February 25th, 2024

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Acting For Animation: Video Seminar

THIS AFTERNOON!

4:30pm PST Live Streaming Page

6:30pm PST Discord Server

Animated Discussions Podcast

The highlight of Reference Pack 056 is a video seminar hosted by Davey Jarrell and Stephen Worth titled "Acting For Animation". We have been working on this seminar for years, and have presented it at several art schools and universities. We’ve recorded it on video now so we can share it with you.

If you are a member of Animation Resources, login now to download this program. https://animationresources.org/membersonly/

If you’re not a member yet, this program alone is worth the cost of the annual dues. JOIN now. https://animationresources.org/membership/levels/

If you are not a member and would like to see this program, mark your calendar for February 25th at 4pm (PST). We will be presenting it free one time simultaneously on our live streaming page, and on our Discord Server. This seminar includes many clips illustrating the points being made. It cannot be shared on YouTube or social media. The only place to see it is on the Animation Resources website.

Animated Discussions Podcast

Animators have been referred to as "actors with a pencil," but most classes in animation and articles on technique deal more with the pencil mileage than acting. In this episode of Animated Discussions we set out to change that. What *is* acting anyway? What constitutes *good* acting? Is acting the same in live action as it is in animation? How does an animator put across personality and action through acting? We’ll be addressing those questions and many more.

In the ten short years between "Steamboat Willie" and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs the Disney Studios advanced the art and technique of animation at a rapid rate of speed. This progress has been widely credited to the work of Don Graham. He instituted a series of action analysis meetings where live action films were broken down and studied, and animated films would be critiqued to determine what worked well and what could be improved upon. In this video seminar, Storyboard Artist Davey Jarrell and Animation Producer Stephen Worth will be channelling the spirit of Don Graham to present an action analysis class on "Acting for Animation".

Animation Resources Discord

Animation Resources is hosting monthly events on its Discord server. Join us to participate in discussions and network with fellow artists from all over the world. On February 25th, the doors open at 4:00 pm (PDT) and the program begins at 4:30 pm.

THIS MONTH’S PROGRAM
Join Animation Resources Board Member Davey Jarrell and Stephen Worth on Sunday, February 25th on Discord for a two hour video seminar on acting followed by a question and answer session. Doors open at 4:00 PDT and the program starts at 4:30 PDT!

ACTING FOR ANIMATION
Animation Resources
At The Animation Resources Discord Server
Animation Resources Live Stream Page
https://animationresources.org/stream/
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 25th, 2024 4:30 pm (PDT)
HOSTED BY DAVEY JARELL WITH STEPHEN WORTH

A REVIEW FROM A MEMBER

Hey Davey! Just wanted to say that acting seminar you and Steve did is one of the most inspiring videos I’ve watched in a long time. It got my brain whizzing a million miles a second, especially at the end comparing 20th Century to Scribners animation. I felt like I unlocked another understanding of a sequence I thought I had known well.

Animation Resources is one of the best kept secrets in the world of cartooning. Every month, we sponsor a program of interest to artists, and every other month, we share a book and up to an hour of rare animation with our members. If you are a creative person interested in the fields of animation, cartooning or illustration, you should be a member of Animation Resources!

ABOUT YOUR HOSTS

Davey Jarell is a member of the Board of Directors of Animation Resources. He is a professional storyboard artist for television and acts as our Director of Programs.

Stephen Worth is an animation producer with nearly four decades of experience. He is also the President of Animation Resources.

ABOUT DISCORD

Discord is a free chat app that supports video, voice chat and text chat. Discord servers are divided into channels, which all have their own subject or theme of discussion. Members are assigned roles which helps everyone keep track of who’s who. The Animation Resources Discord channel is a virtual meeting place for our supporters. You can meet other Animation Resources members, talk with the people behind the scenes at our organization, and attend lectures and screenings— all without leaving your home. It’s free and open to everyone in the creative community. If you’d like more info on how Discord works, see this article: What is Discord?

Here’s how to install the Discord app and login to the Animation Resources Discord Server:


    1. INSTALL DISCORD
  • iPhone or Android: Download the app from the App Store or Google Play Store and install.
  • Desktop: You can access Discord for your Mac or PC from discordapp.com. You can choose to download and install the free Discord app, or enter our channel directly using your web browser. https://discord.gg/cuvNvsMNQP
    2. CREATE AN ACCOUNT
  • Just follow the prompts to create your own login account.
    3. JOIN THE ANIMATION RESOURCES CHANNEL
  • Click the plus sign to the right of the app and select "JOIN A SERVER".
  • Enter this invite code: vES5YsV
    4. YOU’RE THERE!
  • Take a moment to look around, read the rules and introduce yourself.

The Animation Resources Discord Server is open to the public right now. Pop in and look around, and make a point to visit on Sunday!

Members Appreciation

For the past decade, Animation Resources has been serving artists working in the fields of animation, cartooning and illustration. Our volunteers and members have pulled together to raise the bar for our art form, and it’s time to celebrate… It’s Members Appreciation time again!

During the month of February, Animation Resources expresses our appreciation for to members with a very special Reference Pack, and we invite you to become a member too. For the next 30 days, we will be sharing reasons why you should join us. Our benefits of membership far exceed the cost of our annual dues.

Dollar Days

This year, we are trying something new to encourage new memberships. You can join for a one week trial membership for only A DOLLAR! Yes, you get access to everything our annual members get for seven days for only a buck. (Click here for the details on our Dollar Days.) What are you waiting for?

You can find out what our members get at the Member Appreciation Page. It’s easy to join. Just click on this link and you can sign up right now online…


JOIN TODAY!
https://animationresources.org/membership/levels/

Members Appreciation Month

PayPalAnimationAnimation Resources depends on your contributions to support its projects. Even if you can’t afford to join our group right now, please click the button below to donate whatever you can afford using PayPal.


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Posted by Stephen Worth @ 12:01 am

February 23rd, 2024

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The Great Wave Of Animation

Great Wave Of Animation

I see people on social media bemoaning the recent downturn in the animation business. They’ve adopted a doom and gloom attitude, but dry spells have always been a part of being an animator. Every seven years or so, there’s an event that sweeps across the business and changes the playing field. I’ve been through several of these myself. I got into the business following the purge created by “runaway production” when overseas studios picked up a lot of work that had previously been done stateside. Filmation shut down, Hanna-Barbara cut back, and a lot of people were out of work. Other purges involved the dot com bubble bursting, the end of big budget hand drawn features, the digitization of the production pipeline and the shuttering of independent animation houses when big studios established their own production facilities.

Now we’re seeing the end of the streaming bubble and no one knows yet what form the coming venue for animation will take. We can’t go backwards to broadcast or cable, and the streaming networks are cutting back because it became unprofitable for them to make so many shows that people just weren’t watching. Animation will always be a part of popular entertainment. All of us just need to wait for the next wave to develop, and no one knows yet what form that wave will take.

If I’ve learned one thing from all the purges and waves I’ve survived, it’s that you can’t just sit and wait. You need to take steps now to guarantee a place in the future of animation. When the downturn turns around and opportunities begin to become available again, it’s going to be like musical chairs. Not all of the jobs that were available at the peak of the streaming bubble will be available. The first people hired back will be the best and brightest, not the average 9 to 5-er.

To prepare for that, artists should be taking this opportunity to do two things. One is to open your mind and ideate… come up with new and unique characters and ideas for cartoons. Don’t look to formulas that have been successful in the past, project yourself to be able to conceive of what will be successful in the future. When the shutdown ends, “more of the same” won’t cut it. That means exposing yourself to kinds of creativity you haven’t considered in the past, not doubling down on the things you already know inside and out. Look beyond animation for inspiration. Look to cartooning, illustration and cinema… or even music, dance, live performance and other forms of art. The one thing you can be sure of is that the future of animation won’t be like the recent past. That was tried and it didn’t work.

Secondly, artists need to prepare themselves to survive the cull. Every downturn eliminates those whose skills aren’t up to snuff and people who aren’t versatile enough to reinvent themselves to suit the coming wave. I remember artists saying, “I draw on paper. I’ll never use a computer to draw.” Those were the first ones cut in the digital purge and they never got hired back. A few years ago, anyone who could hold a pencil could get a job in animation on streaming shows. Draftsmanship and a diversity of styles weren’t required. But when the business bounces back, being average won’t cut it. The artists with chops are going to be the first ones hired, and many who believed they had established a firm career in animation are going to be left behind. Don’t be complacent. It’s not enough to establish a career. You have to work to maintain it. The second you take it for granted, you risk losing it forever. That is no exaggeration.

Instead of sitting on your hands waiting for the phone to ring, you should be working even harder to be the first pick to be called back. Go to life drawing classes, visit art museums to study masterful compositions and poses, learn to draw in new genres and styles, and research new technology so you’ll be able to be its master instead of being afraid of it. This is a chance to recharge your batteries creatively. Grab that opportunity with both hands. Find a way to survive until the drought ends and devote every spare moment to becoming a better artist. Don’t get distracted by side interests or hobbies during downtime. This is when you should be focusing on your goals, not playing. It sounds weird, but layoffs are the time you need to get to work.

I’ve devoted a big chunk of my life to Animation Resources, trying to help artists invest in themselves. Recently, I’ve gotten notes from members saying, “Sorry! I got laid off. I can’t afford $100 a year any more.” I sympathize with their problems, but I can’t think of a worse time to discontinue your membership. When things were busy and everyone was employed, these same people would say, “I’m working too much. I don’t have time to look at the Reference Packs.” If being employed is the wrong time to invest in your skills and recharge your creativity, and being unemployed is the wrong time too, then when is the right time?

The volunteers at Animation Resources work all the time curating material to help artists be better at what they do. It doesn’t matter if we’re working or not. We carve out time from our schedule to give back to the muse. The artists we serve should do the same, or they’ll risk being on the wrong side of the next wave.

Members Appreciation

For the past decade, Animation Resources has been serving artists working in the fields of animation, cartooning and illustration. Our volunteers and members have pulled together to raise the bar for our art form, and it’s time to celebrate… It’s Members Appreciation time again!

During the month of February, Animation Resources expresses our appreciation for to members with a very special Reference Pack, and we invite you to become a member too. For the next 30 days, we will be sharing reasons why you should join us. Our benefits of membership far exceed the cost of our annual dues.

Dollar Days

This year, we are trying something new to encourage new memberships. You can join for a one week trial membership for only A DOLLAR! Yes, you get access to everything our annual members get for seven days for only a buck. (Click here for the details on our Dollar Days.) What are you waiting for?

You can find out what our members get at the Member Appreciation Page. It’s easy to join. Just click on this link and you can sign up right now online…


JOIN TODAY!
https://animationresources.org/membership/levels/

Members Appreciation Month

PayPalAnimationAnimation Resources depends on your contributions to support its projects. Even if you can’t afford to join our group right now, please click the button below to donate whatever you can afford using PayPal.


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Posted by Stephen Worth @ 1:44 pm

February 22nd, 2024

Members Click Here Membership Email Join Us!

A Career In Animation: Fans vs. Pros

A Career In Animation Fans vs Pro

Last night in our Discord discussion, one of our members asked me a question that is one I think about a lot. The person who asked is a young artist looking to break into animation as a career. He said that the material Animation Resources shares excites him a lot and it inspires him in his own work, but when he tries to share it with fellow students, the look at it with a puzzled expression and say, “What does this have to do with what I do?” He wanted to know why they didn’t see in the material what he saw in it.

I hesitated before answering, because I have a theory on that but it isn’t a very popular opinion… The hard truth is that not everyone who studies animation is an artist. The majority of students studying animation are fans.

PROS PLAY THE GAME. FANS ONLY WATCH.

An artist looks at the world around him, absorbing life and the personalities he sees. Artists soak up creativity of all kinds… not just animation, but live action films, comics, fine art, dance, music, sculpture, acting, writing, even architecture. All of these inspiring things combine to create the artist’s frame of reference. No one knows exactly how it all works, but this is the pool of ideas that he calls upon to inspire him to create something totally new and totally his.

But a lot of animation students, perhaps the vast majority of them, are different than that. They grew up watching anime or golden age cartoons or Disney features and dreamed of making films like that themselves. They watched the DVD supplements and read the animation “history” books published by the studios and decided to become an animator… but not an animator in the sense of creating things… an animator who makes things exactly like the things they grew up loving. They practice drawing the familiar shapes used in anime or Disney style or Warner Bros cartoons, and learn to do a more than passable job of imitating poses from the films they watched as a kid. But if they’re asked to come up with a new design or draw something in a different style, they can’t do it. Their whole focus has been on the one thing they loved as a kid. They haven’t become an animator, they’ve become a professional fan of those particular films.

What happens to people like that? Well, if a show is in production that happens to match the style they’ve modeled themselves upon, they’re in luck. They might get a job assisting an artist, tying down the lead artist’s rough drawings using the stylistic formulas they’ve trained themselves to imitate. But the problem is, styles change.

Since I started in animation in the 1980s, I’ve seen a bunch of styles come and go. For a while round cute characters were the vogue, then flat stylized, UPA influenced characters and characters with angular shoulders and elbows replaced them. “Wacky” cartoons dominated with funny animal duos for a while, until they were replaced by animated sitcoms… noodle arms, anime influenced, CalArts style… lines with thicks and thins, dead line, volumetric characters, flat ones… Every few years a new style came along and replaced the old one. People who had trained themselves to draw in only one style got swept aside and new artists replaced them.

There’s nothing wrong with being a fan of animation. That’s where all of us start. But if you want to make it a career, you need to go beyond that. You have to have your eyes on the horizon, focusing on the NEXT big style, not training yourself to draw in the LAST big style.

A Career In Animation Fans vs Pro

I’ve never seen a study that tracked what happens to people who earn animation degrees, but my informal polling indicates that the majority of these students never end up working in animation. Even at the best schools, the percentage is probably less than half, and at some schools they’re lucky if a single person in an entire graduating class lands a job in animation. Considering that a four year degree in animation costs more than $100,000, that can be devastating for a young student who suddenly realizes their focus has been on all the wrong things the whole four years of schooling.

Even worse, I’ve had some students tell me that they are getting an animation degree to become an “animation historian”. That horrifies me because there are only a handful of people I know who do that professionally, and the ones I know live hand to mouth surviving on side jobs to pay the bills. Just watching all the supplements on DVDs and memorizing the info in books on animation isn’t enough to support a career,. Pile $100k of student debt on top of that and it’s a recipe for disaster.

A few years ago, I heard a director at a big cartoon studio say that just about anyone who could hold a pencil could get a job in animation. The studios were pumping out dozens and dozens of animated TV series with as many as 65 half hour episodes of each. Recently, that bubble burst and many series were cancelled and artists were laid off. Today, competition for the few remaining jobs is fierce. Only the best of the best survive.

A Career In Animation Fans vs Pro

SO WHO ARE “THE BEST OF THE BEST”?

They’re the people who think like artists, not like fans. They aren’t invested in drawing in one particular style, their skills are based on a firm grasp of the fundamentals of art that allows them to work in many styles. They’re the people who are experienced and can meet deadlines and deliver a product that doesn’t require the supervisor to extensively revise their work. They’re the people who invested in themselves with an organized program of self study… life drawing, absorbing art of all kinds, analyzing and breaking down styles to build versatility, a focus on moving forward up the ladder and aspiring to become a greater artist… exactly the kind of person who totally understands what Animation Resources is doing.

If you are a young artist who expects to build a lasting career in animation and you look at the stuff Animation Resources shares and you don’t understand how it applies to you, you need to figure it out quick. You’re a deer in the headlights. Animation won’t change to fit you, you need to change to fit it. The material we are sharing has been selected by successful animators who know their stuff and have survived the changes over the years. We don’t have a lot of members in our organization, but the ones we have are “the best of the best”. If you want to be among their ranks, you need to sit down and figure out what they know that you don’t.

Think like an artist, don’t think like a fan. A good start at doing that is signing up for a membership in Animation Resources.

Members Appreciation

For the past decade, Animation Resources has been serving artists working in the fields of animation, cartooning and illustration. Our volunteers and members have pulled together to raise the bar for our art form, and it’s time to celebrate… It’s Members Appreciation time again!

During the month of February, Animation Resources expresses our appreciation for to members with a very special Reference Pack, and we invite you to become a member too. For the next 30 days, we will be sharing reasons why you should join us. Our benefits of membership far exceed the cost of our annual dues.

Dollar Days

This year, we are trying something new to encourage new memberships. You can join for a one week trial membership for only A DOLLAR! Yes, you get access to everything our annual members get for seven days for only a buck. (Click here for the details on our Dollar Days.) What are you waiting for?

You can find out what our members get at the Member Appreciation Page. It’s easy to join. Just click on this link and you can sign up right now online…


JOIN TODAY!
https://animationresources.org/membership/levels/

Members Appreciation Month

PayPalAnimationAnimation Resources depends on your contributions to support its projects. Even if you can’t afford to join our group right now, please click the button below to donate whatever you can afford using PayPal.


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Posted by Stephen Worth @ 11:41 am