Monday, January 31, 2011

Who said artists have to make money

Reading a talk by Francis Ford Coppola, he had this hilariously true thought.

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.

(emphasis added)


cuts to the heart of the matter. We don't do this because we want to be rich and famous, we do it becauseit's in us and it has to come out. We're making art because we want to communicate, to communicate you need someone to hear you, why not get rid of everything in the way between you two?

It's nice to make a living doing something you like, but Coppola's has a good point that if someone else is fronting the cash, they can have a lot of influence. I'm not saying don't collaborate, I'm just saying work for the art not for the money.

other interesting thoughts he had:

The cinema language happened by experimentation – by people not knowing what to do. But unfortunately, after 15-20 years, it became a commercial industry. People made money in the cinema, and then they began to say to the pioneers, “Don’t experiment. We want to make money. We don’t want to take chances.”

An essential element of any art is risk. If you don’t take a risk then how are you going to make something really beautiful, that hasn’t been seen before? I always like to say that cinema without risk is like having no sex and expecting to have a baby. You have to take a risk.

I was never afraid of risks. I always had a good philosophy about risks. The only risk is to waste your life, so that when you die, you say, “Oh, I wish I had done this.”

You now have all the resources to do your own production, writing, directing. What’s the biggest barrier to being an artist?

Self-confidence always. The artist always battles his own/her own feeling of inadequacy.

*found by Muddy Colors

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Social Media future distribution

* apologies if this isn't clear and succint kinda more raw ideas then thesis essay

Read this. That sent me to here and this on Kevin Smith, who is skipping the whole regular distribution for his new movie, is instead wandering around to different towns with it and selling tickets for $70, because he has such a humongous following through social media when he rolls into he just throws out a tweet and he has enough fans out there that he can fill a theater.

"Smith's argument was that this old model of marketing movies, where you spend four times the budget of your film on advertising, forcing you to make five times what your film cost just to break even, was ridiculous, and he wanted to try something new. "

"It could give birth to an entirely new generation of writer-directors, guys like Gareth Edwards and Neil Bloomkamp, who have a unique voice and realize that with emerging technology, they can make their movies on the cheap and distribute them outside the studio system, building followers on social media outlets through teaser scenes, short films, and word of mouth, then use those outlets to directly advertise screenings, whether they be in real theaters or online. "

The other article talks about kids these days consume their music on youtube, they don't buy it, they want the whole music video combo. And about how some artists are interacting with their fans, creating jointly. Diana Gabaldon did this with one of her novels.

Looks like it's starting to happen maybe, people are starting to figure out how to work in the new media world, which is of course not going to be the same as things worked in the old media. This article talks about authors who are making a living at it, who haven't yet printed dead tree books, all digital, and despite regular publishers turning them down, they are putting their stuff out through amazon and making a living.


To make a living you only need a couple thousand people all willing to kick a few coins into the tip jar. If you think of things that way, that you only have to find people who are on your wavelength, then it free's you to work on something that is completely uniquely personal to you. It doesn't free you from having to have good craft. But it does free you from having to second guess common/lowest denominator. Because you just need to find the people that your voice really resonates with.

The internet has made the world so tiny, people from across the globe read this little nothing blog. The internet allows us to connect and collaborate with our fellow man without ever meeting them in the flesh. And that seems to be one of the keys, people want to be part of it, when you read/watch a story it becomes part of you, the characters become your friends, how much better to be able to be part of it, not just a mute passive voyeur in the story but part of the creative foundation it springs from.

Obviously you aren't going to get a following like Kevin Smith. But if you have little tasters to get some interest (like honkbarn), and invite collaboration to get invested fans that promote you and just for the joy of working with a team. Talking money, there's the Homestar plan with the pushing the IP with hoodies and stuff, and the minushi approach where you give them enough that they need to buy it to finish it, and the youtube approach where you try and drive views and sell ads. Minushi had a smart approach by breaking it up into episodes, reminds me of old fashioned radio shows, but Dr. Horrible & the Guild show that you don't even have to do that, new media means you can be in new format lengths that fit what you want.

the gatekeepers have fallen, the tool barrier has fallen, the barrier now is drowning in noise and the solution to that is speaking with your heart

hone your craft, find your voice, find your people, make it happen.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wake up

"Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. there is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there."

— Henry Miller, Sexus

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lackadaisy Facial Expression Tut

Tracy Butler writes this totally awesome comic called Lackadaisy Cats (100% recommend it, great art & fun story)

Anyway, she just threw up a tutorial on facial expressions, lot of great stuff in there. Here's a teaser (thought my fellow animators would appreciate this one). Run and check out the whole thing.

She seemms to be coming at it through pure intuition. Getting to the same place, but from the opposite direction as Ekman & Faigin. She also is doing that Preston Blair trick of drawing the whole eyeball, then occluding it with cheeks and lids.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sam Nielson - Character Design Thoughts

Sam Nielson has a blog post where he talks about character design.

"I realize now that my problem wasn't my skill or lack thereof; it was a lack of knowledge, and more importantly, purpose.

What I needed to do instead to come up with a better design was have a more solid concept of who and what that character was supposed to be.

I started to think about character types that fit with orangutans

If I was doing this character design for work I'd probably do about 20 more iterations to improve the idea and replace (where possible) stereotypical elements with more surprising ideas that filled the same purpose."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mallika Sarabhai - art gets through your defenses

her performance style goes over the top for my taste (probably culture difference), but the point she makes is very strong I think

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Wouldn't it make sense to figure out what kind of expressions humans make by first looking at what muscles they have in their face and then just seeing what all those muscles do?
Dude named Paul Ekman did that, wrote Emotions Revealed (which I recommend). That over exaggerated Lie To Me show is based on him. He developed a system to teach people how to read faces, for police and airline folks and stuff, called FACS-Facial Action Coding System. Best walk thru I can find online is here (and now I'll be able to find it next time) because the real one is pricey.

(nother great resource for learning how the muscles of the face shape the expressions on it.)

looks like Ekman's expanded and shifted his training thing around, FACS & FACE etc. point is, he's the dude that cracked the face

Stop mo Puppet tut

More and more tut's are popping up walking through making a puppet. This one by Richard Svensson is a nice foam build up (so you don't have to deal with the alchemy stuff of foam latex) but with casted latex skin so you can get nice bendy fingers or faces.


Awesome 22 min stopmo out of Spain by Conflictivos. Their blog (in Spanish). (caution: has a naked sex scene)

Vicenta from Conflictivos Productions on Vimeo.

lotta stopmo outta spain: Juan Soto, O Appostolo, Puppets and Clay

* found by lineboil

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Yoni Goodman

I've been wanting to learn hand drawn. Ran across Yoni Goodman's stuff, so fluid and straight, just the joy of animating, makes me want to try it. (course looks like he's spending 2 hours on these, don't have that time right now)

The other awesome thing about these is just the observation, you can see he's watching his kids and putting it into his work.

* found by on animation

Monday, January 10, 2011

Robert Beverly Hale

University I went to taught art with the "do what you feel" approach. So actual useful anotomy I learned from Robert Beverly Hale. I drew most of the plates from his Artistic Anatomy book (he has another Anatomy Lessons from the Great Masters which is cool). And I found these vids in the library. And now they're online, love da internet!

2 of 7
3 of 7
4 of 7
5 of 7
6 of 7
7 of 7

*in the end I prefer Loomis' proportion system based on the head then Hale's based on shoulder blade, but I learned a lot about anatomy useful for artists from Hale

Monday, January 3, 2011

One by One - Disney

Very pretty. Was meant for the Fantasia 2006 which never happened.

*found by On Animation

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Daisuke “dice” Tsutsumi color designer for some animated films. Awesome sense of light.

Lines and Colors an artists blog looking at past masters