Thursday, December 31, 2009

TeeVee's Best Toonage

Now with Add On.

Being this is the last day of the year, Steve Fritz presents his "Best" list for 2009 in the television animation department. (Obviously, opinions may vary.)

I’m hardly turning the boob tube on anymore. The 21” flat screen atop my desktop has rapidly become my preferable destination. .... With so many networks at the touch of a keyboard, it ain’t that hard to lock into 20 or so solid half-hours of animated entertainment a week. If you don’t believe, read on.

Family Fun: 1) Phineas & Ferb (Disney XD)

Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh has provided the show that delivers everything for a second year in a row. Smart scripting, a super-inventive formula that is constantly twisted but never broken, and some incredibly good pop songs every episode insures this series should hopefully go on for years to come. If the TV industry provided more shows like the adventures of these two half-brothers, the execs will have nothing to ever worry about ....

Adult Animation: 1) The Simpsons (Fox)

21 years and we still tune in every Sunday for the latest adventures from those fine citizens of Springfield, USA. For that alone this show deserves its #1 slot. Homer Simpson as one of the most recognized Americans in the world? Lisa as snarky as ever? This level of consistent adult humor is truly unheard of in the entertainment world. Here’s to another 21 ...

The toughest part of the animation industry is, far and away, television work. Budgets are insanely tight. Schedules get more and more cramped. And the more artists get smacked in the face with impossible deadlines, the harder they work, dragging boards, designs, and layouts home for work into the small hours so they can have it ready for the production manager bright and early the following morning (Uncompensated o.t., anyone?)

As a prime-time animation director related a week ago:

"I don't linger over anything anymore, trying to polish it. There's no time. It's just slam-bam and out the door. The sad part is, I've gotten less complaints from my producers doing it fast and mindlessly than I did when I had time to put more effort into the work ...."

It's been a rugged year for a lot of animation people, and frustration abounds. (But should we be different from the rest of the country?) It's my fervent New Year's wish that 2010 is better both for everyone in the animation community, and for you.

Add On: Mr. Fritz analyzes theatrical features here.


Anonymous said...

With Storyboard Pro's ability to edit an animatic while doing your boards, some shows are "hinting" that if you're a good employee, you'd be cutting an animatic too... on the same 5 week schedule as always for no extra pay...


Just something to watch for, Steve...

Anonymous said...

I'll say it again: WE HAVE to act more like professionals and absolutely NOT budge with this shit, like "animatics".

I've known too many guys who, in their eagerness to show off or simply because they genuinely love the software and the chance to be a filmmaker, would gladly do animatics on their own time, unasked. The problem is that producers and other adherents of 'get more/pay less" quickly catch on that HERE is a dandy way to exploit more from everyone.

Just don't do it. You're NOT being paid to do the %$!@ editor's work or the directors for them in addiiton to your actual job, and until you are, NO WAY.

We're already doing layout and every other damn thing. For not a dime more.

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