Animation like any other form of art has changed significantly over the last few decades. Culture is evolving; presenting us with new platforms in which to share experiences. We can easily target our demographics using a wide array of publishing techniques. It is now possible for a single person to get a worldwide audience with just a push of a button. So what does this mean for the world of art or more to the point the world of animation? Now that the artist is more enabled to create his or her work, do they need a studio backing them to see their ideas come to Fruition?
The face of the creative industry is changing constantly and it has evolved into many different outlets. Once niche markets have now become the next big thing. Studios have to adapt to these changes or they're at risk of falling behind. Innovation and progress play a huge role in the competition between our industries. Where money is involved, it's dangerous to stick to only what is familiar. Products become stale and uninteresting quickly. Our audience will move on if we do not keep them entertained.
So what does the audience want? How do we present it to them and how do we produce it?
These questions are what I intend to focus on for my dissertation. The main theme will revolve around animation production in the 21st century, mainly focusing on the United Kingdom's foot in the industry. I intend to present my work as a video documentary; using first hand footage from interviews of producers/ animators that I have recorded. I will weave together a current picture of the state of production in the U.K. I will link information together by narrating over the video, whilst also giving insights into different aspects of the creative industry. I hope that by presenting my work like this. It will make for a more engaging a relevant piece. I believe creating a video documentary will not only be educational to the viewer but also highly beneficial to me as well. Taking this approach will give me valuable experience with structuring my work. I also believe that presenting my work in such a manner is highly relevant to the focus of my dissertation. I'm adapting my presentation in an effort address my audience in a more compelling way. Whilst also adapting my skills as a producer/ animator.
I already feel confident that my approach to my dissertation will work as I have worked once like this before. Earlier last year I created a ten minute documentary in regards to innovation in the film industry. I narrated over footage of key innovative films during the 90's and early 2000's whilst also including interviews from the directors of the films; which I had downloaded from the Internet.
This time round however the material I present should be my own. So I must record all the interviews myself. I have already made some progress in this respect.
Recently I made a trip down to London to get a firsthand experience of the animation industry in the United Kingdom. From this I gained valuable insight of how production varies around different studios. I also recorded video of the majority of the trip. I now have a large amount of footage; which varies from interviews to tours of studios showing how animation is produced.
This material will play a key part in my documentary, as not only will it break apart segments of narration. But it will also act as proof of my points in the video. I will however continue to build up first hand references to which I can quote to help put my points across.
I learnt important things like how many people need to be on staff for different projects and how long a studio will need to complete a project. There are many things to take into consideration. For example what client want, are you producing an advert or a television series? Are you making a 3D animation or is it 2D? What software are you using, or will it be produced using more traditional methods?
We were told at our time at Picasso pictures by Melissa Venet that generally nobody in the industry uses traditional methods anymore. She told us that It’s too time consuming and expensive to do things like stop motion now. A single armature for a puppet can cost thousands of pounds, as it needs custom parts creating for it that will move in an exact way. Cel animation also takes way too long for small studios to even consider. They simple do not have the time or man power to produce a product. Especially considering the average turnaround time for most projects is in-between seven to twelve weeks. Be it an advertisement or television episode. With advances in animation techniques we can generally mimic more traditional animation styles using digital software. New technologies such as tablets have really streamlined production. Now animators can draw straight into a program that they are using, letting them quickly colour and manipulate an image. Before artists would have to scan their artwork into a computer if they wanted to anything with it. I had one animator at cartoon network tell me that using a Cintiq (a tablet that allows a user to draw directly onto the screen) was pretty much vital to his day to day job.
The animation industry is very demanding. Even if a studio is approached for their particular style; they will still be expected to work on a tight deadline. Because of this people coming into the industry are generally required to have a strong knowledge of the software they will be using. Very little time can be spent training employees unless the software packages the studios are using are completely unique. For example it is very hard for students to get a copy of something like ‘Cel Action’ but instead they would be expected to know at least one other kind of vector based animation package.
In conclusion I realize that my proposal may be a little vague but this is entirely deliberate. If I’m going to be producing a documentary for my dissertation, it will be very difficult to talk about one particular thing in the animation industry and keep the visual input relevant and interesting. I need to talk about a variation of things to do with industry. Of course all the information in the documentary will be connected and relevant but my aim is to paint a picture of the industry and let the viewer better understand what goes into creating animation in our current industry. To get a real understanding of anything you must pull in a variety of information from different sources. From my impression so far of animation in the UK, employees are expected to have a wide skill set. So that they can understand better how they fit into the bigger picture. An animator may only ever be working on one thing at a certain time but later on he/ she may be expect to move onto something completely different later on. It’s this kind of adaptable skill set that I want to portray; not only by presenting my work in a unique way but in the sense that the documentary will cover a lot of bases in what is expected of animators today. I’m very confident that the final piece will very informative and entertaining. It’s also worth adding I will present a written side to the dissertation as well. I will need to write myself a script and my aim is to make script by itself meet the assessment requirements. The written side of my dissertation won’t be a complete copy of my script either. I will neaten it up so that it stands out as its own piece of work.