In light of some amusing controversy over a recent entry, I thought it would be an appropriate time to point towards this blog post, entitled “One Big Happy Blogosphere,” by indie animator Tim Rauch. In it, he raises some worthwhile questions about the role of blogs in the animation community. He writes:
“While it’s reasonable to make thoughtful criticisms of a studio product, at what point is an artist’s ego fragile enough that we should avoid going out of our way to provide negative feedback? Â You wouldn’t walk up to a three year old working with crayons on his kitchen table and poo-poo his choice of color. Â I believe the same kind of “protective zone” should be extended to non-professionals or professionals doing personal projects: respect their desire to create and provide negative criticism only when it is asked for and can be constructively received. Â Leave the wrestling-match of serious criticism to work that has entered the wider world in a more public way; but please keep in mind that individual artists have been involved and resist the urge to slam, insult or generally denigrate their contributions.”
While I strongly disagree that adult filmmakers with fully-developed minds should be offered the same “protective zone” that we allow immature infants (a practice that benefits neither artist nor audience nor the development of the art form), a lot of what Tim writes is not too far removed from the personal rules that we employ when writing posts on Cartoon Brew. Jerry and I have no strictly defined rules about how we write, though common sense guidelines have evolved over the years.
Certain pieces of animation are fair game to all types of criticism: examples are films from major studios and TV series. In other words, commercial animation that is supported by significant budgets. Similarly, when an indie does mainstream commercial work, like a TV commercial or music video, that opens the artist up to a more critical assessment of their work than if they were making a personal film. We obviously take into consideration that they probably do not have the resources of a major studio, but we also compare and contrast it to the capabilities of other artists creating animation within similar constraints and circumstances.
Where we tread carefully is with student films and personal films. If we see something of poor quality, there’s no reason to denigrate it. Likewise, if something stands out, we’ll be sure to let everybody know. We receive a multitude of links, press releases and artwork on a daily basis, and even if we wanted to post all of them, it would be impossible with our limited resources. Some of the projects that arrive in our email are actually quite good, but because every post requires time and effort to compose, we aim to post on the Brew only the truly exceptional things that we’ve enjoyed.
At the end of the day, our goal remains simple and largely unchanged since we started the blog in 2004: write about the things that personally inspire and educate us, while calling out the shysters who flood the mainstream market with crass and poorly produced examples of animation art. Sometimes these posts inspire and educate readers, and other times, well…