If you are reading this I guess the world didn't end at midnight last night. What a relief!
While I know the "real" new millennium doesn't start until next year, etc., etc., no one can say that the year 2000 doesn't seem like a fresh start. It also seems that a number of things are hanging in the balance for animation at the dawn of this new age. Some are doing well, while others may be running dry. Still I am confident that while the next years will bring change, just as the last 100 have, the industry will roll into the pockets of opportunity like water and succeed. Some companies and people might bet wrong (remember some folks thought sound was a passing fad), but overall animation will continue to grow into the fabric of the public's lives. For this issue we tried to pick some key areas where we think attention should be focused.
Animation is expanding into several new realms or taking these areas to new heights. We had Jacquie Kubin take a look at how the new high powered gaming consoles are shaping the gaming industry into a frontier that is going to need more animation talent. In "It's Time To Take Gaming Seriously," we can see that gaming is a booming business that is beginning to demand greater artistic input. It is not that game creators didn't want to produce a quality game in the past, but now they have the tools to create games that feature great detail and depth of motion. The other hot topic du jour is of course, the Internet. By the time you have read this sentence three new companies have probably launched. Lee Dannacher is taking an inside look at the companies that are currently producing and distributing content over the Web. Another facet of our industry that continues to out do itself each and every week-end is the feature film. Eric Huelsman reveals the cinematic treats that are in store for us in 2000 and just reading about them...I'm amazed. The effects, the combining of 2D and 3D, and the resulting visuals that are being produced continue to grow in impact and complexity by leaps and bounds.
Other markets like television are in a time of flux; some would say a funding crisis. For an in-depth report on this precarious time, we turned to Buzz Potamkin to offer historical insight and some ideas on the possible future. Others feel that the traditionally animated feature film will never get the opportunity to be more than a kid's entertainment vehicle, and make it big at the box office at the same time. For features 1999 has been, as Andy Klein reveals in "The Watershed Is Coming," a year of mixed blessings. When the day will be that animation escapes its label as a genre vs. a medium is not yet known. Still other surprising fears and hopes are revealed in "2000 And Beyond: A Host of Possibilities and Changes," by some of our field's leaders.
All of this doesn't make much sense unless we know the history of our industry. Karl Cohen has put together "Milestones Of The Animation Industry In The 20th Century." Before you start writing letters... This is by no means a complete list. We are admitting it now. We are inviting you to write us so that next year we can update the list and have a growing, evolving collection of our history. Perhaps it will become an Animation World tradition to re-publish the list every January. Finally historian Leslie Cabarga agreed to interview a few of our famous pioneers from beyond the grave in "The Dead Animators Society." Whether you believe Leslie has contacted "the other side" or not, my point is the same. Let's discuss the facts with our aging forefathers now and document their careers and memories before it is too late.
People love to create stories and experiences using animation and no matter how the industry changes people will always find a way to "put on a show." Best wishes for the New Year and the New Age from all of us at Animation World Network.
Until Next Time, Heather