Let's start off with the obvious question at hand: Why am I doing this? On top of my full time job as an animation director at LAIKA/house, along with my blogging duties on The Ward-O-Matic, not to mention my permanent titles as husband and father on the personal side -- why on earth would I want to forge through in making an animated film?
There is a great short film by legendary designer and filmmaker Saul Bass called WHY MAN CREATES -- it won an Oscar for Best Short Film in 1968 -- about this sort of thing. Bass explores several venues regarding the issue of creativity in this film. The main jist of WHY MAN CREATES is that there is a desire by mankind to emphasize the individual, to stand out from the typical crowd and make a mark upon this earth. As human beings, it is in our blood to establish who we are and where we've been. From the ancient cave drawings to Greek temples to towering skyscrapers -- throughout entire generations, all of it is basically saying the same thing: I WAS HERE. The most simplistic and base ideal known to man -- identity. Knowledge of self, knowledge of awareness, knowledge of existence. And out of that self awareness, man creates.
For the Artist, this desire to create consumes his/her entire being. It is an uncontrollable urge that makes him want to record his surroundings in ways only he knows how.
That's pretty much the academic take on it. Honestly? I just want to work on something that I can call my own. To create characters in my style, and animate them however I want. To be able to work on something where I don't have to answer to anyone. I'm calling the shots here. No art directors, no producers, no creative directors to answer to! Freedom. Liberation. Joy. And once it's done, there'll be such a feeling of accomplishment you can't even imagine. I look forward to that moment -- it's what will drive me throughout the entire process of making this film.
More about WHY MAN CREATES:
One lone ping pong ball stands out among the crowd in a segment of WHY MAN CREATES titled, "A Parable."
The film is split up into eight different segments -- the first one, "The Edifice," features a great bit of animation by Fred Crippen who used to work at UPA back in the 50's. It contains one of the longest pans in animation history, I'm sure, as the camera pans up, up, up, through the centuries. We witness the basis of all our creative output by a single cave drawing of a hunt: a recording of an event that sets forth a chain of events that ultimately ends up at the top of an enigmatic column. There's some great humor and satire in the piece, setting the pace for the rest of the film.
Saul Bass finds a great balance in this film between the humorous pieces and serious debate about the creative process in general. In one section, we hear several scientists and doctors talk about the various projects that they've been working on for years and how it's lead them to dead ends. The voice over then asks each interviewee the big question: "What are you going to do now?" It's wild to hear one answer rather sullenly: "I don't know."
In the section "Fooling Around," Bass stops the film to poke fun at a woman being interviewed.
Here's what Bass thinks of critics.
You can order a copy of WHY MAN CREATES directly from the Pyramid Media website. A word of caution, however -- it's mighty pricey. Little bit of trivia about this film: a young, budding filmmaker was credited as the camera operator. Who might this filmmaker be? Why, none other than George Lucas.
More on Saul Bass's career HERE.
Nicely designed site utilizing some of Bass's graphic elements HERE.
I've given it much thought about whether or not I should share my thoughts during the course of production of my short film here on this blog. Problem is, I can never find enough time to work on the thing. It's beginning to bother me, but I'm trying not to let it get me down. I did start up a production blog for the film, but don't bother looking for it. It's private and I've only invited a few family members. Once I get the ball rolling with actual artwork to show, maybe then I'll make it public and share with you all the concept of what I've been working on all this time. In the meantime, just keep checking the Ward-O-Matic and maybe I'll drop a few hints about the project from time to time.