Students, faculty and fans of animation gathered for some engaging and informative panel discussions at SCADShow for AnimationFest 2017. SCAD alumni and industry professionals spoke about the changing landscape of the animation industry and the emergence of Atlanta as a hub of creativity.
Veterans of Adult Swim and the animation industry such as Jim Fortier and Casper Kelly shared their experiences as writers in a somewhat unconventional work model. Fortier spoke about how the in-house productions at Adult Swim (Squidbillies, Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell) usually operate with about two or three writers in a room, as opposed to much larger, more traditional writers’ rooms. Kelly shared how their aim in the writers room is solely to make each other laugh. Any attempt to service the audience is usually bad for the show. The mentality is about having a few friends get together to joke around and see what they can come up with. If it is funny to them, than it will be funny to other people. He also noted that a good rule to remember is that violence is generally funnier in animation than in live-action.
Each panel got down to discussing the practical advice for succeeding and operating in the animation industry. One sentiment that was expressed across different panels was the idea of humility and a lack of reverence for your own ideas. When working on someone else’s show, it helps to be prepared to drop an idea even if you think it is good. The showrunners usually know what is best for their show, and remaining flexibility makes you easy to work with. Also now that there are so many platforms for uploading personal content, you can save those scrapped ideas and utilize them later in other endeavors.
The panelists from the Y’allywood discussion talked about the importance of acting as a problem solver. For example, don’t come to your employer with a problem and just let them know. It seems like you’re saying, “Here, you fix this.” Panelists recommended you try to fix it yourself first, and when that doesn’t work, bring it to them having tried already. It shows initiative and resourcefulness. The other main topic was how Atlanta has changed drastically over the course of the last fifteen years. Artists, entertainers and creatives have moved here from all over the country pursuing their professional artistic dreams, turning the city into an art mecca. Panelists said that people need to come here and stay here so that the art community and creative industry will continue to grow and prosper.
A panel featuring SCAD alumni discussed the new model of the animation industry and how that is drastically affecting the landscape of the craft. They provided advice on networking and utilizing the relationships you build with your classmates in school or anywhere. A large point they discussed was about the global nature of the new model. People are able to work on projects remotely from all over the world and companies can operate completely without any office space or location expenses.
Each discussion provided some valuable advice and insight into the ever-evolving animation industry for young professionals looking to break out into that exciting field. The panels were entertaining and the panelists were gracious and professional.