Good gawd when was my last post?
Is there a new moderator these days? Well, as the old mod who just flat-out disappeared, I can tell you what happened from my point of view. Goes kinda like this (personal stuff partly included):
1) I had too much time and too few friends, so mograph was fun. Plus I like to evangelize.
2) It was all great great fun for two years, but wow was it a lot of work managing the Reels section.
3) I got all politics and economics and found myself only posting about that, which wasn't really what the site was about (kinda wanted to post in the bitcoin thread just now, such a nostalgic feeling).
4) I came into a bunch of dough, so there were other things to do. I also came into a crew of friends who were, let's just say, very demanding of time. Now they have boyfriends or have moved on.
5) I started to work way too much. Like no time to get haircuts, water plants or sleep. This one reason alone killed off nearly all my enthusiasm for the field.
6) I lost my freaking mind over a few girls.
7) Motionographer happened.
There are generalizable things amid this self indulgence.
I think a lot of us worked too much. There's this scene in the first Bourne movie when Clive Owen's character is dying in the corn field. His last words are, 'Look what they make you give...' I felt like that about ALL the places I worked between about 2006-2011, when there seems to have been a big break, and hours all over LA went all normal. I just got cranky (anyone else)? If I see a project where the powers that be set things up in such a way that I'll be giving it a shit-ton of work, get no overtime, lose weekends, get four hours of sleep, eat poorly, lose motor function in my wrist, leave the cat unfed and lose track of all social connections, just so some crappy sports package can spew out of screens at a major stadium or a badly lit video can can get rotoed, I'm tempted to resign and revisit any bookings I turned down. I wasn't bringing my A game to those jobs. The producers weren't bringing even their C game to the budgeting and time management decisions (and in the case of one place, they weren't bringing even their D game to their moral decisions). Hey let's all team up and take a stand about this, eh? And maybe even this one place in LA will upgrade their 2007 vintage Mac Pros at long last so their animators can get their work done. But as I said, hours have normalized in recent years, at least in my town.
There was a first generation of motion graphics people who were self taught. In those days, it was Designers Who Learned How To Extrude, Video Dudes with Big Ideas (Mark Simpson on Creative Cow comes to mind), Bored Editors, and other random types. Then I saw a big change. It was 2005 I think when I walked through a mexican restaurant in Silverlake and saw that the FRONT COVER of the freaking LA Weekly was about 'motion.' I read the article with a shudder. All the kids at all the LA design schools were flooding into our field, and all the advertising and traditional graphics classes were emptying out. Why the LA Weekly thought this was newsworthy I still don't know, wasn't there a huge SoCal Gas billing scandal that week? I could see then that the world would change. Those of us who started at the turn of the century (and the ex Pittard guys who were even earlier) were gonna see an influx of highly motivated, dedicated, well-taught kiddies. Well, they're now well into their careers, and they're kicking ass, and we've all had to up our games, as we should.
Way back when, I used to beat the drum that this was just a craft, not an art form (maybe even Ted Gore thinks that now). But it still fired us all up because we still knew it was the new big thing. Now more than ever, it really is just a craft. That's probably bothered a lot of people.
Also way back when, I used to beat the drum that we really sucked at telling stories. Instead, god knows, when the next cool but meaningless trick came along, we'd all rush to do it. You know what? We still suck at telling stories. There's one guy whose kiddie reel was all the euro-style stuff, early Aix Sponza-ish, ultimately just an updated version of those floating chunks of 'abstract' stuff that used to populate Renderosity. He's now pulling in a cool hundred thou plus, and I don't think he's been asked to tell a story in graphics in all that time. And by 'tell a story' I don't meen narratively, linearly, but to build an idea organically from within some attribute of the product, the way, for example, guys like Danny Yount demand his design team do it. In that way, the tricks and cool stuff has some reason to be there, not simply because we can put them there.
Also, back in the early aughts we could all work solo to create things. Now, good luck. It can still be done, but the world is now built around teams and pipelines, Maya and Houdini lead into Nuke and then to the edit, and that's half our world now. The Cinema crowd still operate as animator/compositor islands, but in the better places I've worked, that process is also much too large for one person to do it all. Incidentally, the Cinema crowd also get the 'remaining elements' on broadcast packages, meaning everything that's left after the Franchise Open, but then I think we all want to avoid working on branding packages, especially if it's for E!
Lastly, as I went along, I knew less and less. Our world fragmented so much. I left off without learning character animation, and learning new things meant less crazy fun in my apartment. Is that generalizable? I think a lot of people kinda max out on tutorials after awhile. For my part, I'll be diving back into a lot of things I left aside.
But then Betty said it better and shorter, hey motherfuckers.