Toon Tuesday: An old fashioned notion in the Cartoon Business

Written by at July 9, 2013

At the risk of being considered a grumpy old timer, I have a
need to air a few gripes from time to time. Plus, my sixty or so years in the
cartoon business has earned me the right to be critical on occasion. I'll say
upfront that I have no personal ax to grind. I've been treated extraordinarily
well during my years in animation and my personal complaints are few. Sadly,
this hasn't always been the case for my colleagues.

I've watched this same scenario played out dozens of times
during my career. A struggling young studio is working hard to make its mark
and talent is a serious need. The call goes out to all willing to be a part of
this team effort. Top talents are often reluctant to throw in their lot with an
unproven start-up and they pass on the invitation. Eventually, a rag-tag group
pulls together and creates the impossible. The little start-up attains eventual
success while the “outsiders” look on in amazement. That's the way it works in this
crazy business and I've been around long enough to see it happen more than

Of course, no one reaches the top by themselves. This is
especially true in the business of entertainment. Although there may be a few
arrogant enough to think this is possible. No, success comes from a team
pulling together to do the impossible. That includes a captain on the bridge as
well as a hard working crew “pulling the oars” down below. The team makes the
miracle happen and those who believe otherwise are clearly delusional.

Sadly, here's what often happens once the scrappy little
upstart has achieved success astounding their colleagues and competitors.
Clearly forgetting how they got there – the company brass begins to scrutinize
their staffers to see who might be expendable. Having clearly achieved success,
the once-unknown company could now attract top talent and they were more than
eager to do so. Management began to play their usual deceptive game by asking
employees who had worked with the company for several years to suddenly “bring
in a portfolio.” I remember one understandably upset artist having an answer
for a bone-headed executive. “My portfolio is up there on the screen!”

Of course, none of this is new for this animation veteran.
It's a game that will continue to be played out again and again. Back then
there was an advantage in getting in on the “ground floor.” Even if you failed
to excel in the company and climb the heights to becoming a producer or a
director, you would at least have been guaranteed a job based on your company
contribution. In the old days of the animation business we called it employee
loyalty. Sadly, it's an old fashioned notion that is clearly out of style

Copyright Focal Press, Taylor & Francis Group, an
Informa Business. All rights reserved

Now jumping from an old fashioned notion to a brand new book: Floyd Norman's latest book, “Animated
Life: A lifetime of tips, tricks, techniques and stories from an Animation

” (Focal Press, April 2013) is now available for purchase.

And if you haven't yet gotten around to purchasing Mr.
Norman's original collection of cartoons and stories — “Faster! Cheaper!
The Flip Side of the Art of Animation
” – this paperback is still available
for sale over at John Cawley's Cataroo. And if you still haven't had your fill
of Floyd at this point, feel free to move on over to Mr. Fun's Blog. Which is where
Mr. Norman posts his musings when he's not writing for JHM.

Excerpt from – 

Toon Tuesday: An old fashioned notion in the Cartoon Business

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