massanimation massanimation

Mass Animation or Mass Exploitation?

Mass Animation

Animators beware! There’s a new collaborative animation project called Mass Animation that is asking animation artists (both pros and amateurs) to come together via a Facebook application to produce a 5-minute CG animated short destined for theatrical release. The project hasn’t launched yet, but the details that are available on the official website and in this Intel press release aren’t encouraging.

The program, which doesn’t compensate any of the animators who work on it, is being sponsored by Intel, Autodesk, Facebook, Aniboom and Reel FX. The film is being directed by former Sony Pictures Digital exec Yair Landau. He says, “Mass Animation combines original computer-generated animated storytelling with social networking in a powerful, new way…we will reach so many talented animators who might not otherwise have access to this community of imagination and artistry. This project is the future of creative collaboration.”

Apparently Landau believes that the future of creative collaboration on the Internet means getting lots and lots of different people to create free work for deep-pocketed corporate sponsors so that they can release your work theatrically. Unlike earlier technologies, the Internet empowers artists so that they can avoid being taken advantage of in this manner. Companies that are trying to facilitate the exploitation of artists via the Internet are truly living in the past. Perhaps this contest started with benevolent intentions, but the press release makes it sound super-exploitative, and the fact that a Hollywood exec is directing the project simply adds to the ick-factor. I’ll make an effort to stay on top of this story and find out how it turns out.

(Thanks to Chris Roman for bringing this to everybody’s attention on the Cartoon Brew Facebook group)