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Cheer and Loathing in Animation: Episode XL - The Pipe Dreams Of Instant Prince Whippet

Every Friday Chris Robinson unleashes improvised and hastily scribbled cheer or loathing on the animation community to be digested, swallowed or... expelled. Today: ghosts.

'Cheer and Loathing in Animation' illustrations by Theodore Ushev

Why are you frightened can't you see that it's you
That ain't no ghost it's a reflection of you
Why do you turn away an' keep it out of sight
Oh don't live up to your given roles
There's more inside you that you won't show

But you keep it hidden just like everyone
You're scared to show you care it'll make you vulnerable
So you wear that ghost around you for disguise

                                            from the song, Ghosts by The Jam (written by Paul Weller)

Kids. Maybe it’s the late summer tedium getting to me or my own internal chaos or maybe I’m just sick and tired of hucksters and con artists, those faux fuckers I keep seeing or hearing about all summer…you know phony, greedy, incompetent or megalomaniacal film festivals, attention binging distributors, slimy producers. I know there’s a lot of good out there. Some well-meaning and passionate schools, teachers, producers, festivals. Lots of them…but unfortunately there’s also a lot of conniving fuckers out there. I can only imagine that the people behind these things are massively insecure and unhappy. They’re so desperate to be loved, to belong, to survive that they’ll do anything to get your praise, money and attention.

But you, you’re better than that. Don't worry about festivals. Don't worry about your parents or friends. Don't sweat over societal pressures to figure it all out before your 20.  Don't fret over what studio recruiters want or what so many of supposedly higher education institutions promise (face it…some of them are private and NEED CRAVE your parent’s money. They’ll say whatever they need to say to lighten your bank account). All that matters is what makes you happy.

Maybe you’re another Lasseter, Miyazaki. More likely you’re a lesser than Ed Wood. Who cares!  You get one ride, why waste it existing simply to please others? Just be you. When you are happy, it’ll be good for others…it’ll benefit others. Yeah…. this sounds like a fucking self-help thing. Maybe it is. Maybe I’m writing this to me today. Maybe not. Who knows. So…okay… How do you find that little bliss bubble? It's a gut thing. It’s there. You just have to learn to listen to it, to feel it. Making films…hell…making any decisions simply to please others will lead you down a road of bitterness, regret and unhappiness. I’m not for a second saying don't listen to those around you…those you trust… but you should never take any advice/comments as gospel. There are no gospels my chums, just guides, suggestions, hints, myths. 

Only you can create your own gospel. And you do that by living, sensing, experiencing.  You wont find that on your screens. Turn off your damn phones, shut your screens down, go outside, travel, drink, puke, fuck, commit a small crime, piss in a bush, commit a small kindness, make friends, be interested, be curious…but mostly just BE… cause when you’re stop being, you’re just a ghost, an apparition floating through life following the whims of the living. How boring. You can do all that after you die.

Chris Robinson's picture

A well-known figure in the world of independent animation, writer, author & curator Chris Robinson is the Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival.