Chapter 33: After-Words
It was this pressed metal, green crackle enamel finished wonder toy that brought me into the world of animation! For no apparent reason, it had a decal of a little dark-skinned boy riding on an elephant, and the name, KIM. It was, I supposed, Rudyard Kipling's Kim, a book I had actually read. So this became my "Kim Projector," and in fact, my "Rosebud!" Many years later, when my first toy projector was long lost but not forgotten, I named my first son Kim. I suppose he is the only person in the world named after a cartoon projector! Today, Kim Deitch is a famous cartoonist himself, and bears the name Kim with pride. Note that this cunning toy has two lenses. Inside the front section is a simple shutter. As you turn the crank, the 4 inch wide paper strip adances, and the shutter opens the top and bottom lens alternately. On the transluscent paper strip are two-position drawings. For example a walking figure with striding legs on the upper area, and legs together on the bottom. Projecting them alternately gives a simple effect of a walking figure. There were all kinds of two-phase animation possibilities. There were some printed rolls with Popeye and other characters of the mid-1930s, but for me, the real thrill was that I could actually make my own cartoon stories, and I already had a "Pol Parrot" figure sketched out. Growing up and moving around, my Kim projector fell into disuse, as I finally did get a hand-cranked 16mm projector. Although I could not make films, the little Mickey Mouse excerpts it was possible to buy gave me a chance, by cranking slowly and back and forth, to work out the basis of full animation. I spoke of my "Kim" projector to many people over the years, trying constantly to find one, or something like it, but no one ever heard of such a two-lens device. Finally, I saw something similar one year in an exhibit of rare projection devices at the Annecy animation festival, but after yearning and looking for over 60 years finally Kim found one in the collection of Glenn Bray, who was kind enough to gift it to me, fulfilling my dream of once again possessing my "Rosebud."
2. From my Prague ashram I am not in a position to be personally knowledgeable about specific schools or courses in animation, so I cannot in good conscience tell you which schools to go to. Aside from what's in my own book, the next step I can strongly recommend is to read and study Richard Williams' book, "The Animator's Survival Kit." Whereas my book, "How To Succeed in Animation," lays out a general way how and understand what animation is all about, and how to think about it, Richard's book is specific on the bones and sinew of animation. Everything you need to know about how to actually animate, and animate marvelously, is in Richard's book!
3. How to get a job! Some writers want to know specifically how I got my first job in an animation studio. (UPA-Hollywood.) But hey, that was 58 years ago, as I write this! But even if it was yesterday, the timing, market conditions, connections, luck, preparation, abilities, personalities, etc. etc. will all be different. I told you in Chapter 7, "Make Luck Happen," how to make out the best within the prevailing conditions. What I wrote there is really all I can tell you. Do your homework, get your name out, be ready for whatever door may open. There is nothing sure. This is a tough line of work, and very rarely a road to riches. If you are determined to be an animator, if you love doing it, if you are really good at it, MAYBE a job will find you! Do I promise that? No. But your own determination will help you over the inevitable hurdles. Just go for it! But please don't ask me for what I cannot deliver. Please do write me for advice within the creative areas. Maybe I can help you there. In the meantime, I thank you all for your interest and for reading "How To Succeed in Animation," and remember: "Don't Let a Little Thing Like Failure Stop You!"