I have been thinking of this since quite sometime and the more i think the more i fail to understand. Ok, now before you give up to understand what i am talking about and leave my blog i will get to the point -
Why there is so less activity/involvement of artists based in India, in the online forums, blogs, etc ? Now since my field of interest is Animation, I may be speaking more about Animators, but i am sure even other areas like Modeling, Rigging, Lighting and so on, the forums are not filled with 1000 of artists and their posts all sharing their passion and knowledge of their art.
Now everybody is talking about India when the topic of "hot spots" for animation is discussed, but where is the collective effort. I don't see any collaborative effort happening anywhere among the artists anywhere. As an artist sharing knowledge, discussing art and emerging technologies, getting feedback on their work and giving on others, bouncing ideas, conversing about the animation in general is of paramount importance and it makes sure the artist is growing everyday. The day any artist doesn't learn anything every single day or if they feel they know everything he/she is virtually dead. And if anyone working in the industry feels that why bother when i have a full time job, i am able to pay my bills, thats all it matters. Well to this i feel sorry for that person. He cant be further from truth and decency be damned, he/she will and should regret for this pathetic attitude. Some one said -
Where INDIA fails INDIANS shine.
As an individual Indians are fantastic. We are good at work to an extent, can get a job and survive at that too but where team work comes, no one is interested. Why should i share the knowledge with others....only to let him succeed higher than me !!! Whether you agree or not, this type of attitude is not uncommon. I am no way generalizing, but it definitely exists. You agreeing or not agreeing or simply shrugging off cannot change the fact.
Now its not my intention to blame the artists. My point is thanks to technology and the online world, the amount of possibilities which have opened is tremendous. So much is being discussed in the online world and that too for free, its fantastic. Blogs are a terrific way to reach out to so many people thru out the world. Animation is such a vast field to learn out both technically and creatively, it only makes that much more sense that we share our experiences with others, grow and learn from it.
So far i have worked in 3 studios, animation being a small industry, many of my friends i had, also moved to studios as i did and out of these 3 studios, 2 of them are the among the biggest in India(head count wise). But not a single person i know is active on any of the forums or has a blog !!! Yes it may sound "whats the big deal" to many, but its shocking ! I was lucky enough to have worked with fantastic people but its sad to know that they have stayed away from the online world till now. They can contribute and share so much and in return also learn so much. I have asked many people about this and all they say is "where is the time" ! I mean come on, how can you not have time to gain more knowledge about something which at the end of the day is getting you a salary and paying your bills. If this is not complacency then we need to re-define the word to a new meaning.
You ask 10 people working in the animation industry and i can vouch for you that hardly 1-2 or not even that also, will be happy with the state of affairs going around them. Everyone cribs, but no one wants to do anything about it. People have seem to have forgotten that Animation is all about having fun. Ok i may have oversimplified it, people do need money for paying their bills, but if we don't worry about the money factor each time we set a key on a frame and just think about having fun and giving your best, i can guarantee you money will come. You put your best, honest and sincere efforts in your work and there is no way that you wont be rewarded for it. And the excuse of not having time is just an excuse and that too very very cliche. We speak everyday about avoiding cliche in our work, atleast try to get a new excuse for starters. People have time to spend on Orkut and Facebook and what not, but they don't have time to read about something which is affecting or can affect them in their future and which can be so helpful for their own good in the long term.
I think the problem lies in the way our perception is towards the vocation called Animation. Here everyone perceives it like a 9-5 job. You go to work, sit on your desk in isolation, do your scenes, go for coffee breaks and crib about deadlines and less salary, come back again stay isolated and so on and then in the evening shut down your system and head back home. Next day the same thing is repeated. If this is how you want to spend your life, why not join a bank or something like that. This is no way the workday of an animator and how it should be. Whenever people ask me what i do and when i say "Animation", their eyes just lit up. They feel so excited about my line of work. Just imagine their dismay if i tell them whats the day at work for an animator. This is definitely not animation. By living such a life, we are doing so much injustice to this beautiful vocation and missing out on the real fun part of being an Animator or being a part of the Animation fraternity.
Animation is all about team work. Discussing the scenes, discussing how best a particular emotion can be portrayed, asking your peers to look at your work-in-progress and see whats working and whats not and in return doing the same for them. By doing all this we are opening ourselves to so many different ideas and at the end each one of us learns something new and which gets reflected in the final output. I don't think we even care what the person sitting next to us is even doing. Sitting on your warm chair all day and doing your work is not Animation my friend. Animation is to see, absorb, feel, experience whatever is going around you and then try to use that to the best of your ability. If every scene of yours feels the same why will anyone come and see your work. If you have nothing new to offer, why animate. If you have to animate a person who is walking and is very happy, how would you do it sincerely..just by focusing on your screen all day long ??? I don't think so... get up from your chair, observe your friends, observe if some one is happy, see how they walk, observe the nuances when a person is happy. We do have imagination, but its limited to our own experiences. To expand that we need to stretch it more, see more, observe more. Imagination wont grow on its own. It needs to be nourished, it needs to be tested. Like a bird cant fly in a cage similarly by limiting ourselves to our chair and our screen we are loosing our ability to let our creativity fly.
Agree we all are busy with deadlines, loans, worries, families, kids, wives, girl friends and so on...but so what. Cant you spend time to attain and learn new things about your chosen field of work. I am not saying forget everything and be online 24 hours, but at least once a day or once a week or even once a month, you can share your experiences, help others who are new to this field, i am sure even you will learn many new things along the way. Being animators is not like doing business, where each step needs to be guarded so as not to let our rivals know of our plans. We need to be free mentally to put the best in our work. We need to let go of our apprehensions, our inhibitions, our ability to take every criticism personally(inflated egos is a big problem nowadays) and maintain a healthy atmosphere which will be conducive to creativity.
Strength can be shown in two ways - either by pushing others down or by pulling others up.
How about using the latter?
Think about it !