Jun 29, 2006

A nod to the Union brethren's blog


from the collection of the Animation Guild: Warners animators and others locked out at Leon Schlesinger's studio(the supplier of Bugs Bunny, et al)circa 1941. To find out who's here, go read the post that accompanies this photo

After many years of passing like ships in the night I finally had a very interesting chat with our animation union business manager, Steve Hulett; we mainly talked about his friend, the late Niven Busch, a legendary writer and screenwriter he knew pretty well--and so should all of us, as Busch was a hell of a guy. Steve's been posting reminiscences and stories about him.
Which brings me to the subject of this post: Steve did me way too much honor the other day by referring to the Animation Guild's blog as a "poor man's Blackwing Diaries". He was being a bit (a lot!) facetious, I'm sure--but he meant that he was starting to post more of the fascinating, historical ephemera that I love to cram this space with too. Joking or not, it was a nice nod, and I really owe him one right back at him.

I'm overdue to mention their blog in any event(where he shares posting duties with our president, Kevin Koch--always a literate and thoughtful writer).
I demurred before as I figured theirs was likely of most interest to we daily toilers and our 401K concerns--but not so any longer(if it ever was): what Steve's been posting are some terrific historic materials--drawings by Ward Kimball, Milt Kahl--need I go on? Along with first-person tales of Disney feature animation from the early 1970s onward. This is great stuff, and the resulting comments often make even better reading.
Obvious to anyone who'd read more than one page of this blog of mine is my belief that if you're interested in animation, if you love cartoons and especially if you want to make them (assuming you don't already) you should also immerse yourself in as much of its history as you can.
Believe me: everything they say about it repeating itself, about those who ignore it being doomed to repeat it, and so on and so forth, is absolutely true. I remember every so often this or that pal at work bemoaning the fact that school doesn't prepare us for the real-life travails of the studio system(or any other kind of system). Well, there's a great way to gird yourself, and that's by finding out what those who went before us went through.

It wasn't all hijinks and laughs and parties, working on great films and a mutual admiration society...it was...well, pretty much just like it is now, absent a few obvious key players.
But those men and women have been supplanted by us, and we relive much of the struggles and drama--and fun--that they lived through. And they literally gave us our union, with it's attendant local benefits, pay scales and one of the very best health plans in the US(it really must be--the medical types keep telling me so whenever I flash my Motion Picture card at them).

So go and give The Animation Blog a perusal every couple of days at least, and check out the past, present and future of animation from two other perspectives.

7 comments:

David Germain said...

if you're interested in animation, if you love cartoons and especially if you want to make them (assuming you don't already) you should also immerse yourself in as much of its history as you can.

Amen, sista!! I've been saying that forever. About a year ago I got into a dispute with someone over this very subject. Here's the pile of bullshit I was fed: Who gives a shit about what some studio did here or what some animator did here or the complete blueprint to every shit Tex Avery took... does it really matter?....... What have you done again? Read some historical trivia? I would maybe step away from the worship complex you have over the old guys otherwise you will just end up rehashing what they have already done before better than you.

Have you ever had to deal with this shit?

Hans Grotz said...

I like the way your write(Ok I'm not an "english speaker" but to me it is good enough to worth a read)

Hans Grotz
www.moconautas.com

Rusty Mills said...

It's always great to see that things are not so different now than they were when some of our idols were working in the business. So many times people say to me how fun it must be to draw all day and I end up telling them although I love it...it's still is a job.
You might be interested in seeing some drawings I posted on my blog of a scene John Lounsbery did that was thrown out.
http://the-plausible-impossible.blogspot.com

Jenny said...

Heh--yeah, Rusty--the first 1000 drawings are the most fun--then...! Just kidding. ; )
No, it's true...damn it, I have to go over to your blog now--off I go!

Lee-Roy said...

I didn't realize the guild had a blog. I'm posting a link on mine right now...

Kevin Koch said...

Thanks for the nod to our blog, Jenny. I feel kind of stupid that you and I worked at the same studio for at least a few years, and didn't know who you were until I found your blog during my last week at DW. Otherwise I would have come upstairs and introduced myself.

Anyway, your blog continues to be one of a small handful that sets the standard, so thanks for that, too.

Jenny said...

Ha--no problem, Kevin; I kept meaning to come down(I think we were in the same building-I overlook the river/parking lot in FAB) but believe it or not, I'm shy--cue raucous laughter from my coworkers and pals--but it's true. Anyway, by the time I worked up the nerve to go downstairs, you had left. One of these days...maybe by the next Xmas party? I'll come over and introduce myself. : )
Steve really [pleasantly] surprised me the other day. I was glad he came by...how he found me, I can't imagine(you know what a maze that place is).

And thanks for the kind words from you--I've always appreciated your ability to field tough questions and keep things on an even keel, elsewhere and now on your own blog. I hope it continues to thrive! It's really incredible how the blogging has exploded these last 9 months or so.
Thanks again for stopping by!