Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why It Isn't Going to India ... Part IV

Animator (and TAG Prez) Kevin Koch has expounded to me on this subject, but the Wall Street Journal lays out India's animation problem in a focused nutshell:

At an industry event some time ago I watched as the representative of a prestigious national body stated that Indian animation would grow out of its mom-and-pop roots to a billion-dollar industry. Even then, I took the statement with a large pinch of salt. Indian animation has been threatening to become a billion-dollar industry for the best part of a decade. Yet, other than a few marquee players, there isn't much to show for those expectations ...

The start was good. A plethora of studios came into existence ... The billion-dollar mark did not seem so farfetched. However, within a decade the hyper-competitive and highly incestuous Indian animation industry began to implode on the back of poached deals, dubious management and lack of a quality artists' base ...

The failures of Indian animation are simple to understand, the key ones being our inability to create quality content, lack of an indigenous market, the sub-standard training of new artists and dubious studio management ...

The difference between an artist in LA and his counterpart in Mumbai is staggering. A foreign artist will bring a sense of art history, pop culture and humor to the table, his Indian counterpart will bring only his ability to follow instructions and work harder than anyone else.

The conundrum for Indian animation is the same as it is for any overseas cartoon house that specializes in low-cost subcontracting work. That kind of production, by its nature, is produced quick and dirty. The focus is "fast, for a fixed cost."

That being the case, the overseas studio has no incentive to A) improve the quality of staff, or B) improve the quality of production.

Why? The work has already been bid on and secured; now it's just a question of getting the job out the door for the lowest possible cost, the better to raise profit margins. So the big driver is how to get work done for even less money, not how to make the work better.

This is the savage spiral in which sub-contracting animation studios find themselves: the overarching goal is "cheap," not "good." It explains why creatively ambitious artists often leave sub-contracting studios for greener, more satisfying pastures, and why independent animated features produced by overseas job shops are generally lacklustre. The cartoon houses haven't build production infrastructures that know how to do anything other than fast, mediocre work.

That being the case, how much should the artists of DreamWorks, Pixar or Disney worry? Maybe not a hell of a lot.

41 comments:

Kevin Koch said...

I haven't read the whole article, but the summary you posted is right on. I would only argue with this statement: his Indian counterpart will bring only his ability to follow instructions and work harder than anyone else.

I know how hard animators in US studios work, and there is no workforce anywhere working harder. Period. That's not an inflated sense of 'Americanism' or anything like that, because among the crews here are many, many people from all over the world. What I'm talking about the domestic animation industry culture, where excellence, constant improvement, and very hard work are the norm.

Anonymous said...

Is WSJ really a knowledgeable source in Indian animation? Do they have any history of covering it well?

Since Murdoch bought them so much of their coverage of anything seems to have an agenda bias that it seems hopeless to take their news as news. It might be true, but how can you know?

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit doubtful about the contention that Indians have no sense of art, pop culture or humor. It may not be the same as westerner's, but how could such things really be absent in a nation of 1 billion+ that's 4000 years old?

John L said...

What's your assessment of China? I know for a fact that their government is investing a lot on training for their artists and production people. Plus a few of their studios are already in the midst of some ambitious animation projects.

Anonymous said...

"I'm a bit doubtful about the contention that Indians have no sense of art, pop culture or humor."
I think it really has to do with the universal appeal and/or knowledge of such cultures. Since the 50s when European, Eastern European and Japan entered the market they filled their stories with their sense of art, pop and culture. Problem is, their sense is limited to their country's citizens.

The US, by nature of Hollywood product has been seen all over the world for decades (almost a century). Whether in China, India, Germany or Australia, everyone "knows" about US art, pop and culture. So it makes sense that US animation is automatically understood at some level wherever it is shown. Most international audiences' only exposure to films of other countries is via the "foreign film" syndrome.

I can't count the times I've heard fans of foreign animation (anime, euro, etc) tell me I'd enjoy the film more if I knew more about the country's culture. Perhaps. But I bet folks in India, France and Egypt would have similar lack of familiarity with such foreign fare.

Anonymous said...

Is WSJ really a knowledgeable source in Indian animation? Do they have any history of covering it well?

Well, considering that the article was written by an Indian animator who's working on a feature film, I think he might just know what he's talking about.

Anonymous said...

Um, he's not an animator. He's a marketing executive.

And this story is a winner.

Aryaman is the story of Ashok, a gregarious boy who hates drinking milk and doing his schoolwork. One fine day he finds a medallion which gives him superpowers and life doesn’t remain the same. Now completing his homework and going to school is no longer hated by him. But the powers also bring him responsibilities mainly that of saving the world. The film is all about how he tackles various challenges both moral and physical. The film encompasses a very interesting angle about how the medallion becomes a source of superpowers. It takes us flashback to the story of Emperor Asoka, the War of Kalinga, its aftermath and the nine wise men.

That said, their demo reel says it all.

http://www.illusion-i.com/

Anonymous said...

The conundrum for Indian animation is the same as it is for any overseas cartoon house that specializes in low-cost subcontracting work. That kind of production, by its nature, is produced quick and dirty. The focus is "fast, for a fixed cost."

This was a great post explaining the problem India and overseas. And to be honest, this is the exact same issue that could be said for why there are so few top notch studios in the US as well.

Studios (and therefore artists) become a product of their environment. They become conditioned to think or not think a certain way about producing that film/project based on lack of resources, time, talent, etc.

And though some small US studios scratch and claw trying to throw off the shackles of contract work and hope that they will eventually get to the level a Pixar, Dreamworks, Disney, or Blue Sky. They are fighting a losing battle unless they have been doing other things besides simply executing someone else's idea.

Unless that small studio is working on short films in their spare time to hone their own creative/storytelling skills where the artists grow and flourish...the overriding tone of the studio tends to always be about getting the next contract job done faster, cheaper.

It is sad because there are a ton of talented people scattered about in some of these small US shops. But unless the company has a singular vision from the top and from the beginning about getting out of the work-for-hire rut to tell their own stories, they are all doomed to eventually fail.

Enough time goes by with those artists having to constantly do things faster, cheaper, and the creative spark that got them into the industry to begin with goes away and is replaced with simply executing a quick and dirty plan to get profit margin to look better.

And since said studio owns zero backend, they scramble to find the next job to keep the studio doors open. This cycle becomes vicious and demoralizing for the artists. Turnover becomes high. Younger, faster, cheaper talent is brought in to replace them, and the cycle continues.

Whether someone is in India, Europe, or Anytown, USA...it is all the same story.

Anonymous said...

OK, I watched their reel.

I'm in the wrong country.

I'm reminded of the phrase "In the land of the blind the one-eyed man would be king"


I'll point out however, that that article is really just commentary rather than actual reporting. Commentary by an interested principal. We wouldn't take an auto executive as a neutral observer of the auto industry.

Well, not again, we wouldn't.

Anonymous said...

It seems like FX houses would be the ones most likely to continue to farm animation out to India. I worked at a few over the years and know first hand that you get so many notes from the studio anyway, that they're pretty much taking away all freedom from you as an animator. The shots that we would get back from India would work just as well as ours, but I'm sure at half the cost.

Anonymous said...

You are so 100% correct. But the worst part is that some of these wonderful fx people move into working on character animation films thinking it's either A) the same and/or B) a step down. Producers in animation think of them as the same, which they are not. Not better/worse--just very different approaches and wildly different pipelines.

TotalD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The quality argument was a popular theme when there used to be 2D animation. Over-saturation of the market , poor quality films , just added to the shifting market.

The WSJ hasn't predicted a thing about the economic mess we are in and Rupert Murdock running it is like putting a member of the Klan in charge of an African American orphanage.

India said...

Animation in India needs to be revitalized by westen investors. An accent must be placed on quality not quantity, in order for the industry to truly take off.

Anonymous said...

Animation in India needs to be vitalized by Indian investors. And money isn't really the issue, anyway. It's supporting the artists and telling great stories. Animation is secondary to that. Get that right, first, and the rest will follow.

Anonymous said...

This says more about WSJ than about Indian animation.

The story of Indian animation is far too nuanced for this kid to understand. Yes, there are valid points about the business churn, training and time to get up to speed, as with all nascent fields. And it may not be a billion dollar industry for a while as all industry forums now acknowledge.

But there's animation and there's animation. There's 10 films a year put out by Pixar & co. and then there's everything else including TV and low budget features. All of that is respectable work.

Today, DW has a unit in India; christmas specials are being made there to the same quality as Madagascar. Sony, RnH have Indian VFX units and aspire to do character aniamtion there as well. On Nickelodeon (the only CGI game in US TV today), Penguins, Fanboy, Barnyard, etc. are animated in India. On Disney, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse was done in India. Any preschool CGI can pretty much be done in India or China. Lots of European shows get done there like Monster Buster CLub and Noddy.

All studios work on a pyramid where very talented mid level supes pull along a green bunch and get them up to speed. it's no different in India except it's taken a decade for the mid level to emerge and start delivering.

As far as the Indian market, US animation does pretty poorly there (less than a million for Kung Fu Panda; 3MM all in for Ice Age 3 the biggest ever animated box office). Indian audiences don't like talking dogs and cats much (yet). Like Bollywood, they will find their own genre to like given enough time and effort. It could be mythology, drama, romance, musicals, whatever. It could be something like Simpsons, averagely drawn but family stories. Indian youngsters love US video games and Lord of the Rings a lot more than US animated films.

I'm not writing this from a perspective of whether it's threat or a benefit. Not to trigger any hatred or complacency. Just that there is a lot more to know about than this sophomore effort by the WSJ guest commentator whose pathetic showreel speaks for his credibility.

Anonymous said...

to Kevin: re: hard work

Kevin, I think he means they work longer hours at laborious stuff (esp. TV) rather than any other measure of hard work. Constant improvement apart, Indian workers are maybe half as productive per hour but work twice the hours at 1/20 the salary and in shifts to halve the software cost. Do the math. It's not a slur on American work ethic. (don't get me started on europeans!)

Anonymous said...

The story of Indian animation is far too nuanced for this kid to understand.

That 'kid' runs his own animation studio in India. I think he knows what he's talking about. His shabby showreel is right on par with most studios in India and China. Ask the folks at Disney and DreamWorks who scoured India for years trying to find studios that can deliver passable TV/DVD animation (where the bar is as low as can be) how deep the talent base is.

Having worked with several Indian studios, and having traveled there, I'd say the WSJ article got it exactly right. Indian studios rushed into animation, built big facilities, and completely neglected building any kind of artistic tradition or training system. They have a looooong way to go.

Kevin Koch said...

Kevin, I think he means they work longer hours at laborious stuff (esp. TV) rather than any other measure of hard work. Constant improvement apart, Indian workers are maybe half as productive per hour but work twice the hours at 1/20 the salary and in shifts to halve the software cost.

I still have to disagree. I see the hours animators put in here in the States. There aren't enough hours in the day to work twice as many hours as most of us work. And, past about 10 hours a day, productivity doesn't just go down a little, it goes completely to hell.

(And by the way -- if their animators are working twice our hours, how can that 'halve' the software costs? They couldn't work more than 12 hours a day, which isn't far off what goes on here. You do the math.)

Having poorly trained, inexperienced animators working in total exhaustion is a guarantee of two things:

1)the work will stink, or at best be mediocre. Judgment goes to hell, creativity disappears, mistakes become rampant, and productivity actually goes into reverse.

2) you burn out your talent base. Individuals who have it in them to become great animators are always intelligent, creative, and capable of excelling in other fields. Animation is just too difficult, and requires too much brainpower, and people who can really do it usually have other options for creative and financial fulfillment. In an environment where it's all about grinding hours and following orders, it's the most talented and capable who will bail first. So decades of an industry operating that way does not lead to improvement, it leads to an artistic infrastructure of hacks who can tolerate abusive conditions and deliver acceptable outsource work. The talented animators find a way to work in Europe or North America, or go to other fields.

And I've talked with working Indian animators. The myth that they work for 1/20 of our salaries is exactly that -- a widely perpetuated myth. Animators in India tend to be paid only for approved footage, so those who don't produce anything usable don't get paid much (and don't produce much). But those who do produce get paid relatively well, certainly far above pennies on the dollar. From my sources, an animator in India who can deliver makes about 70% of what a similar animator in Los Angeles makes. It's a very good living in India, but then, there aren't many who are at that level.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Indians only may get paid for "approved " footage, it's called "freelance " here . Minus the healthcare costs union costs and add a lower cost of living and I think you will see what the poster means.

" A kilo of tomatoes or most vegetables cost approximately USD 0.28, a loaf of bread comes for about USD 0.23, Half-kilogram butter for USD 1.28, 10 eggs for USD 0.50, a pack of cigarettes for USD 0.69. Groceries cost about $200 a month for a couple."

But Mr Koch , US companies have been burning out talent since the start of companies. Union people constantly already overworked hours even before trading away their weekends. In a perfect world , everyone drops their mouse at 5 but , not in the real world because the competition is too fierce. That is why companies like Disney's continue to flood the market by training new employees and underpay experienced people.

Again , the quality argument was used on 2D at one time. Studio's rarely care about quality till they start losing money. It's only a fair competition if you have a level playing field and this is quite unbalanced. I think if single payer healthcare wiped out those extra costs it would be a step towards leveling the playing field.

Did someone here say the WSJ got it right ? After suckering people into believing everything would keep rising ?

Kevin Koch said...

Again , the quality argument was used on 2D at one time.

Yes, every year I worked as a 2D feature animator, everyone talked about how all the work was going to go over to Korea or the Philippines or Timbuktu. And some producers even tried to send it away. It never worked out. The public shunned the cheap-looking stuff. Do computers make it any easier to send it away. Hardly.

Broadcast quality animation went overseas over 30 years ago. Meanwhile, the high quality stuff has always required a certain milieu, one that has never been replicated at a low-cost outsource studio. Maybe one day that will change, but in the entire history of animation it hasn't happened yet, despite many decades of people trying.

Anonymous said...

Not to debate Kevin but I beg to differ on the feature quality , that was shipped overseas as well. Feature disappeared completely as they were shunned over and over by US audiences . Disney pumped out tons of made for video features created overseas that, cost vs profit , made them money using the exactly the same designs and subjects used in their features. That kind of contradicts the idea they shunned the cheap and desired quality.

An audience only knows whether they liked a film or not. We invest far too much into them having even the slightest ability to judge quality. They may have some sense of it but , it's not at all on their minds.

What I would love is for someone from the union to do a cost analysis of why 2D features in the 80's cost 8 million and then by 2003 they cost 250 million. My instincts tell me that would be fascinating.

I might think you will find is that these companies are in fact selling themselves space in their own studio's and writing off the cost. I am guessing as much as 80% of the production costs could in fact be these write off schemes. Call me... curious but I really doubt that films cost 32X as much as they did in the 80's. Just a thought.

Kevin Koch said...

High end features had a small portion of the work shipped to other parts of the US, to Europe, and to Canada. The work that was shipped out wasn't to get work done cheap, it was because there was a struggle to find high-end talent.

I specifically didn't refer to direct-to-video stuff, which has always been done to a lower standard. But since you mentioned Disney's success in that regard, I'm sure you're aware that most of the most successful of those videos were animated by a talented crew in Australia. That crew was not paid 1/20th of US salaries.

Those videos did fairly well for what they cost, but they didn't do nearly as well as the original theatricals, and those DTV sequels never would have existed if the originals hadn't been done to the high standards there were.

If there were any hand-drawn theatrical features that were successful and that featured work from India/Korea/Philippines/etc., I'd love to know what films those were. That's what I was referring to, and I don't think your examples don't contradict that point.

As for the idea that audiences don't notice quality, or don't care about it, or can't really tell the difference -- well, a quick look at the 30 most successful CG animated features shows that audiences do seem to want to spend their dollars on films that weren't made on the cheap.

By the way, what feature in 2003 cost $250 million?!?

Regardless, unless the studios are going to throw their books open to the union or to anyone else, that study you mentioned is never going to get done.

Anonymous said...

The author runs a 2D studio and the debate isn't at 2D at all. The 2D ship has long sailed and India does not compete at all in it. There may be not more than one or two credible 2D studios (DQ is the only one I know).

Any relevant discussion should be about CGI. Here the conclusion "it probably isn't going to India" is inaccurate.

Yes, if you are one of the lucky few (total < 4000?) who work in features at Pixar, Disney, DW or Blue SKy, then you're safe for now (though DW has already made huge strides in India and Pixar is looking at Vancouver). Almost everyone else isn't.

I listed in my post pretty much every major CGI project in the US (I missed Tinkerbell also) beneath the big features which have gone to India. WSJ does not even mention these. As it is, the amount of CGI overall outside the features is fairly limited (most US channels have at most 2-3 shows) and almost all of it is in India.

On one thing, we are all in agreement; the services model sucks business-wise. But what about the quality level of animators making their bones on stuff like "Penguins of Madagascar" and Tinkerbell" ? Does the WSJ article lead up to this? How could this be possible if the talent pool and delivery model had not come along pretty far in the past few years.

Anonymous said...

The TV 2D market was completely wiped out by Asian companies paying our counterparts there less than 1/20th . The Asian rim are running even now where we do no actual animation here .

I never said the feature market was wiped out by as wide an economic gap (strawman ) but it was cost , not talent that took them. Why not mention the DTV films , they were taking in HUGE #'s ! Sort of successful ? Do you think Disney would have made so many of them if they were only "sort of profitable" ? You on the one hand say they were lower quality then on the other hand praise the Australian crew for being talented ! I feel like you are playing two sides here ! Australia was picked because at the time our dollar was worth twice theirs . It was budget cutting as were all the other companies going outside ( including Disney's recent using Yowza ).

Please Kevin, do not insult us by saying " because there was a struggle to find high-end talent " . That is a complete insult to the membership and absolutely, factually untrue. There is easily the talent here, just not the budget to pay them .

The cost of an animator here in this guild is 30% above their salary after a company hires them because of the benefits . Government healthcare would definitely make American artists , CGI and 2D competitive. Might be good to have us make some visible support for that .

To the previous poster , when you kick all the 2D artists out and make a CGI only Guild , then it will be a CGI only issue . Say didn't Disney just animate a 2D feature , oh yeah they did ! Kicking them out by the way would lower 2D costs greatly , freeing them from union minimums and benefits costs , helping them be far more competitive so don't feel I'm saying it as an attack. With government healthcare I think you would see a little 2D rebirth. Profit margins are determined by production costs so it's a no brainer to be able to fight work sent overseas you need to understand how these budgets are structured.

250 million ? Dinosaur and Tarzan ( ok, Tarzan was more like 175 million but well, well beyond the 6-8 million that animated films cost just years earlier ) . Production #s on BOM and other sites don't reflect the actual costs. Our lack of knowledge of the actual budgets leaves us vulnerable to the blame for high production costs . That applies across the board, CG or 2D so rather than praying to the moon for guidance ... it's probably better to know the actual budget #s. For example, anyone know how much the animation ( the crew in LA ) costs on Frog Princess ? Might be nice to know .

Anonymous said...

Please Kevin, do not insult us by saying " because there was a struggle to find high-end talent " . That is a complete insult to the membership and absolutely, factually untrue. There is easily the talent here, just not the budget to pay them .

Sorry, but....REALLY? Do you have anything to back that up with? Because all Ive seen from India is crap. Roadside Romeo, for example.

Kevin Koch said...

I think one of the quote's from me has been completely divorced from the context in which I wrote it, and is now being waved around to mean something that it doesn't.

I wrote "Yes, every year I worked as a 2D feature animator, everyone talked about how all the work was going to go over to Korea or the Philippines or Timbuktu. And some producers even tried to send it away. It never worked out."

As you can see, I was talking about the animation landscape 5-15 years ago, and specifically about hand-drawn features.

Anonymous replied: "Not to debate Kevin but I beg to differ on the feature quality , that was shipped overseas as well."

To which I replied: "High end features had a small portion of the work shipped to other parts of the US, to Europe, and to Canada. The work that was shipped out wasn't to get work done cheap, it was because there was a struggle to find high-end talent."

Again, I was talking about 5-15 years ago, and hand-drawn features. Not now, not CG, not direct-to-video, not broadcast. I was talking about Disney's Paris studio, Warner Bros. London studio, and the work that DreamWorks sent to several quality studios in Canada, the US, and England. My point was that the work on those features that was sent out wasn't sent to Pacific rim countries to animators working for 1/20 our salaries.

Now, what do I think about present day CG feature landscape? I think I'm extraordinarily clear on that, since I've said the same thing five different ways. The high end talent is mostly here, in California, and to a much lesser extent in a few other places where salaries, educational facilities, and animation tradition allows it.

That cannot be said about India, or China. We haven't seen any animation from those countries that even hints that their studios are going to be competing with the top studios in the US, Canada, and Europe. And, since most of the studios in those countries are focused on outsource work, and aren't investing a fraction of their cashflow on education and training, I don't think the situation will be changing soon.

So contrary to insulting the talent here, I'm saying exactly the opposite. But some people just have the need to misinterpret and debate.

Yes, there are producers who would like to undercut salaries here, who would wreck the industry in the long run by trying to save a buck in the short run. That's been going on forever. But as long as the the talent and hard work by rank and file animation professionals here continue to result in the movies that make the billions, I'm not worried about my peers and me being replaced by some whose only asset is that they'll work for less than we do.

Anonymous said...

The animated feature "Planet 51" is coming out soon. It was made in Spain.

From the trailer, it's production value looks quite high, and the animation looks of excellent feature quality.

Granted, I know that quite a few Americans worked on it, but nonetheless, this may be a salvo to show that quality feature animation can be produced outside America, presumably for quite a bit less.

No, Spain is hardly India in this category, and I'm sure wages were somewhat decent. But probably a bit less than an average American animator wage. It remains to be seen how good the story is, and how well it does at the boxoffice.

Anonymous said...

Also, whatever you think about the "sequels" Disney made, some of them had very high quality work in them. The problem wasn't the artists, but the very idea of sequels and the poor stories. Bambi 2, Jungle Book 2, and the Peter Pan sequel were no match for the originals, but the work was very good. I believe people would have been less harsh on them from a point of "quality" if they'd been original films with solid stories.

Anonymous said...

To "Anonymous said" , reread the comment, it said nothing about India , it was a discussion of previous production export , not 3D , there was easily the talent but American workers cost too much. It was not being shipped out because of a lack of American talent but for cost and I think I've proved that.


"But some people just have the need to misinterpret and debate."-Kevin


A "need" ? Ya know Mr Koch , it's called the membership and it's who you supposedly work for. Sorry we have these little discussions but .... those of us who " "need to misinterpret " are just filthy little complainers aren't we.

The problem is it did work out . Australia , Paris , Canada or the Asian god damned Rim ! What's the difference Kevin ?! Are those companies in our union ? Did they cost the same ? NO ! You saying that there was not the talent here is just utter , absolute nonsense and as a traditional animator I know because I hired people. It's insulting in the face of what happened to read our president saying these things . These are cost measures as is sending things to the rim or Yowza . I know the production budgets, I know the costs and it is for costs alone so don't try and characterize me as having a "need" to argue !

And you think 3D jobs are harder to ship out because there isn't the talent ? ! People were saying that way back about 2D , I know, I was one of them.
The fact they are working on it should give you momentary pause in your absolute certainty.

Kevin Koch said...

Sorry you feel like you're a dirty little complainer. I certainly don't think of you that way. And I remember when we were friends.

As for the rest of your post, I honestly can't follow what point you're trying to make. You seem to want to characterize some of my comments as maligning the talent base here in California. But I don't think that way, and have never suggested such a thing.

Anonymous said...

Characterizing members as " having a need to misinterpret " isn't something friends do Kevin. It's being dismissive and insulting.

Let me make the point you can't seem to retain. Anything can be shipped out . If we can learn it here, it can be learned anywhere . People need to know that and not be led to false assumptions of safety. Companies function by cost and while there is terrific talent here that is not how corporations work. They will cut out absolutely anything they can and while India may not be up to speed or experience now that is just a matter of time. They don't see what we do nor do the public. We hope it's some time before they do but they will.

To say that things were shipped out because of anything but the cost is misleading. It's not a friendship issue , it's an industry issue.

Kevin Koch said...

D, I'm flashing back to those debates you and I got into over at that other website. You really have a penchant for taking things out of context, my friend. I never suggested that TAG "members" have a need to misinterpret and debate. The comment was much more specific than that. ;)

As for your statement that "anything can be shipped out," you're taking the position that many thoughtless, balance-sheet-obsessed producers also take. All I'm saying is that that belief has not proven to be successful or profitable, by and large, in high-end animation.

It is exactly that attitude that DOES insult and demean the domestic animation workforce. I know you don't really mean it that way, but that's what you're suggesting by buying into the concept that 'anything can be shipped out'. High quality animation is way too hard to be sent away like it's the same as making socks.

I'm not saying it can never, ever happen, or that lots of producers haven't tried again and again, and will continue to try again and again, to ship high-end animation out solely to save money. I'm just saying that, when you look at the features that have made billions of dollars, the kinds of films which every studio is trying to replicate, that NONE of them have been made on the cheap. And the ones that have been made cheaply have virtually all lost money by the millions.

So chill, old pal. We're on the same side. There are definitely industry issues that weigh us down. Always has been, probably always will be. When I want to get really depressed, I read old Peg-Boards from the '70's and 80's. But we soldier on.

Anonymous said...

Debates on another site ? About wallpaper or shoes Kevin ? Certainly not union business . And so I have a penchant for " for taking things out of context" do i ? Really !!!!!! That's the first I've heard of it, thank you for letting me know because no one has ever alerted me to that ! Amazing !

I'm even insulting the membership by saying anything that can be shipped out will be ? Oh my goodness ! That's has never happened before in this industry has it Kevin ! No , never ! Everyone is so talented they wouldn't even think of it would they ? God, I am so wrong =)

So when you say " some people just have the need to misinterpret and debate " , and that was being more specific ? So you were insulting me , specifically because that is what I do right ? That kind of dismissive , insulting attitude pretty much is the hallmark of your presidency . So, you have people you call friends you treat like this ? Pity.

If you feel you have some "issue" over a debate about curtains on another site it has nothing to do with this discussion. There are no more billion dollar films at this point . Pixars Up only made $288,223,782 ( and cost nearly 200 million , hey remember when you dissed me for saying films cost 200 million, yeah ) . CG films are doing worse generally , Disney with a full crew of incredibly talented CG artists did poorer than expected and so they are gone so it's not just the overseas films that lose money and talent is not always the deciding factor . You can look to Valiant or The Wild just the way you can to Duck Tales the Movie ( all of them failures but not the end of alternate productions ) . Costs go up , profits go down, companies look for other avenues despite the talent. It's a business .

And why would you want to get depressed. Stop reading old pegbars then. Having knowledge and being aware is not a reason for depression ,they are the groundwork of prudent planning.

Anonymous said...

Sorry , just an after thought because something was not making sense to me at all . So if I say that companies will ship things if they can get them cheaper regardless of how talented , because of cost , and you say companies did ship things because they couldn't find anyone talented enough , how is it that you come up with :

"It is exactly that attitude that DOES insult and demean the domestic animation workforce."-KK

I'm , it's just my penchant for taking things out of context I'm sure but, I'll be damned if you aren't saying there isn't there isn't the talent here . And then this.

" you're taking the position that many thoughtless, balance-sheet-obsessed producers also take."

Just for clarity el presidente, no, I'm saying that, that is the position of the "thoughtless, balance-sheet-obsessed producers ". How exactly in hell did you come with suddenly *I* am "taking" that position ?! I'm not grasping.

You know our little "context " problem. I , I'm pretty sure it's not all mine here.

Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me how patient you are, Kevin, in responding to hysterical, muddle-headed wingnuts whose only goal sees to be to cement their status as master trolls. Sometimes I can't even decipher what these loons are trying to communicate (like the two posts above, and the others that appear to be by the same basement dweller).

I just want to say thank you for taking the thankless job of president, and thanks for being a steady hand in this crazy industry. I've told you this before at the Christmas Party, but I thought it needed to be said publicly.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I guess you ran out of posts to make on your own site. Lol!

Anonymous said...

Boy I dont miss that guy , whatta wacko.

Here , put me in context.

1. "High end features had a small portion of the work shipped to other parts of the US, to Europe, and to Canada. The work that was shipped out wasn't to get work done cheap, it was because there was a struggle to find high-end talent."

So it's much easier to find talent in a country of 30 million or 60 million even when you live in a country of 300 million ? Silly me . Gosh , how did Walt Disney do it in the 30's ? You would think with the staggering number of trainees they taught here ... but they just couldn't find talent here . They must have paid them the same as their counterparts here right ? If one were to , be confused , one might guess ... it was cost ? But of course not, they "struggled " to find talent.

2. "I specifically didn't refer to direct-to-video stuff"

I see , their feature length means they are not features right ? Weren't their DVDs taking in like 100 million in video sales in the first few weeks ? Isn't that comparable ? Imagine my confusion because they kept making these "failures " according to you. By the way , am I just so off base or was Tinkerbell 3D done offshore ? I'm pretty sure but, I could be wrong .

3. "I'm sure you're aware that most of the most successful of those videos were animated by a talented crew in Australia."

I think I made that point , Again their dollar was half ours at the time. Since the currency leveled out , oops , it was no longer less costly and poof , gone aren't they !

4."If there were any hand-drawn theatrical features that were successful and that featured work from India/Korea/Philippines/etc"

You remember that funny little island that called "Japan" ? Yeah , that was making cartoons for our market, King Kong, Godzilla Jr , Scooby Doo , Jonny Quest , how everyone laughed at how low quality their work was. How they could never equal the American talent. Don't they they have their own animation market now ? Didn't they win an Academy Award for Spirited Away ? Sorry. I keep losing context don't I . =)

Now I'm going to make a request, first you don't ever refer to "our friendship" because honest, you thinking know who I am doesn't intimidate me at all . Sorry , but it doesn't . Your contention that it will never happen here , and your reasons for that assumption are totally wrong in my opinion .

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Haha, you can tell the unemployable wingnuts -- they're the ones who have endless amounts of time to post while the rest of us are working. To the loon above, get out of the basement and take a walk. You need some air.

Anonymous said...

Just finished work Charlie, thanks though for worrying about me . =)

Anonymous said...

To the poster who insults people because they think they are unemployed , try saying that to peoples faces you coward.

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