What I tell myself everyday.

To all the people watching, I can never ever thank you enough for the kindness to me, I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask is one thing, and this is.. I'm asking this particularily of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism - for the record it's my least favorite quality, it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen." - Conan 'O'Brien

January 18, 2011

Closure.. for now.

Its been a while since the last flurry of posts. A lot of contemplating the last few weeks and taking a short break while adding the finishing touches to the animation short.

Honestly it was getting a bit depressing writing those posts and listening to replies and comments. I got suck a little into feeling aggrieved with the situation.

My primary motivation to write was a selfish one. Initially it was an outlet for venting my frustrations as well as putting down my thoughts so that I can hope to find a answer to various questions. And that I can appease some guilt I have when some talented and hardworking graduates are having difficulty finding stable jobs while more schools are churning out graduates by the bucket load seemingly caring only about how much cash they can get from the students and government.

Initially I thought this was my way to help potential students understand what the industry is like. To examine themselves to see if they are good enough or have the initial ability to be polished or taught to be able to compete for a job.
If I was a supervisor reviewing reels of potential people to hire, I have to make an informed choice of who who be a good fit of the department and will work within the confine of the system. And everyone else essientially was " not good enough or too expensive or pain in the butt to work with, better luck next time".

I thought my responsibility as a educator was to train they to be at a level to be able to get that job. Or that 1st step in the industry. And not be the ones not selected.

And also questioning if I can continue my path into education and away from production work with a clear conscience.

It took an extremely enlightening talk by my ex-lecturer/now-boss to make me realise how arrogant it was of me to feel that way and how narrow my vision is. It is not just constrained or restrained to animation/vfx. I have become so small and less confidence at at the future of the industry in my own eyes that I could not move away from this and become angry or frustrated at the situation. Saying stuff like if you are not good or talented enough do not bother with animation. What does to all do?

Crush people's dreams and aspirations? And who am I to tell people that they cannot do it? That they cannot make it?

This post at cartoonbrew about Yoshiyuki Tomino's well meaning but pragmatic response to a aspiring animation student's dilemma came at the right time and lets me know how to write this post. And more importantly the many different and opinionated responses in the comments.

The basic human right is having the freedom to make choices. I have come to believe that there is no right or wrong choices. Just choices that affect you in many different ways. Regretting and hoping that you did not pick this path or that you wised things work out better or wishing that the government gave more benefits is a moot point. Because we do not actually have a time machine to go back and fix stuff. But if you go back and tell your past self not to do choose this path will he/her believe it and then that will royally screw up the whole space time continuum.

But what we cannot deny is hope. It is one of the most basic human feeling that drives the whole race.

Having a choice to make and making a educated choice pursing what you want/interested in is I feel the fulfillment of potential. Whether you make it or not, is secondary because you won't know unless you have tried.

At the core, it is still a idealistic mindset and I refuse to lose it despite how cynical I become. Because without this, what is there to work for? To live for?
Have a read about the lost generation in Japan. People of your age and mind and even younger. What prospects or even choices do they have?

I say sod it. Not to the industry. But to the worries. I refuse to be a slave to my worries.

Nor worry about this industry in future. Things will be how they will be. All I feel could be done is equip the students with the long road ahead and encourage them to walk down this path fully knowing the path ahead won't be smooth sailing. But rather then worry and be cynical about it, take it with a smile. There are other shit out there to worry about soon enough.


  1. I think your lecturer is right - some people will be graduating students trying to get a job and not worry about a bleak future as an animation slave with long hours, endless retraining and increasing competition.
    Others will be their boss.
    It's a symbiotic relationship.
    "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw

  2. "...how much cash they can get from ...government."
    How long before the Singapore government realises there's no profit in animation as a service and stop the subsidies?

  3. How does an aspiring artist bridge the gap between distribution and commerce?
    We have to be very clever about those things. You have to remember that it’s only a few hundred years, if that much, that artists are working with money. Artists never got money. Artists had a patron, either the leader of the state or the duke of Weimar or somewhere, or the church, the pope. Or they had another job. I have another job. I make films. No one tells me what to do. But I make the money in the wine industry. You work another job and get up at five in the morning and write your script.

    This idea of Metallica or some rock n’ roll singer being rich, that’s not necessarily going to happen anymore. Because, as we enter into a new age, maybe art will be free. Maybe the students are right. They should be able to download music and movies. I’m going to be shot for saying this. But who said art has to cost money? And therefore, who says artists have to make money?

    In the old days, 200 years ago, if you were a composer, the only way you could make money was to travel with the orchestra and be the conductor, because then you’d be paid as a musician. There was no recording. There were no record royalties. So I would say, “Try to disconnect the idea of cinema with the idea of making a living and money.” Because there are ways around it.

  4. Is this a Paradox?

    Nurturing talents to ensure the longevity of the industry therefore becomes an imperative mission, and this is synonymous to the mandate of 3dsense Media School...a philosophy that has produced numerous distinguished alumni and graduates who are today LIVING their aspirations as CG artists in many renowned studios ALL OVER THE WORLD... the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) has officially appointed 3dsense Media School ...with the task of enhancing the capabilities of THE LOCAL WORKFORCE... to grow a pool of skilled animators to meet the digital media sector's manpower and skills needs for the future."

  5. Singapore animation student paradox explained...

    Hiring in the outsource industry explained...

    ...by a VFX expert:

    A REAL explanation of VFX hiring: