popular name...

Cartoon Brew reported on a Draw Mohammed Day that seemed to be gathering support on Facebook, in response to the censorship of a recent South Park episode. It started just as a little cartoon, not a real thing and people have jumped on the idea and it gathered momentum. The idea is this - on May 20th, loads of people will draw Mohammed in protest over censorship that comes about through threats and intimidation. I guess it's safety in numbers.

As I read the comments and discussed it with others on the Brew boards, my thoughts on it went back and forth quite a bit. I'm still not 100% sure what I think of it to be honest.

My first immediate thought was that this is a great idea. Simply because I don't think people should bow to threats. That shouldn't be indulged. And I object to the idea that somebody elses religious beliefs should dictate what I should or shouldn't do.

There have been many comments that say this drawing day would be disrespectful to ordinary Muslims. This is true, and unfortunate. But that anyone should be driven by fear to censor a point that, actually, was about censorship, well, where's the respect there?

But it's not so much about respect really. It's about fear. Fear of death threats like those going back all the way to Salman Rushdie. Fear of those threats being carried out, like they were with provocative filmmaker Theo Van Gogh.

The world has been tip-toeing around recently for fear of becoming the next target. I know I'm pretty sure I don't have the balls to take part in Draw Mohammed Day.

That is all sorts of wrong.

And it's not really about Islam. It could be any religion, group, whatever. It is not right to threaten others who don't follow your beliefs. Not right to kill them. Not right to censor them through fear. It could be death threats from tea-drinking vicars, morris dancers, shoemaker elves. Really doesn't matter who it is.

And when people are pushed, as they are right now, sooner or later, they push back. First in small ways, like this drawing day. And then in bigger ways. It's not going to end well. I don't like it one bit. Worst thing is, this fear may give some sort of power to Muslim extremists, but it's going to give far more power to those who wish to spread anti-Muslim hate.

It's not going to end well.

No, I don't think I'll be drawing Mohammed. Not out of respect. Out of fear. They rarely go together. I may make my own little protest. Draw a pig or something. But not Mohammed.

I'll leave this with a thought I had on that Brew posts about beliefs. For me, if the systems and beliefs can stand up to scrutiny, can feel that certain and that right, they shouldn’t ever need threats to back them up. They are what they are. If I’m wrong, I hope it’s Allah or God himself who sorts me out in an afterlife, not a fallible mortal who takes it on himself to act on what he perceives to be the word of an almighty.