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Editor's Notebook

Getting to the people

Heather Kenyon

During December 1999 most people were either busy worrying about the Y2K bug, planning a memorable way to ring in the new millennium or desperately trying to sell a Web cartoon...things have definitely changed. By December 2000 people were busy worrying about paying their mortgage, planning memorable, but inexpensive, holiday gifts and desperately trying to sell anything, anywhere. In this issue we take a look at the big issues that are facing the industry at this seemingly dark and precipitous time.

Animation has enjoyed almost supernatural booms for over a decade.When television began to fizzle...along came cable...when cable began to fizzle... along came the joys of home video...when home video began to lose its cool...along came the animated feature film rush...when those studios began to dwindle... along came the the Internet is seeming to fizzle and our next knight in shining armor is not arriving on the horizon. In fact, he seems to be retreating with all the former saviors as well. While we all know animation is a cyclical industry it is hard to take that with a grain of salt when you are standing in the unemployment line. It is also hard to hear that there are more animation opportunities now than ever before... As Ilene Renee Gannaway states in "Down and Out in Toon Town," artists are going to have to train and re-train in order to stay competitive in this quickly changing, technology focused world. The number of skills one has just may be the knight in shining armor. From theme parks to gaming, our next issue's topic, artists that were formerly employed in the animation field might need to diversify in order to keep working.

In this issue we are also taking a look at the current number of dot coms that are downsizing and shutting their doors. Like pioneers setting out into the wild, wild west, many didn't realize how long the journey to the promised land was or how dry and inhospitable the climate in between. In "Debris from Dot Com Crash Hits Animators," Michael Hurwicz takes a look at animation on the Internet and how its rise and fall has influenced the careers of several independent animators. We also have a treat in that Eric Oldrin, a Webisode producing veteran, is sharing his insight on why the Internet hasn't yet lived up to all that it is supposed to be. You'll want to read "Finding Lucy," to learn more.

While feature animation releases are always a "cross your fingers and see" affair, 2001 has a full slate of potential hits and disasters. Fearless Martin "Dr. Toon" Goodman is taking another stab at predicting the upcoming year's hits and misses. Another very interesting experiment to check out is Joan Kim's "Outside the Bubble: What the Main Street Papers Say." In an attempt to gage where the general audience stands regarding animated features, we decided to poll the folks writing the movie reviews and news in newspapers all over America. Their answers are more than insightful and reveal we still have a way to go before animation is regarded as merely a storytelling technique and not a kid's only, comedy genre.

Also in our coverage of the year ahead we have paid special attention to Cartoon Forum, an event that is helping to build Europe into a powerful animation force.

Finally, please do not overlook Piotr Dumala's inspiring and thought-provoking essay "The Philosophical Stone of Animation." Fresh from completing his latest tour de force Crime and Punishment, Piotr offers us insight as to why he has devoted thousands of his life's hours to creating the masterful animation that we have all come to anticipate in his films.

So, what is there to look forward to? Well, what is going to happen next? Where will the industry shift and turn and where will enterprising artists (like those that created Flinch Studios) turn up next? These are the answers that are worth looking forward to.

Happy New Year to all of you.

Until Next Time, Heather