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The LA Times on the Future of Animation Production

Mass Animation

The Mass Animation project headed by former Sony Pictures Animation exec Yair Landau continues to receive press, most recently in an editorial that ran in yesterday’s LA Times. To summarize the project via the Times:

Through Facebook, Mass Animation invited the public to create scenes for its first short video, “Live Music.” The company supplied the animation software, the story, backgrounds, characters and audio. Animators whose work is chosen will receive $500 per scene. All told, the project will cost about $1 million and take six months to complete, a fraction of the money and time required for a comparable Hollywood project.

The unsigned Times editorial believes that this is “an early sign of things that are certain to come” as “a new class of creators and entrepreneurs is coming to vie for its share of the global entertainment dollar.” We’ve written about the Mass Animation project before on Cartoon Brew here and here. As I argued in one of those posts, unlike previous technologies, the Internet empowers artists so that they no longer have to settle for exploitative compensation models handed down from above.

The LA Times gets it right in predicting that the days of corporate-driven entertainment are drawing to a close, but it won’t be because of shady production models conceived by the likes of Landau. It’ll be due to the burgeoning generation of savvy entrepreneurial artists who understand that the road to creative success and financial security doesn’t run through Hollywood any more. Execs like Landau are dinosaurs within this new digital/online paradigm, and they’re grasping at straws trying to find “innovative” ways of paying artists cheaply on the Internet. Their attempts at doing this will become increasingly desperate and outlandish as more and more artists recognize the uselessness of such people in an entertainment landscape where the means of production, distribution and promotion are accessible to all. That is the true definition of mass animation.

For an even less-flattering perspective on the Mass Animation project, see yesterday’s post by Steve Hulett on the Animation Guild blog.