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Monday, April 27, 2015

Fare Thee Well...

Dear excellent young people.

I have some good news and some bad news.

I’ll give you the bad news first.
Not everyone here is going to have a long and/or lasting career in commercial animation.

That’s all the bad news I have for you.

Here’s the good news.
That’s ok.
It’s really ok, I promise.
If you don’t direct a commercial or create a pilot for Nickelodeon or design the next iteration of Mickey Mouse you are letting down nobody.
Not yourself, not your parents and, if it is a concern, not me either.
To paraphrase comedian Marc Maron "Animation is not your parents".
You don't need to seek it's approval.
You have no expectations to live up to.
It's not going to pat you on the back and say "Well done, kid".
Occasionally it might take you out for icecream but that's it.

I never really outwardly lectured on this or even vocalized it specifically, but if there’s one thing that all my grumbling and eye rolling and “Why the hell are you watching that?” has been about is that there’s more to this artform than the stuff they shove at you on TV and the multiplexes.
The thing you can do if you’re not working commercially is to continue to make stuff.
Contribute to the story of animation.
The collective voice.
The collective voice is much louder and more important than any single commercial project (which in themselves are part of the collective voice).
Make things and let people see them, either via the internet or festivals or whatever other platform the world has yet to offer you.
Make things to be discovered by an audience.
Make things that other young people will see and think “Oh. I love that. I want to make animation”.
And support the medium by supporting others who make things.
Yes. Go see Toy Story 7 and 8 and 9.
Fine. I’ll probably end up seeing them too.
You’ll see me bitching about it on Facebook.
But never forget to go see whatever Amanda Bautista is doing, or Tomm Moore is doing or, if you’re not already sick to death of me, what I’m doing.
Try and get to the Ottawa Animation Festival or ANY animation festival. Even if you don't have a film playing.
The only way you’re going to let anyone down is to dry up and become inert.

If you're feeling miserable about the whole thing then go watch the Wayne White documentary and you'll be good again soon enough.

So that’s my thing.
Whatever you become and wherever you go please be sure to remember that you are all excellent human beings.
It has been a pleasure taking this journey with you.
Please stay in touch.

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