Chapter 5: The Great Footage Fallacy
A few years ago I was invited by the film institute of the southern Czech town of České Budějovice ("Budweis"), home of the true original and infinitely superior Budweiser Beer), to do a talk, and to show an evening of my films. They did a good job of promoting it, and had posters all over town, but only a few diehard fans showed up. My spirits were buoyed when an excited young fellow rushed up to me and pleaded for my autograph, telling me how much he liked my films, etc. Flattered, I expressed my wish that he would enjoy my presentation. "Oh, I can't stay," he said, breathlessly, "Tonight is a big hockey game!"
The blindest and most dedicated fans of all were those local Film Institute freaks who were totally oblivious to hockey, and had booked me on the one night when no one would be likely to be diverted from hockey, to “waste the evening” on me! As I have pointed out in this book: timing is everything!
A philosophical note: In this digital age, we are up against a Creator of The Cosmos who perhaps doesn't have ten fingers and toes. He/She/It made our solar system impossible to digitalize. Working backwards from the fact that our planet circles the sun in approximately 365 days, and that the days are approximately 24 hours long, and there are 7 of them in a week, and we need a clumsy poem to remind us of how many days there are in each month, and 12 of those in a year, with hours at 60 minutes and minutes at 60 seconds... well, just try dividing any of those numbers by 10! We can only get digitalized at the decade and century level. And in this new century, everything is digitalized!
* Whatever I may think as being logical, readers of this chapter when my book was first posted, immediately blasted me for only briefly acknowledging (in my second paragraph) what was most important to animators: THEIR PAY!
As a director, I was paid by the film, but our animators were paid per scene.
Obviously, some scenes were more difficult than others. Zdenka and I had the responsibility of pay-grading each scene in advance, on a scale of 1 to 5.
We reviewed the grading when the scene was finished, when we could determine its final level of difficulty. So our animators were not paid by the foot or the meter, but by the scene. This could never be done with perfect accuracy. We tried to give each animator a chance to even out during the course of the production. We were not assembling machines or sewing shirts. In creative work, there are no indisputable measurements of difficulty or results. It’s inevitably debatable. So another method we used was to award bonuses at the end of production for exceptional work. There were arguments, of course, but it was open discussion. We never had a strike, or call for revolution.
Footage, metrage, minutes or seconds, each animator wanted a fair share of the animation pie! LOL with this problem!