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THE FUTURE OF ANIMATION

As you graduate today, and face an uncertain jobs market, many of you are asking yourselves 'What does the future of animation hold for me?'   To see what lies ahead, one only need look to the past...

THE FUTURE OF ANIMATION

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The Spielborg CyberHyphenate 9000 1.6 TerraHertz 3D Omni-Production Digitizer

Excerpted from his speech to the 2029 graduating class of the
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As you graduate today, and face an uncertain jobs market, many of you are asking yourselves 'What does the future of animation hold for me?'   To see what lies ahead, one only need look to the past.

There are those who believe Bill Gates started the Hollywood Software Wars, while some say George Lucas, with his fully digital blockbusters, was the real genius behind it all. Suffice it to say that A.I.-controlled digital animation now reigns supreme because of the foresight of our Creators. No more high budgets, no more health & welfare, no more residuals, no more strikes and, most importantly, no more people. The average film is computer written and pre-produced in nanoseconds, with images rendered at 10,000 dpi for a cost of about three cents in electricity. Hollywood accountants would be overjoyed if they hadn’t already been replaced by QuickMonkeyPoints v.1.0.

Cartoons were the first casualties of the Digital Revolution.  The end began in the opening scene of Disney’s Little Mermaid when that glorious ship burst out of the fog with a precision of line unattainable by the unaided human hand.  But it was a little clown fish named Nemo who thrust the proverbial stake in conventional animation’s heart.  Like the mammal in the Jurassic Period, computers had arrived!  It was only a few decades later that the human species known as celus animatorus went extinct and all animated features were thereafter digitally produced. 

Actorus extraneus was the next to go the way of the dinosaur.  You may know them by their Hollywood euphemism, “extras”.  Their very name prophesized their doom.  Why should a studio pay an “extra” hundred bucks a head when they could just cut and paste a million digitally animated people into the background, none of whom required health or pension plans?

Of course, the most “cash carnivorous” species in the Hollywood kingdom was actorus egocentrus.   The studios knew that if they could replace actors they’d save billions, especially if they could eliminate the greedy ones who demanded 20% of the gross!  So once the algorithms were perfected, actors were replaced by digitally animated “synthespians”.  Who could have ever dreamed that a mere string of ones and zeros could be so lifelike and sensual?  Take it from me, I married one. 

<pause> digital laughter </pause>

“The bigger they are, the harder they fall” proved true with the most powerful Hollywood species, directorus auteurus.  Ironically, it was the biggest of them all that brought them down.  A “close encounter” with “artificial intelligence” you might call it.  

ProteinDigitalGenetic Algorithms did the trick.  Steven Spielberg’s brain DNA was transdigitized into software and the result was “off-the-shelf” Academy Award-quality direction.

With directors a thing of the past, the lowest species in Hollywood, scribus screenus, finally got their names above the title.  “Of all Hollywood’s creatures, surely the writers of the word are irreplaceable,” they said with the certainty of a railroad tycoon.  Computers could create and manipulate images, but they couldn’t originate ideas from the ether and build complex plots and characters. 

<stifle> digital snicker </stifle>

You have to hand it to them.  Writers, like the lowly cockroach, were the toughest to stamp out.  Little did they know that, like Mata Hari under the caress of a general’s fingertips, they were “stroking” the very instrument of their demise—the computer!   While they tapped away on the keys, artificial intelligence “spiders” were secretly analyzing their every stroke, deciphering the basic plots and character elements.  In 2019, Microsoft finally perfected the Random-Access-Plot-Engine.  And so, thanks to the benevolence of our human forefathers, the long-disparaged screenwriter would suffer no more.

The final fade out for analog production was swift.  The vertically-integrated studio-networks sold out to the last remaining software giant who consolidated all of them into one, big, infinitely powerful computer broad-band network which writes, produces, directs, stars in and distributes every piece of entertainment that is, or ever will be, created. 

It’s now 2029, and we have just enjoyed the one-hundredth anniversary of the Academy Awards—a fitting celebration to the New Digital Hollywood.  The ceremony was held in my Microsoft/Disney/Intel Chipset.  All of the categories were “animated”, so to speak, and it was no surprise that I swept the Oscars for the tenth year in a row. 

So, my artificial friends, your future is as bright as the digital klieg lights that crisscross the simulated night skies of our virtual premieres.  Go forth with confidence and animate the world!

©Jeffrey Scott, All Rights Reserved

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