Thursday, March 05, 2009

Goals of A Shorts Program 3 - To Discover Talent

Goals of a Shorts Program:

To Discover Top Talent (this seems such an obvious goal; why is it so hard for studios to do it?)

Execs today have a vague idea that they want to discover the next great cartoon creator but they don't really know how to recognize one - and if they are lucky enough to discover one, they wouldn't know what to do with him (or her).

I can use my own experiences as examples from someone who has done exactly what they all say they want.

I pitched to a few studios within the last couple years and all the execs laughed like crazy at each project.

After wiping the tears from their eyes, they then told me boldly that they loved my pitches (and my pants) but were looking for something "fresh" and completely new. They wanted the "next John K." Seriously! They had the gumption to say that to my face. People sitting in offices that I paid for.

Well, it's been 19 years since the first one popped on the scene. Where is the new one? Are they gonna wait another 19?

Execs don't really understand what they are looking for. They think every hit cartoon has to come from an inspiration and has to completely revolutionize the industry every time. Of course if someone pitched them one that would change everything for real, they would turn it down.

They also think that they will get the revolutionary idea out of someone's first day on the job - or while the kid is still in high school or college. They use Ren and Stimpy as the model and freely tell me so.

I think they think I was fresh out of high school when I made Ren and Stimpy and that it was some flash of inspiration that just appeared in my head, all ready to change the way every cartoon was done before. It wasn't. It took me 9 years to sell the damn thing and I was developing it and letting it evolve naturally the whole time. Plus, I was studying al the classics while gaining experience in every department of every studio in town. And It was never intended as a revolution. I was just trying to go back to common sense and do cartoons with the audience in mind, make them laugh - give them some fun and intriguing characters. It was only a revolution because the cartoons being made at the time weren't even trying to be entertaining - and didn't use a production system that encouraged and preserved creativity.

Here is what the execs are missing when they look for directors for their "creator-driven" cartoons.

To Find A Director with Experience as Well as Raw Talent (next post)

There is s a lot more to say about how to make an efficient sensible shorts program, but I am going to break it up into point by point bits to make it all sink in easier. I don't mind giving away my secrets because I know no one will do it sensibly anyway.