Thursday, October 23, 2008

Aniranter

Some of the things Mr. (or Ms.) Ranter puts up I agree with, other things not so much. For instance:

If Art Babbitt Were Alive Today...

...he would be "blacklisted" as a troublemaker.

BUT...

it wouldn't be a blacklist by the studios.

It'd be by the animation artists.

Yes, blacklisting is around, but is it generally started by the studios when an artist rightfully complains about being taken advantage of, or is it started by their fellow artists who don't want to "rock the boat" no matter how many unpaid hours are put in to meet unreasonable schedules?

I've not talked to an artist that wasn't hired by the studios for standing up for themselves, but I've certainly met artists who don't get recommended by other artists for their loudmouths.

If Mr. Babbitt were around today, the same career arc he had in the thirties, forties and onward would be pretty much the career he'd have ... today.

Because though animation technologies evolve, human passions and behaviors don't change very much through time.

Greed, lust, jealousy, back-biting, infighting, scheming, rage, sorrow, all pretty much the same in 1938 as in 2008. Hell, the same in 1248, for that matter.

So. What would happen to 21st century Art?

Oh, he would make enemies of management at one studio or another ... just as he enraged Walt in 1941. The only difference now? Management rotates through places a lot faster. Nobody stays top dog like Walt did for forty-plus years, and institutional memories are short. So Art would not be able to work for one or another studio topkick, but chances are the topkick would be gone after a few years, and Art would be back, because today's institutional memories are short, and studios operate more than ever under the old Jack L. Warner dictum:

"Don't let that bastard in here ever again.

"Unless we need him."

So Ranter is half right. The studios now are large, robotic conglomerates that don't personalize much and don't hold long grudges. (How could they? Few mucky mucks hang around long.) But Art would no doubt have a few Captains of Industry from whom he would have to steer clear.

But would he piss off his fellow workers? Probably some, because Art was a prickly personality. (I met him once.) But because many artists respect top talent, even when attached to disagreeable personalities, Art would keep working.

How do I know? Let's take a look at the old 20th-century Art, at the end of a long career. It's 1991, and he's not the animator of old, not by a long shot. He's elderly, wizened, stooped, shrunken and his drawing is not what it used to be. But he's got a job at Bill Melendez Productions.

Why? Because Bill Melendez loves and respects Art, knew him and admired him as a young artist during the '41 Disney strike, and has the wherewithal half a century later to employ Art and help him keep going ... until Art's death in the Spring of 1992.

So here, Ranter is three quarters wrong. Yes, there are artists who are fearful, selfish and petty, who would blackball a fellow employee. But there are many artists, artists like Bill Melendez, who wouldn't. And 21st century Art would end his days pretty much as his 20th century incarnation ended it.

Because human hearts, emotions, nerve-endings, don't change.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh come on. Walt not remaining head of his studio? There's an interesting thought. Wasn't he more than just a bean-counter, like Eisner? Wasn't he the creative mind and spirit behind his studio? The innovator? The risk-taker? Stop trying to paint him as just another mogul, will you? At least acknowledge his unique contribution to the art form - if it can still be called that, in this computer age - that you rely on for income. As for Babbitt, he deserved his ejection from Disney. He was a pawn, a tool, and a fool, and Disney was better off without him.

Anonymous said...

kool-aid drinker

Anonymous said...

In my short time as a feature animator (3 films), Ive noticed at least one thing: almost everything about an individual animator can be overlooked as long as their quality of work is high.

The only people I've ever seen complain about being blacklisted are people who have done poor work (first) then complained about the shots they were getting (second) and then complained loudly about everything else (OT, being taken advantage of, not getting respect, my wrist hurts). Then they are fired and wonder why.

On the other hand, Ive seen other animators who do amazing work (first) then complain about the OT they are working. It's THOSE animators who typically cause change, because they've already proven they are needed, and their complaints are heard, not ignored. And they are also typically the target of jealous attacks and the aforementioned backbiting.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and Im not sure if Mr. Babbitt is the former or the latter. I dont know his story, but I wouldnt be so naive as to call him a fool, given his resume.

Steve Hulett said...

Oh come on. Walt not remaining head of his studio? There's an interesting thought. Wasn't he more than just a bean-counter, like Eisner? Wasn't he the creative mind and spirit behind his studio?

Dear Anon:

I know this is difficult, since I write in English, but go back and read what I actually wrote:

[Art Babbit] would make enemies of management at one studio or another ... just as he enraged Walt in 1941. The only difference now? Management rotates through places a lot faster. Nobody stays top dog like Walt did for forty-plus years, and institutional memories are short.

Nowhere do I say Walt Disney was "just another mogul." My only observation was that studio heads don't remain in place for four decades anymore. (Eisner lasted around twenty.)

You want to slam me, slam me for what I type, not for what you hallucinate.

Aniranter said...

My point of that post was saying that Babbitt had the guts to say very loudly, "THIS SUCKS!" and stand by it.

Who today in the industry would have the guts to do that?

Anonymous said...

Obviously not yo...or would you like to tell us your name and make a real stand instead of hiding in the dark while you complain no one has any guts?

Anonymous said...

Says anonymous poster #4

Anonymous said...

Sure, I'm anonymous, but I'm not suggesting everyone is a pussy for not saying it sucks- am I?

Steve Hulett said...

My perspective: There are always just a few brave souls who stick their heads up above the crowd, in any age.

More perspective: In 1941, when the Roosevelt Administration was actively protecting workers from labor abuses, it was easier to be brave. (Remember, Art Babbitt returned to Disney after the strike because the Feds forced Walt to take him back.)

In the age of George W. Bush, I can't see the guvmint forcing a company to do anything remotely like that ... and most workers know it. I don't blame anybody for being cautious at a time when worker protections are nil.

Hopefully there will be some course corrections in the near future, but we're not there yet.

Aniranter said...

Obviously not yo...or would you like to tell us your name and make a real stand instead of hiding in the dark while you complain no one has any guts?

How do you know I haven't, o fellow anonymous?

The irony is telling.

Anonymous said...

The real irony is you telling artists to stand up and be counted while you hide behind a phony name. Unlike you, fellow anonymous, I'm not suggesting anyone do anything.
You want people to stand up for themselves and follow you then maybe you better tell everyone who you are. And unless you've displayed your real self somewhere (it's not apparent on you blog)I suspect you prefer to hide in the shadows and hope you can enough others to fight your fight for you. And if they were to win, I'm sure you'd step out of the shadows then, eh?
The only thing you've accomplished is getting curious people to briefly go to your blog to see the same childish anonyomus rants that you think are worth reprinting here.
You extoll the virtues of Babbitt, but condemn others that don't follow his lead. What have you done that is so like Art Babbitt?
Go back to Animation Nation where the cling-ons and wannabes might think you're deep.

Anonymous said...

Does this "Aniranter" remind you of anyone?

Anonymous said...

having an opinion about anything is a surefire way to get blacklisted by everyone from studios to your fellow artists. the only way to maintain job security is to stay in your cubicle, shut up and always look like your so busy you could cry (which you probably are any way so that part is easy).

Aniranter said...

The real irony is you telling artists to stand up and be counted while you hide behind a phony name. Unlike you, fellow anonymous, I'm not suggesting anyone do anything.
You want people to stand up for themselves and follow you then maybe you better tell everyone who you are. And unless you've displayed your real self somewhere (it's not apparent on you blog)I suspect you prefer to hide in the shadows and hope you can enough others to fight your fight for you. And if they were to win, I'm sure you'd step out of the shadows then, eh?


No one can fight the fight for artist's rights except for artists themselves. I can't fight for them. I can't get anyone to follow me, for I'm not a Pied Piper. I'll get hanged if I stuck my neck out by myself.

This is about the group deciding they've had enough of the bs that's been burying us the past few years in particular. If everyone decided on a few simple concepts, such as not working for free, and then following through on that agreement, they'd be a lot happier.

But I guess not wanting to be miserable is considered childish too, eh? It's soooo much better to get taken advantage of by the studios with no regard to you, your well-being, your family, or your life. Rock on, anonymous #7, the status quo is GREAT!

Anonymous said...

Anirantor just a big pussy who wants others to fight for his causes for him while he hides behind a silly name.

Anonymous said...

...says yet another douche who remains anonymous.
anyone who chooses to voice there opinions non-anonymously needs to be on the guild payroll because if you do it while your actually working in the industry you will never get hired.
i say anirantor is right.

Anonymous said...

People might take you more seriously if you knew the difference between "there" and "their"....

Or are you 'anirantor' just agreeing with yourself?

Aniranter said...

anyone who chooses to voice there opinions non-anonymously needs to be on the guild payroll because if you do it while your actually working in the industry you will never get hired.

Which is exactly why Aniranter exists.

Thank you for getting it.

But is there a way to change it?

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