Art through adversity

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There's a common story that's probably more true than factual: a pottery teacher splits his class into two teams. The first team must make one pot each day, working quickly and doing the best job they can. The second team has the whole school term to produce one perfect pot. Their work is compared at the end of term. The first team's pot-of-the-day is much better than the second team's perfect pot.

It made me think about how art can be improved by challenges, like pearls forming around grit. A real world example would be Black Sabbath's guitarist losing his fingertips in an industrial workplace accident, detuning his guitar strings to avoid pain, and accidentally creating the deep, sludgy sound of heavy metal.

I'm guessing Peter made AF under all sorts of constraints - money, time, TV broadcast standards, and so on. No doubt the finished AF differs from his original vision in many ways.

My question is: did AF ever become better as a result? Or at least different, in an artistically interesting way?

Something that stands out is all the weird erotically-charged stuff involving tongues and eyeballs and more. It seems like this could be a PG-13 substitute for explicit sex scenes (which obviously could never play on broadcast TV). Yet they're so deeply unsettling that they're actually more shocking than sex would have been.

Coagulopath, Friday, 4 February 2022 09:56 (nine months ago) link

Thanks for asking this interesting question.
The answer is yes, but maybe not in the way you might expect. I'd worked in TV animation long enough to know the kinds of compromises I'd have to make in the quality of animation I could achieve. I pre-emptively lowered the importance of the episodes' technical polish and decided to focus on the intricacy and ambition of the writing. In my mind, if the scripts were engaging on the basis of their structure and psychological subtext, they could withstand any shortcomings of execution. That turned out to be mostly the right choice, but not always.

Peter Chung, Saturday, 5 February 2022 13:15 (nine months ago) link

https://www.patreon.com/posts/60702270

Here is an example I posted recently which you can view without joining.
Eric Singer, who wrote the scene, is a live action screenwriter. In live action, the scene could be engaging on the basis of nuanced performances by charismatic actors.
I could not count on the viewer's attention being held by static shots of two animated characters talking while lying on cushions. (Read the script pages)
The scene ends up being far more distinct and memorable than what was written as a result of having to compensate.

Peter Chung, Saturday, 5 February 2022 13:27 (nine months ago) link

Thanks, that was very interesting (and of course I'm on your Patreon! What do you take me for?)

re: Eric, would you have written the scene a different way?

Modern animation is full of shot/reverse shot. It's boring, and a waste of the medium's potential. You can draw almost anything - why make the scene look like a cheap soap opera that has one set and two cameras?

Coagulopath, Thursday, 10 February 2022 02:04 (nine months ago) link


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