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Friday, April 29, 2005

Good Readin'

I've run across a number of online articles recently that have been poignant, insightful, and worth the temporary break from work. First up, an interview with Brad Bird (Iron Giant, Incredibles) at Ready Made (link courtesy of Luxo). There's been an overflow of interviews with this director-extraordinaire, obviously because of the success of the Incredibles. But this one is short and sweet and has some nice anecdotes, straight from the Bird's mouth:

RM: Were you a troublemaker?

BB: I got fired for quote rocking the boat unquote. They were basically saying that if I'd stop complaining about quality, I could hold onto my job. I said, "I'm complaining about stuff your master animators taught me to complain about. So either I'm getting fired or I'm selling out everything you guys supposedly stand for.

This next article was a link shared by Jerry Beck from Cartoon Brew. It's a long one (an 11-part article) but it's short compared to the 14-year rollercoaster ride that its author, Phil Vischer, has journeyed. Phil was the man behind one of the most succesful Christian animated properties, VeggieTales produced at Big Idea. What Killed Big Idea! is a difficult read in a sense that you can feel the pain and the stress that Phil endured (laying off 30 employees in one day, almost having to sell his house for a desperate loan, sitting in a room with a bunch of lawyers as his company was being auctioned off). Painful stuff. But I appreciate his candor.

For the record, I'm sorry. A lot of wonderful people brought their dreams to Big Idea. And almost all of them were deeply affected both by the persistent organizational chaos and by the trauma of the slow, painful collapse. The ultimate responsibility for both lie with me. And I'm really, really sorry. Just as Big Idea really wasn't ready to tackle the production challenge of Jonah, I really wasn't ready to tackle the management challenge of Big Idea.

There. Now I've said it.

Two very different articles. Two experiences to learn from.


Blogger E said...

Yeah I was on the sharp end of that die-off of veggie tales. I was at cornerstone animating the 2D version of veggie tales "Larry Boy" using Flash, when we got the word that Big Idea had layed off a bunch of workers. We knew we would be next. I was lucky because I got that gig on Megas at CN just before the shit hit the fan.

Sometimes I think our business hates us animators.


p.s. if you can't already tell, I have a blog now! Snickabah!

12:22 PM  

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