Furthermore at the panel discussion, some wondered what will happen as India and South Korea (and others) gear up to build strong animation industries. "They're going to take our jobs," many worried. I say, that's only possible if there's such a thing as "our jobs." I argue that there is NOT. There are no agreed upon jobs that are ours for the taking or that can be reserved for us like a rental car. Not on an individual level, nor a city-wide level, nor a national level. We have to reach out for those jobs...to create them ourselves. There's no such thing as entitlement. Just because we decided to be journeymen animation artists doesn't mean the industry owes us squat. This can be empowering if you let it. That's how I think. Who can say I'm wrong? It's my view of the universe and it holds true in my own head, and it helps me survive and navigate this difficult industry.
I have had the unique pleasure of having many students from around the world taking part in my APT online animation training program, as well as benefit from my video tutorials in the VTS. Occasionally somebody asks me about my feelings regarding training folks over seas to take 'our jobs'. I've usually replied "Who said that only westerners can have animation jobs?". Nationalism is a dangerous mindset often found at the root of many evil deeds. Americans lament that over 4,000 US servicemen and women in the armed forces have died in Iraq since 2003. Most Americans haven't spend two seconds of thought over the 80,000+ Iraqis who have died as a direct result of our making a mess of their land for no justifiable reason. This parochial value-ism is immoral. A person is a person whom God made and that's that- no matter where they live. By my way of thinking I don't see the life and career of an American animator as having any greater or lesser value than an animator in Singapore, Mumbai, Seoul or Beijing. Both are human beings, both have hopes and dreams, both love what they do, both want a chance to succeed and-- if they are of suitable skill & talent for the tasks available to them- both can and will succeed. If you can't compete on price, then it's your job to provide value (tangible and intangible) that cannot be matched elsewhere. This requires you to be creative, to think, to grow and improve, to find new ways of getting things done. If the dinosaurs step left, then be nimble enough to know how to scamper to the right. The world is never static and nobody ever promised that everything will stay exactly the way you like it to (oh, how I wish it would have sometimes!). Adjust with the world or get left behind, because the world is not going to stop just because you're comfy with where it is right now.