Review categories > Graphic Design Books > Producing Animation
By: Nancy BeimanReview for 'Producing Animation'
Rating: 5 of out 6
Written By: Catherine Winder, Zahra Dowlat
Page Count: 320
Cover Type: Softcover
Published By: Focal Press
Date Published: 5/2001
List Price: $35
I am an animation artist who has also worked as a producer and production manager. Producing Animation attempts to explain an under-researched topic, but also helps perpetuate the idea that you need to have five managers for every artist on an animated picture. Top heavy management and overproduced films that are in production before their story is set are the true reasons for the skyrocketing costs of animation in the past few years. There are some horror stories here, such as the 'executive' who thought he could rewrite dialogue...after the picture had been animated. The authors also decry an 'artistic supervisor' (could that possibly be a director?) who (oh dear) wanted to make changes. The executive got his changes. The artist, they imply, did not. They also claim that artists have to be told by production people when to give up their artwork so that they can meet the production schedule. So the blame for production delays is invariably placed on the artists, who are a 'rag tag team', not highly trained professionals. Portions of the book are useful: blueprints for schedules (nothing about 'complexity of the film' setting the neat little figures back though.) Anyone who wishes to produce animated films and who does not have any idea what the artists do on the project (and sadly that describes a good many producers) would do well to read the sections on the production plan and production crew.
There is one helpful quote at the beginning of this book from Warner Television executive Ken Duer. "...it would only make sense to let the directors direct and be creatively responsible for the project and let the producers manage and create a 'stage' for creative artists so that the artists can do what they do best."
They didn't need to write any more about the 'function of the producer' after that. But it was amusing to see the authors attempt to justify the existence of a 'line producer' whose job descriptions are duplicated by the associate producer; and they actually admit that the associate-executive-in-charge-of-assistant-to-the producer titles are more a product of 'what an agent or representative is able to negotiate for their clients, wholly independent of their actual ability.'
Artists, buy this book and read it. Know who you are dealing with. Producers, read it and learn, but have some respect for the artists. They are, after all, the ones actually producing something.