Bakshi at Comic-Con Bakshi at Comic-Con

Bakshi at Comic-Con

The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive posted this nice clip of Ralph Bakshi advising animators from the San Diego Comic Con last week.

  • DanO

    This is probably THE single best thing ever posted on CartoonBrew and the most salient wisdom and insight that any animator can digest. Thanks so much for posting this.

    Honestly, it warrants being watched numerous times. Truer words have never been spoken about the animation community.

  • He has some extreme points of view but there is alot of great advice in there. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tee

    thanks, Jerry, fantastic, you made my day, and thanks to whoever recorded him, from ASIFA.

  • MattSullivan

    Wow! This guy sure knows how to ramble!

    But in between the rambling, he makes a lot of sense. The industry really ISN’T collapsing. We just think it is.

  • I love this statement !! Honest and right on the spot. And inspiring aswell. So … gotta go and do something ! :o)


  • Kyle

    Makes me wish I knew someone, anyone around me that had an interest in animating. I would totally get a group of 5 guys (or girls, doesn’t matter) and make a feature/short. I just don’t have any connections or the know how.

    I do think he’s a bit harsh on Disney, but he does have valid points all around.

  • Hannah

    “make the story better??”

    Hmmmm….his rant reminds me of Charles Manson.

  • Dirk

    Yeah, that Manson woulda made a hell of an animation director, if he hadn’t passed the audition for The Monkees. Oh, wait.

  • This clip made my day! Yup, the tools are there, just get cracking. Just remember, story, Story, STORY.

  • Only a famous veteran in the biz could tell people to stop whining and make their own films, and actually get people to listen.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Thank you. This is wonderful!

  • Now I have something to ponder in bed tonight! The guy’s a true maverick and he sure hit the nail on the head. There is no reason in this day and age to conform to the old ways like the record companies, who are certainly trying to sustain the old ways but will eventually have to bow to the market’s demands. Animation is no different and his words are the probably the best encouragement someone could get.

  • Gerard de Souza

    No truer words are spoken. Cognitive therapy for the animator! Most of us lie to ourselves about having to work for someone else. Not even just for the big guys but it always boggled my mind how the student or grad will even work for someone else for free in this day and age when we can animate for ourselves so readily.

  • This is exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks for posting it, Jerry. And thank you, ASIFA-Hollywood for recording it.

  • Bakshi = badass mofo

  • Chuck Rekow

    Bakshi’s right in theory. Sure, the tools have democratized the process, and almost anyone with the chutzpah can make one, but…

    Getting your work seen and reaping the profits is another matter entirely. Cases in point: Cat’s Don’t Dance, Almost all of Bakshi’s output, and more recently: Sita Sings the Blues.

    I’m not pointing this out to discourage anyone (after all, South Park had pretty humble beginnings), but it helps to have more than artistic skills. Also keep in mind that there are artists working within the system who are getting their personal visions in front of a mass audience. Granted, it’s a select few.

  • Great piece thanks Steve and Cartoon Brew for shooting and posting it.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    I’m with you Kyle.

    My only complaint is not knowing anyone who shares my interests locally, so I know I’ll have to do all this on my own with what I have. Perhaps few will pass through my doors in the years that follow, but those first few years are the roughest.

  • Aaron Schneiderman

    An inspiring speech for anyone, regardless of their occupation.

  • Man! Awesome advice!

    Thanks for posting this Jerry.

  • H Park

    Just do it. A project doesn’t have to be perfect, pretty, or long. Giving up is lot worse than failures. It feels like people try to come up with excuses to avoid hard work. Bakshi is on the right track pointing out the problem.

  • greg manwaring

    Preach Ralphie, PREACH!!!

    Some of us are doing exactly what Ralph is advising us to do. Pixar proves that nobody knows animation better than animation folk – so get creating!

  • Just do it, indeed. Dammit, I made a 15 minute animated film in 4 months this year, working mostly on my own. What can’t I do a feature in a year?

  • I agree with the sentiment Ralph Bakshi expressed . (as he says of himself : he’s a sentimental , “corny” guy who believes in 9th inning home runs winning the game … I love that sort of thing too , I just wish it happened more often) .

    So, let’s say some animators band together in someone’s garage and make a film . Great .

    Distribution is still a major problem. To make it pay off you’ve got to get it picked up by a distributor or solve the riddle of how to make money with films posted on the internet . Maybe the Jib-Jab model is the one to follow ? (seems to have worked for them) . How much did Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog make ? They showed it for Free , but now it’s on iTunes and they’re selling it on DVD. Did that work ? Did the free showings on the internet generate enough fans of the film who wanted to buy a DVD ? That was a bold move and I hope it worked.

    It’s tough. You can make the film, but getting it seen and getting paid for it is a whole other ballgame.

    For example, I was really sorry to notice that Cartoon Brew Films is gone now. That was a noble experiment (and I thank you , Amid and Jerry, for hosting it) , but I really wonder how many of the people who post comments on this blog , who claim to love the old cartoons and want to see new stuff produced , actually downloaded Mark Kausler’s “It’s the Cat” or Bert Klein and Teddy Newton’s “Boys Night Out” or any of the other wonderful films hosted on the Cartoon Brew Films site ? They were ONLY $2.00 each for some great animated films . ($2.00 is the typical price of a cup of coffee at a place like Starbucks and I know people who buy 2 or 3 of those a day) .

    So it’s discouraging to the people who DO do it and then have no way to get paid back for their films. (of course, shorts haven’t been a really profitable thing for many years, so maybe the comparison is not fair …. Bakshi is talking about people making features like his “Last Days of Coney Island” which he claims he’s going to be able to complete for $500,000 , which is great). Even a lot of animation fans have this attitude like they’ll only watch something if they can see it for FREE on YouTube,etc. . The great Pixar short “Presto” is available for only $1.99 on iTunes , but I noticed people on animation forums and blogs all over the place were posting links of where to view “Presto” for free.

    If someone can come up with the solution of how how to make films and self-distribute those films at a profit then what Ralph suggests becomes a reality . (and yes, I know , life is not ALL about making MONEY … there’s the love of the art of animation and doing it just for the sake of the art and all that . Sure. But even poor animators gotta eat , gotta pay the rent. I’m not talking about getting filthy rich off of independent films , I’m talking about how to just make a livable income .)

  • Ralph just became my hero.

  • Incidentally, notice how he insulted his entire audience, but they love him because he inspired them at the same time? Take heed, politicians, if you dare!

  • I may be having a tough time making money from “Sita Sings the Blues” (let along getting out of my growing debt) but the film is young and I am still learning. Although I think the traditional channels of film distribution are broken, and the Entertainment Industry is morally bankrupt, I haven’t given up because the audiences are so clearly out there. Yes, I complain as loud as anyone (louder, probably) but I direct my anger at the problems, not at the art. Not making art will not solve the problem of artists not getting paid; making art might contribute to positive change, and it will definitely enrich the life of the artist in ways money never can. As important as money is, art is more important. Anyone can make money, but only you can make your art.

  • kinduun

    i sort of noticed that there are no more comments after Nina Paley’s. Surely, she deserves to have the last word but i must add something. i don’t feel that Ralph’s speech was neccesary. it was great but come to think of if, people who love and are passionate about film don’t need to hear that speech to do anything because they are already doing something by themselves. people like Paley, but i really think that right about now this blog post is almost already forgotten by some people.

    Lazy hands have taken hold.

  • Amen!

  • Franko

    Ralph is a little bit confused. There is a difference between animators and film makers.

    What he presents in the video clip is an alluring story pitch not animation advice. It’s the ‘make your own luck’ model. And I wonder how many people might financially ruin themselves in the attempt? We’ll only hear of the successes. And another bunch of lemmings will jump.

    I would have liked to hear more about how he did achieve his success with “Fritz the Cat” and “Wizards”, in more detail. It would’ve been nice to note what mistakes he made and what he learnt from those mistakes…

    Mediocre looking films, with good stories, can contain animation, but the best films have beautiful animation. Beautiful animation is made by skilled craftspeople who understand how things move and are willing to make them move more beautifully than reality dictates.

    As animators, as artisans we can all aspire to be masters of our craft. We can take money out of the equation (for a year), and pretend it was our choice. We can go hungry. But that’s sounds more like the makings of a good story, rather than an smart-thinking animated career.

    There wasn’t really much to take from that clip once the initial excitement wears off. I’m going back to watch my Brad Bird clip collection for some real inspiration.

    “Sita Sings the Blues” is a lovely film. It played at the Brisbane International Film Festival. Check it out if you get a chance (as well as “Persepolis”.)

  • Karim

    In fact, there are interesting solutions for distribution in festival and theaters, one of them is in this website:

    or in video:

    “From Here to Awesome is a discovery and distribution festival that puts filmmakers directly in touch with audiences. The festival has no submission fees and filmmakers retain their rights while seeing direct revenue from festival outlets.”

    Sounds good, no?