Backgrounds & Motivation Part II
Backgrounds continue, but I am near completion. I actually have 54 out of 62 BG’s completed! I met with my mentor Terry Gadsden last week and told him about my progress- to which he shockingly replied “Most feature films don’t have that many BG’s!” HAHAHA I was like WHAT???? Oh well, too late now. I am a BG machine.
So the trials and tribulations of film making are an up and down constant battle. I go from extreme excitement of doing what I want and being my own boss, to wanting to slice my wrists if I have to paint one more birchbark tree! I am constantly going from big picture to small details and trying to keep everything flowing and progressing continuously. Having said that I am taking a small break to work on another project, as I feel I was becoming a bit demotivated from completing the backgrounds. This is due to 2 things. One is the looming fear of starting animation and the sheer amount of work ahead of me. The 2nd is just burn out. Too much fixation on one thing can sometimes lead to stagnation. I think this is normal, well at least it is for me. So time for a break, and that is part of my process.
It is strange when I think about my own artistic process-it’s crazy that I am an animator. I like instant gratification, especially in art. I like to do things quickly and get to the finished product. Growing up I watched this show Bob Ross: The Joy of Painting. Bob completed paintings in under 30 mins with ease. I loved following along and getting this finished work so quickly. So I have NO IDEA why I do animation which is like the longest process ever for art! Especially when you are doing it solo, as it usually is a team sport. Side note: Bob Ross also got me into a lot of trouble growning up. I would paint along watching him on TV and inadvertently got paint all over several wall to wall carpeted rooms. I was banned from painting, aside from at the kitchen table in between meals! Can you imagine? I had to schedule my artistic creativity between the hours of 9-11am and and 2-4pm exclusively! This would just not do, so it led me to a life of artistic criminal behaviour of sneak painting! While I’m sure most other kids were hiding drug use and teen pregnancy, I was trying to find time and space to be alone with Bob Ross, no matter what the cost! Anyways. Traumatized for life, by having to hide my artistic endeavours. Now I make films. Check out Bob in his prime painting a walk in the woods, what could be more perfect?:
So I guess when you love doing something you will not let anything get in your way, including being demotivated! In working on this new project for a couple days, I am actually getting excited to go back to finishing the backgrounds! That is what boring client work can do, make you appreciate how good you got it!
It has also been important in my process to have a few things on the go. There was this show in the 80’s called Do It For Yourself staring Mary Bellows. I often think about her and that show as I rush around my house from one thing to another, dog in tow. Doing domestic goddess duties, fixing things, going back to art, and making things.
She never seemed to finish anything though. That was the only problem I had with her chaos. I do embrace the chaos, but I also embrace routine, and repeatedly go back to the same tasks until they are completed. This actually allows me to have more “finish gratification” than I would completing a task then moving on to another, as I’m consistently completing tasks as I go. I am sure the outside world sees this as being scatterbrained and that I’m running around and actually getting less done, than if I would just focus on one or two things. That’s the way I feel about Mary Bellows, BUT I bet she finished all her projects once that show went into syndication! She just didn’t have enough time!!! 30 mins is not enough time to finish a bunch of things-C’mon Bob Ross give us a break! So between Bob’s laid back quick completion and Mary’s fast paced getting nothing done-there you have it, I’m all messed up. And that’s why I’m an animator-I’m crazy. It’s the only way. Animation is done at 24 frames per second. 24 DRAWINGS FOR EVERY ONE SECOND. -Doing that has got to be the definition of insanity.
Some of my backgrounds are color cards, I’m not a total maniac. But I have foolishly completed most of them. If I could tell my past self anything, it would be to save all those juicy easy color cards for the end, and then it’s like smooth sailing! Imagine if I just had 8 color card BG’s left? I’d be like Backgrounds scmackgrounds! The easiest! But no I squandered that luxury away like a moron. Save easy stuff for the end!!!! ALWAYS! You never have motivation at the end, do yourself a favour-this message is to future Tara for DOING YOUR ANIMATION-DON’T FREAKING FORGET DING DONG!
So as far as staying motivated, just like the quote says, MOTIVATION AIN’T SHIT! Motivation can come and go, but you can’t count on it in a bar fight, it WILL NOT HAVE YOUR BACK when your in the ladies washroom at Road Runners, and you are totally dissed by this chick you know who hauls off and punches you in the face, but you’re kinda too drunk to be starting any fight, and so you get your ass handed to you…where was motivation when that happened? I mean if that would have happened…to you, as an example. So NO, you can not count on motivation to get you through the hard times. Oh and there will be hard times, let me tell you! The only thing that I have found that will keep you on track is habit. Or watching the Hobbit, maybe that works too? We are all creatures of habit, and thus conform to it well. Habit and repetition will get you anything you desire. ANYTHING! It is continuous small steps that get you to your goal, not large tiring steps that lead you to stop. Even when the end is nowhere in sight, when you put one foot in front of the other, soon you’ll be walking out the door! I learned that from Santa Claus is Coming to Town, so also relevant to this time of year . But instead of walking I run. Like almost everyday. Why do I run everyday? Because I run EVERYDAY. It’s what I do now. I don’t get up and question it, just like I don’t get up and question my film making, I get up and make film.
Follow my production blog MoxyFox.Wordpress.com for more production stuff about my animated short and my steady decline into the abyss of creativity.