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Thursday, March 24, 2005


I am a subscriber to the ANIMATION NEWS NETWORK and also sometimes peruse the trade magazines.

It's occurred to me that most of the news in the animation newsletters that arrive in my inbox with asymmetrical frequency is not actually about animation or animators. They are business journals.

There are endless announcements on how Joe or Jane Businessperson has been named head of this or that department at Megapixel Conglomerates, or that MonsterHugeEntertainment Corporation has decided to market toys/tv series/direct to DVD versions of THE MAGICAL MUSICAL MARSHMALLOW.

(hmmm...that actually doesn't sound too bad; I'd watch it....once)

What I'm saying is that the artists who actually create animation aren't mentioned unless they have actually come up with the concept for MAGICAL MUSICAL MARSHMALLOW, which means they probably own it and therefore have some business chops as well as animation skills... Sometimes a director for a film or series is named. But the newsletters generally only describe the doings of the management.

The same thing's true of national news; business news is mentioned without a murmur. What about news of the arts?

What's that you say? Art is a luxury that doesn't have an impact on the economy?

Guess again. Art and artists bring fortunes into their communities.
Someone in New York once figured out that for every dollar the city spent on supporting the arts, ten more were spent in the city.

The arts are great for business and the economy. The arts revive entire neighborhoods. They change lives for the better. They create something out of nothing and then sell it (Frank Zappa's definition of 'art' is still the best).
So why don't we have nightly news bulletins on the progress of art installations? Or stop-the-pixels e-messages on how Annie Mator and Di Rector have moved to Megapixel Studios to work in storyboard and design?

Animation is one of the most successful motion picture genres of all time. Perhaps it is THE most successful genre. So why don't animation magazines feature news of the careers of the people who actually create it?

Sure, there's been a growth industry in biographies of older artists, most of whom are gone now....but that is assuming that cartoon animation is dead, fit only for museums...
The most successful television series of all time is a cartoon. Cartoon DVDS are the best sellers of the year for years running, far outperforming the liveaction releases.
(this sort of news is reported since it is about business and money, not artists. But I'm making the point: that it is a good idea to help artists get the recognition they deserve for creating this stuff in the first place.)

Animation artists train for decades. Someone told me that it takes as much time to be a good animator as to be a doctor.
I think that dedication deserves a little respect. The creators certainly deserves a little coverage in venues that purport to cover news of the 'art form'.