Saturday, August 21, 2010

How to be Excellent

Despite the arrogant title of this post, I hope it proves insightful.

I learned a valuable lesson today: never let your limits decide your content. For example, if you have trouble drawing hands or legs, never think of drawings that don't have hands or legs in them.

Otherwise, you end up with drawings that look like you are avoiding drawing hands and legs.

When it comes to animated cartoons, if you have a month to make a three minute cartoon and it normally takes you three months to make a one minute cartoon, do NOT try to think of ideas that are easy to animate or make in only a month.

Otherwise you end up with ideas and cartoons that look like they were easy to animate in a month.

Instead, think up the best idea you can, assume there are no limits. Work to make it the best idea, destroying every weak aspect about it and replacing and strengthening the idea into a solid finished piece.

And once you have the idea in it's final expressed form (storyboards or an animatic), figure out the quickest way to make it.

That may involve changing camera angles to one that is quicker and easier to draw. It may involve cutting some scenes out to because they take too long to create. At the same time, work your damndest to make the best scenes come alive. Even if you're not sure you're capable of doing them, try. And try again and again until you get it right.

In the end, you will have an idea and a cartoon that is still solid and excellent because you found a way to make it a reality. You'll have forced yourself to get better. You'll have done something you didn't know you could.

If you take the easy way out, if you let your limits determine your ideas, you end up with a limited idea.

If you forget about the limits and think of an excellent idea, an idea worth bleeding and sweating for, the limits you have find a way of disappearing. You find a way of making it a reality within those limits.

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