adventure and absurdity in making an animated short

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

10 things I've learned in making a short film: # 6

6) It has to be a hobby you love

Here we come back to the Why Goal? It has taken me 10 + years to make Leonardo. During that time people have asked me if I am tired of it or impressed that I have stuck it out. I tell them, "Some people love to go fishing, I work on my short." It's not the best analogy perhaps since unlike fishing or another hobby there is an ending, at least for the one short. But the point is like a hobby you enjoy the doing of it and not necessarily the end result. Enjoy the process. This isn't to say there aren't frustrations, your line gets tangled, the fish gets away, but on the whole it is a very interesting, challenging, pleasurable thing to do. If this is not the case for you and you would rather spend your vacation, well...fishing, instead of working on a chunk of animation then perhaps making an animated short film isn't for you. Also, if you are more concerned with getting it done and winning the oscar or something then chances are you won't finish it or it will turn out crap. Because it can be a long, tough, lonely slog and I believe you really have to enjoy participating and watching the evolution and maturing of the project. Roll with the failures, thank them for teaching you something and pick yourself up and go again. It has to end though because that too is part of the process of filmmaking. So you also have to cut bait ( i really didn't intend to keep the fishing analogy going this long but roll with it) and move on to a new pond.

These last few lessons are tricks really. When I was growing up my family prided itself with procrastination, "Why do something today if you can put it off to tomorrow" was a familiar familial phrase. So I had to find ways to fake myself out to alter my habits. Now, I can't see living any other way.


7) Utilize what you have

This can also be termed "Use what you know."


Blogger Lucas Martell said...

Great insights Jim, thanks for posting these. I'm also about a month from finishing my animated short (www.pigeonimpossible.com) and its been a grueling 4 year process. Staying motivated and productive has definitely been the toughest part. Now that you've almost finished the slog, do you think you'd ever do it again?

7:20 PM  
Blogger Gianfranco Goria said...

Good! You are linked at www.afnews.info, today . :-)

6:05 AM  
Blogger JmC said...

Lucas - checked out your site. very swank. nice stuff. i don't think i could do the vid pod cast. don't want people to see me in my ginch. best of luck to you. we should have a double feature! see you on the festival circuit maybe.

Gianfranco - grazie! this is awesome. i am very excited to show leonardo in italy. i am friendly with the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza in Florence. They want to show it there. I'll let you know!

8:43 AM  
Blogger AndyDV said...

I've enjoyed all your tips but this one in particular strikes a chord with me. Sometimes I just don't think I enjoy animation, and the hardest part is always getting started. The more grueling projects I do, the more insight I have into just how long, hard and painful a concept is probably going to be...so I quickly fall into the "needs to be the perfect idea" trap and all of the sudden a year has gone by and I've got NOTHING to show for it.

Anyway, through all the pain and frustration and, oh, lack of talent, I still have an unrelenting itch to make a good short, and your words of wisdom are getting me on my way to thinking about getting ready to consider getting started.

So Thanks!

7:56 PM  
Blogger flashcartoons said...

i understand this step very well

somedays i just can't animate, even though i try so hard to convince myself

6:39 AM  

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