Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Getting Good People

There are pretty much two main ways to get good animators (and other key creatives and technical geniuses needed to succeed) in this business.

1) pay more than anybody else

2) create a better creative environment than anybody else

Why do animators line up around the Pixar booth at SIGGRAPH to drop off their reels? It's not 'cuz Steve Jobs is wildly philanthropic with his salary structures. However Pixar's well earned reputation for the dedication to great storytelling, fantastic animation and a business atmosphere that trusts the artists trump all the money somebody else might toss around. In my opinion if you run a studio, these are your choices. If you want to get your money back out of your investment, the first thing you need to do is stop treating it like an investment. Invest in your culture. And the culture of a studio is not defined by furniture, location, clients, management, mission statements or any of that. Your culture is the collective vibe of your people. Invest in your people and trust them.

If you don't find yourself willing to do that, then be prepared for one of two things to happen.

1) you'll always lose out on getting the best people

2) or you'll spend a TON more money trying to get (and keep) them.



Anonymous said...

very true. I just finished watching the directors commentary on The Incredibles and Mr Bird was talking about Mr Lasseter allowing them to flesh out parts of the story so that audiences engaged with the characters that little bit more (eg Bob and Helen arguing over directions on the way to the robot) even though it ment extra costs their goal was to have the audience connect with the characters in it.

Anonymous said...

Great post.... here in Brazil we are living that kind of situation right now. We now have more job than animator's and people are jumping like mexican's beans, for money or for professional development, allways.

Lars van Schagen said...


I think we should all scream this more often reverend Keith! Becasue indeed investing in your creatives pays out alot! Also alot of us just wanna be good and such systems give an animator the oppurtunity too excell. Anyways we should keep disneys legacy alive because he as well believed that putting money back made for more and better things.

I totally agree keep up the posting

Anonymous said...

Amen! (Reverend Keith ;-)

I agree its all about quality of life.
Creatives need to feel involved in their work (and creative work needs the involvment of their creatives). All the more so in animation - as it is such a condensed format - everything being planned and (hopefully) working on numerous layers.