5 Misconceptions about Cartoonists: A cartoon is a form of art that makes us feel like anything & everything is possible in a cartoon show. You break the neck of a human being or turn it around 360 degrees and it came back to where it was within a few seconds. We have seen living creatures flying in the air without any support, then falling on the ground that looks like dead for a few moments and then back to normal. There can be many more such examples that feel like cartoonists can do anything. While this is just the ‘what’ is done in making a cartoon, the ‘how’ is far more complex and requires a deep understanding.
The way things are presented to us, it’s only normal to think for a general audience that it takes very little time and effort to make a cartoon. Again there are people who cannot understand that there are actually different roles to be played by different people while making a cartoon just like that is there for making a live-action feature film. It’s not like just because there’s no one to bark orders at, a cartoon making doesn’t require a director. Things are actually far more difficult and time-consuming than it seems.
1. People’s Idea of an Animation Studio
“People beg me for studio tours like it’s the Double Dare obstacle course. They think it’s a cartoon calamity. Some kind of zoo filled with goofballs hitting each other with Nerf guns. Like Chuck E Cheese for adults or the outside of Nickelodeon Studios in the 90s with the slime and fire poles and all that shit. But in reality, it’s a job, and fairly quiet. People are trying to get work done.”
First & foremost, an animation studio i.e. the place where cartoons are made is, an office- it’s not a place for public entertainment or an amusement park. But most people seem to have a completely wrong idea about this. Of course, there are studios where there’s a scope for people to visit, spend a day with family and do all the other entertainment activities- but one should always respect the professional environment.
2. Role of a Voice Actor
Well, honestly, it’s not that much unclear nowadays; however, most of the people didn’t understand what a voice artist actually does in the process of making a cartoon even 5 to 7 years back. Shocking, right? Well, that’s the fact of the matter. But people more often than not, even today, get confused about the roles played by a writer or a board artist and a voice artist. There even have been situations where a voice artist has been asked questions by the general audience regarding the creation of the cartoon i.e. the story, characterization, direction, etc. But what a voice artist does is simply talk behind the scene on behalf of a certain character that is assigned to him/her- it’s like an actor playing a role in a live-action movie who has nothing to do with the story or other parts.
3. Animation from the point of view of a Female Animator
Just like in any other sphere of professional life, women are also stereotyped in the animation industry. Even though women around the world have managed to venture into space, direct serious movies, taken breathtaking wildlife photographs- women are still stereotyped as a rather softer counterpart, even when it comes to the creation of cartoons. Here, women are mostly considered suitable for doing the coloring, or at best, creating a teen show or kids show or something like a Barbie movie only. They are believed to be great with roles like that of a coordinator, assistants, colorists, etc. Although according to many, the situation is a lot improved, the stereotyping is still there. So, even though, creating cartoons seem like a not-so-serious job- women are still considered too soft for the genre too.
4. Drawing is an Actual ‘Work’ Even in Digital Animation
“Some people more in the know are confused by the role of an artist who draws in modern animation production. People seem to have always just thought we pluck cartoons out of thin air, and just animate the things straight ahead onto a screen.”
It sounds crazy, but unfortunately, totally true. People think that animators, especially in the digitally operated world, don’t need to draw anything. People think that there’s no need for pen & paper in a world of digital animation at all. This can sometimes be true for creating one piece of a caricature or drawing a single character. But even for that, there are elements or ideation that needs to be drawn on paper in the first place and then digitalization is done as pre-requirement.
5. Nothing is Created Overnight
It’s a matter of common sense that when you’re talking about creativity- it will take time. One can’t just create something visually captivating and make a story out of it overnight. It usually takes about eight months to a whole year to prepare a single episode of a new show- from Script to Airing for a single episode. And when production teams/artists are working on multiple episodes simultaneously over time, the process of completing a season of a show usually takes about fifteen to twenty months of time to make a multi-episode full season done for broadcasting.
“To put in perspective, an average animated movie (that’s about 1 and a half hours of content) takes 3-5 years. A season of a TV show (that’s about eleven hours of content) takes a year.”
It’s actually not that surprising to know that the general people do not have enough idea about how the animation industry works- that is true for all other industries. But the points mentioned here are actually very simple facts and yet people, i.e. audience seem to be not understanding these simple facts. As a result, many animation studios are established and operated where there is a scope to visit with your family and where works are produced at a much faster speed, but either those works lack in quality or the animators are not exactly paid properly.
Again, though recently, we have seen many female animators taking the front rows as creators of some beautiful shows, still they are considered not strong enough to take the center stage.
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