... To the average person who is not in the film business, what is the most misunderstood part of your profession?
I suppose it's the notion that everything that goes through the computer is untouched by human hands.
If a studio is rushing to complete a Christmas release, they'll hire all the animators they can get a hold of, so they'll all fly to wherever, work on the project then they'll fly to another hemisphere to work on the summer releases. The studios can't really publicize their personnel, so they have to publicize their technology.
As a result, this emphasis on technology is generally the thing that's talked about the most, to the devaluation of the artist, because the artist is just a temporary hire.
If you're painting a house, it doesn't matter if you have Picasso or Diego Rivera or some schmuck from down the street. You're going to have a painted house. And a lot of the big movies are painted houses - some of them well-painted houses, but still - if you're doing a heartfelt character there has to be not only guidance from a good director and animation director or supervisor, or whatever the DGA will let us call ourselves these days, but also guidance from top notch animators. So it's a collaborative work. This all of course builds on top of a performance that may have come from an actor, and it may not have. ...
I've known Mr. Cook a long time (like even before he worked at Disney Feature Animation) and would love to get him to do a TAG podcast. Until then, this interview -- and you should read the whole thing -- will have to do.