At Annecy Festival last week, Latvian filmmaker Gints Zilbalodis confided that he’d set the production of his feature Away back by three months, after accidentally deleting some crucial files. His case is extreme, but it will have struck a chord among animators — and indeed others — in the audience. Hiccups and foul-ups are part and parcel of one’s working life.
Rather than brush them under the carpet, a new event is celebrating these failures. On Tuesday, June 25, animators and vfx artists in London will convene for FFS — Funny Fail Stories, a comedy show in which they reflect on the mistakes they’ve made and problems they’ve faced. “Let’s be honest,” note the organizers, “the creative process goes through many emotional stages.”
The speakers will come from some of the UK’s most high-profile studios. The line-up includes Remus & Kiki, a 2d animation directing duo at Beakus; Fabrizia Spera, lead fx artist at Blue Zoo; Laurie Rowan, an animator, illustrator, and director at Nexus Studios; and Simone Giampaolo, an animation director at Aardman. Attendance is free, although registration is required; for more information, visit the event page. The London chapter of ACM SIGGRAPH, which is hosting the event, refers to this as a “new format of events,” leaving the door open for more such nights in the future.
Publicly embracing one’s career lows is a growing trend, not least in the tech industry, which hosts the annual conference Failcon. “Fail fast, fail often” is something of a mantra in Silicon Valley. Of course, nobody is advocating long-term failure — only the admission of setbacks on the way to success. Next Tuesday’s event is no different: “When things go wrong during the project but you manage to successfully deliver it anyway,” reads the event page. It will be fascinating to see how far this movement spreads in the animation sector.