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Theres a lot of talk about outsourcing, and I just wondered what thoughts folks had on what could be done to create an inhouse animation enviroment, in America? any thoughts?
outsourcing is the name of the game. production with low costs is just a very natural thing. producing in the United States will require a ROI that meets the costs of producing in America or artists working for a lot less than they would otherwise.
Even Hollywood has gone outsourcing - Matrix flicks were all shot in Australia to reduce costs as much as possible (some say to the tune of $70million was saved this way).
i think there are bigger problems than outsourcing looming. one of them being foreign studios producing their own original content which they can then produce for less than most others.
sorry if this is a bit of a hijack.
I think the real solution is to float everyone's boat. What I mean is if companies paid comparable wages overseas that they would in US, then that would make people in other countries richer AND we'd still have an industry here in the US.
Why must we hurt our own industry/companies AND hurt the people overseas by exploiting their low standards of living. I think companies should uplift all. This goes not just for aniamtion but all industries. Lets not employ "slaves" because we can, lets bring all up to a high standard of living.
BTW, I've had two projects (with big companies) go overseas so that they can pay less to produce. It hurts me, it hurts people in other countries too, as their wages are kept artifically low and so is their standards of living.
Dancing Bear Graphics, Inc.
its not all true Jeff. economically speaking evem paying a comparable wage would flood the place with excess cash and cause a discrepancy. also i dont think any of the artists are exploited. they get paid quite well compared to the industrial standard ( i can only speak of India). its not slave labour.. there are cracking jobs and some real good money being paid. the cost of living reflects the salaries.
anyway yeah. i got no idea how they can wean the production industry. but hey, atleast you guys have the headstart in the creativity race..
I don't think there's much to gain in an either/or discussion. There are niches where American production is necessary because of feedback cycles, such as advertising and cinema - and other formats such as TV where outsourcing is an important part of the mix. But it's not either / or. Each production has to be looked at to ascertain what stylistic, tool and team decisions can be made to concentrate on the stories redeeming elements. It's certainly not an us vs. them issue - and I am sure that in a decade, we'll all be fighting to sell formats to the huge markets in India and China. (Who knows, maybe a begrudged outsource partner of today will evolve into a thank-God-distribution tie-in partner with Asian expertise.) There are varying degrees of outsource, such as clean-up, coloring, etc. or even complete aniamtion. Indian animation is certainly gainign in expertise. There are partnerships, in-sourcing, consulting...
I heard the term "bring animation back home" at an Annecy forum - and the solutions being discussed and presented were software efficiency, asset management, re-use, etc. (Trust me, I didn't see many grinning artists in the room.) So think about that - the way to keep the artist in the formula may well be to work with international partnerships...
I started a startup animation company a year ago. It's only a handful of people now, but everything is done in-house, including in-betweens. It works for us.
i think a lot of it also has to do with things like where do you aim to go and where you are in terms of scope, size and type of animation you do.
a small outfit can churn out limited amount of work. for something like that quick high cost turnaround is acceptable.
but for someone that needs say 120 artists full time for 9 months it wouldnt work.
a small outfit can churn out limited amount of work. for something like that quick high cost turnaround is acceptable.
but for someone that needs say 120 artists full time for 9 months it wouldnt work.
Right, it certainly doesn't work for Pixar.
Oh, wait... ;-)
i was coming at this with a strictly 2-d angle. Pixar is doing very well right now but it has less to do with their production quality (which is superb) and more to do with how amazingly created and written their concepts are.
As I see it, the BEST approach to perpetrating animation "InHouseInAmerica"
is to have a strong love and respect for the USA,and to have a firm belief
that your animated works can ONLY be realized in the USA.That's the way
I view it,uh huh uh huh: It would nuke my soul to have animated works
based on my still-unfinisht universe be perped anywhere other than the
USA. Animators from other lands don't know me,who/what my creations
are,or,deeper still,what they're for;I consider it useless to make aforesaid
animators do so.
I know I do cartoons because I love doing them;however,there's also the
animation godhood dream sword dangling over my head.If circumstances
forst me to chuck any (artistfriendly) animation producer dreams,it'd be
hard,but it could be done,leaving me instead to another dream:to found
a tabloid the majority of which is....cartoons.
"Close to the 1992 summer,in one of my cartoons,I toucht upon a concept
some yrs before I learnt it actually existed, by upthinking a question:
"Howz avout the WILL EISNER award?""
this is happenning in all sectors how can animation be not affected :confused:
US should do whats it is supposed to do invent and innovate,create new stories... a steve jobs and a bill gates, can only happen in the US they need the indian digital mind to support them,indian education system does not encourage creativity ,risk taking so we have armies of digital coding slaves.
luckly in animation because of our great cultural heritage we have a tonn's of stories to tell and re- tell,unfortunately most indians don't want to do original product development as it involves costs and risk(back to our education)but hopefully the huge kids population(250 mil) will support us and give us a chance to develop original content for indian markets.and survive :)
any studio lookinng at india would surely gain because it will save costs which can be reinvested in the production ,for the animators who are losing jobs they could come to india to teach as this sector will grow as animation grows.
A wise producer will go wherever he can find cost low and get the quality he wants --- india or ANTARTICA :D
In my previous post I ERRED. The actual quote was
"howz avout the WILL EISNER Institute?"
The way I see it is that Outsoarcing is really going to hurt the industry in the long run. To the point that there isn't going to be anything inhouse. What I really think a lot of studios don't realize is that the more they outsoarce, the less interest there is going to be in the industry at home. More and more artists will avoid the industry because they feel there is no work available because they will start to notice the trend to outsoarce, and feel that they won't find the security anymore in the industry. Lack of interest means lack of workers, and lack of workers means that the industry is likely to pack up and move completely overseas.
As for the live action industry, that is a little different, because it has a lot more to do with the cost of location and studio space. It's cheaper overall outside of the US, heck a lot of production is done here in Canada now (I live in Canada btw) and it's only because it's cheaper)
I can see this trend in every company now, most customer service centres are located in India now. It's all fine and dandy that it saves the company some money but at what cost. HP is one company that started to outsoarce, and has recently layed off a large ammount of it's staff. If this trend continues eventually the economy is going to crumble in on itself because unimployment rates will soar and eventually a large majority of consumers will begin to fall short of being able to afford any products that companies offer other then bare essentials if even that. It's already starting to happen if you think about it. A person can't afford to retire with a million dollars, that is a hell of a lot of money, but it still isn't enough. It most likely won't be long before large corperations start to see losses. I know Microsoft is starting to see it in their software sales, because people won't upgrade and why would you at $500 to upgrade both Windows and Office when you feel like your current versions are doing you just fine.
Like I said, this isn't something that includes just animation, it's the entire economy that's headed that way.
I am new to these forums, so hey all.
I have been hearing a lot about outsourcing and its really sad. I am just wondering when Disney and all the 2d animation films, tv shows were out and around in the days of lion king did it hit their pocket books when it came down to money. I don’t think there were too many oversea deals that were going on when it came to animating the old 2D films.
And what’s the reason for this outsourcing, sure it’s the cheaper way to go. But is it really required to make profit? Or do I just smell greed?
Greed over real talent hurts.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)
i am sorry art bum but ill disagree with you on all counts. outsourcing has been going on forever. i remember reading bout Tom N Jerry (made in Hollywood USA) being produced in Prague all those years ago and they simply lied about it (can somebody back me up on this - so i dont have to do the hardwork)
secondly what you call greed is economic reality. Disney or any other studio has investors and is run for profit. its no different from any other business anywhere in the world. they have to go where its most reasonable to produce something so it can make a profit which in turn allows them to continue being in business. If a studio takes a hit on a huge project no one is going to save them (read Titan AE) - they have to save themselves.
also if you notice N.America is the biggest market in the end and almost all of the creative content is written, created and preproduced over there. so what goes out is really no-brainer, mechanical monotnous work. so it is anything but a drain on creativity which is what this business is all about in the end.
instead of looking at negatives one can look at the positives. this allows some small studios to also dream about being able to put together a series
edit : The animtor i mentioned based out of prague was Gene Deitch
I can only suggest this:
Thomas L. Friedman
The World is Flat
Thanks for the Info SkinnyLizard that helped out. I am just getting into animation so forgivme If my animation history is a bit nil.
another thing ill add is that a lot of (from what i gather) films that are made in the US thus far be it 2d or 3d are not outsourced becase they are all Opuses with a big canvas and across the board marketability. they also have hugely expensive talent (think Elton John doing music actors like mike meyers, cameron diaz, brad pitt doing voices) so for them it is quite practical to go the whole hog and spend the bob because they know that the returns will be huge.
outsourcing happens a great deal with i think smaller features which are tight on budgets and television stuff.
so i reckon its a bit unfair to compare the Lion King and its success with XYZ studios thats trying to put together 11x26 episodes.
I would agree. Most big movie effects are, I believe, created where the principal post work is done. (usually Hollywood).
From what I've experienced, it is the direct to DVD market that has been more effected by outsourcing. In my experience, it has been mostly the large studios doing direct to DVD videos that use outsourcing to cut wages.
And let me say again, that if studios using outsourcing paid their overseas workers a similar salary to workers in the US, then everyone (except poor ol' Disney, Dreamworks, Miramax, etc) could make money. I take exception to the fact that studios HAVE to use outsourcing to make a profit. No way. These companies make plenty of profit and these companies are the most likely to use outsourcing to try and cut costs. Most smaller companies, in my experience, use outsourcing because they cannot find the talent elsewhere. Generally, smaller comapnies have been willing to pay a more standard, sometimes higher rate.
I truly think that, and this goes for all industries, that companies should pay workers fairly for the type of work done, not based on where the worker lives.
Dancing Bear Graphics, Inc.
But "a fair price for your work" is different depending on where you live.
This is true even in the U.S. If John lives in Iowa where average rent is a third of the average rent in New York where Lisa lives, is it fair to pay John the same that you pay Lisa? After each pays for housing, Lisa will have less money to live on than John will; how is that fair?
Same with a worker in the U.S. compared to a worker in Dubai. A $40K salary in Dubai is worth far, far more than a $40K salary in New York. Whether that's a good thing or not, it's reality.
JeffB what you are saying is correct in a way. but where is the crime in cutting costs? its an integral part of making profits. it would be unfair to those who have invested in Disney or any other corporation if they firms dont do the best they can to give them a return on their investment.
as for paying people. i think it would be ridiculous if you paid someone in India a wage of $75,000 for being an animator. the whole economy would go haywire. it would create a separate class :)
all outsourcing that takes place is happening in some top notch facilities, with good talent who are paid many times the average going wage. so there is no exploitation. that only happens in shoe and carpet and ciggarette factories.
just as an example Rhythm and Hues Bombay moved into a 20,000 sq ft new office. i reckon the rent they are paying is somewhere close to $30,000 a month. this is in a pretty good location in a good building made for an upmarket technichal business. something similar like this in a place like new york city would cost about $80,000 i think.
these costs reflect themsevles in the cost of living which in turn determines the wages. if the cost of living and cost of doing and starting up a business arent equal how can the wages?
Eventually as overseas production houses learn from our outsourcing work they gain the expertise to do it themselves, add higher cost as their workers and economy rise from OUR cheapness. They won't be so "cheap" anymore and become equivilant to the USA as far as production values. Then it will be a case of them biting the hand that feeds them. It is not a matter of IF it that will happen, it is WHEN? Possibly as they grow and America gets weaker because of lack of work and outsourcing, we might fold in on ourselves as they become more expensive and we lower our lofty standards to get our jobs back.
So maybe in like the year 2200 USA animators might finally have their jobs back. Or maybe not, who knows. Till then - outsourcing is the way of the industry, a nessasary evil and is going to be for a loooooong while. I've searched the job boards and all the really great opportunities are overseas. There are NO animation jobs in America. Not like the ones in the golden age of WB way back in the 1950's. It's all contract, PT, hire-n-fire work over here. There they do eagerly welcome experienced American workers cause they are continually learning from us. But what student or newbie animator has the funds or drive to learn a completely new language, culture, and live in a totaly different - often anti-American country?
Outsourcing animation has been the death of the industry since way back in the 60's and the 70's when countries like Korea, China and India advertised cheaper production rates for WB and Disney cartoons. We proud Americans really cannot blame THEM for just wanting to do our jobs. We must blame ourselves for our cheap-assness and get-it-done-as-cheaply-as-possible, "Walmart is great!" mentality. Where did all the more mundane animation jobs go? The ones like tweening, cel coloring, and grunt work go? To those countries because they don't mind doing it. We Americans are so whiney and stuborn about doing the more mundane/"boring"/repetitive tasks so we passed off what used to be student and entry-level animation jobs to the overseas houses. Because they do it cheaper than american workers and they don't complain 1/2 as much. They do the work and they like doing it. It is a massive learning opportunity and they are absorbing it all from us. We could learn a thing or 2 from our friends overseas who are eager to do those "mundane" and monotonous tasks.
Tuam libera mentem - Free your mind
i agree with the last bit about it. though not all of it. i think its quite unfair to say that the countries where the outsourcing takes place are hostile and language is a barrier.
i think most places (less in China) speak English quite well enough to communicate (in India its standard) and the cultures like most cultures are quite open to people. Young animators especially who arent bound by any commitments can learn a great deal if they go out and explore.
I don't know why you say there are no animation jobs in America, tibby101. I hired two animators last week. According to Pixar's website, they're looking for a layout artist, a graphic designer, and a character designer.
I'm not a big expert here, but I have heard my professors complain about this and have a few experiences of my own to draw from. So I will humbly state my opinion.
The problem is that, although there are some animation jobs, not many of us have the required industry experince to get a job as a character designer at Pixar. I just graduated from college in May. All ads I see for jobs want a minimum of 5 years experience. I have some small experience but nothing that will get me a job at Pixar or Disney.Other places doing animation outsource so much of their work that they only have openings for high level positions, so it seems to me that unless you are awesome like Craig McCracken and have amazing ideas that will get you hired as a director, etc. right out of college reguardless of experience, there's no way for you to get in, get some experience, and improve. I would love to do grunt work in animation. And frankly, I'd probably do it for what they pay the guys in India, Korea, etc. (It's better than waiting tables or whatever.) I have no beef with the animators in those countries doing their jobs. It's the U.S. companies that bother me. It seems that someday they will run out of people who are qualified to do their high level jobs, because they won't have a training ground. So instead of having a guys who've been at your studio doing clean-up, then animating, finally moving up to director that knows the studio, the business, etc., you're only option is to hire someone without that experience. Even if it is a genius like Craig McCracken.
Also.... it seems strange to me that there are always openings for professors to teach animation..... as though animators who can't find work in the industry will get jobs teaching it to even more people who won't find jobs. Maybe I'm wrong about that... but seems like that's what I see on AWN's job boards. But reguardless of the state of the industry, I would've majored in animation anyway. I love it so much I'd do it for almost nothing. Sad that these producers don't realize there are people like me here in the U.S. But I guess in 5 years or so I'd probably want to join a union, get a raise, etc. Ok, now I'm just rambling. Sorry.
cream will always rise to the top i reckon. the people involved in animation right now in the US are top talent. it is a worrying trend because new animators do not get the experience but i would also hazard that younger animators ae in a position to go out and work in coutnries where the outsourcing is taking place and get the experience.
the US will always be a hub for creating content because they know their market best (for kids anyway)
I'm not sure why suddenly there's a big flap about animation being outsourced. It's been outsourced for decades. I could have the dates wrong, but most of all TV animation was being outsourced to asia or Canada by the early 60's. To day there are very few animated TV show's that are animated in the USA. You can count those shows on one hand, two hands at the most.
Maybe it's because untill recently there were traditional Feature animated films being made, but now that is all but gone, animators* new and old, are finding out that TV animation has been outsourced for decades. Now for some of the smaller studios to compete with the big guys, Bluth/Fox they started to outsource large chunks of their Feature animation overseas and to Canada.
(* when I say animators, I mean people who actually animate, not storyboarder, character designers, BG designers, writers, etc. I mean the people who actually make the characters move frame after frame after frame.)
I'm not for outsourcing, I'd much rather it stay here, and I like to think I'm doing my part to try and make animation stay here and in some cases bring it back.
I'm not sure how many people on here, aside from the people from India, actually know people that work in the overseas studios? Granted I only know one of my friends who worked at several of the large studios in the Philippines. So I actually talked to him about work there. They were all Filipino, no americans working at the studio aside from the occasionaly excecutive that flew in. I can't remember the exact numbers or if it was by day or week, pretty sure it was by day, but they made about $80 a day. With incentives and speed bonuses he often would make over $100 a day. This is compared to the average person who made $50-60 a day. So they got paid pretty well. Not the same as we get paid in the US, but the cost of living there is much cheaper. On a side note, he moved to California, and is now working at one of the larger animation studios. He also told me they worked relativly long hours about 10 hour days, but hell, thats what I work here. Also, and I thougth this was really funny, they had loud speakers in the studio, wharehouse really, that would call out, "speed," and they would all work as fast as they could for an hour or so. Then they would call out "quality," and they would make what ever they were working on look as good as possible. Didn't matter what scene they were working on :)
So anyway, outsoruceing comes down to the excutives in charge of the US studios and the show creators. If the CEO's want to keep animation in house, they will find a way to cut costs, look at their production pipeline and streamline it to make it efficiant so they're not wasting money. And if a show creator, mostly well known successful ones, stand up and say, I'd like the show to be animated in house, how can we do that. Then there's a good chance it will be. BUT those people are very few and far between. It can be done, but methods and thinking needs to be changed first. Most of the studios like the magic of having the animation done overseas. They ship it off, and several months later they get a half hour show back. They don't have to deal with all the production matters, they just sign a check and that's that.
So in short, outsourcing bad for US, good for the over seas studios. But word of caution, there will always be someone who can do your job faster and willing to work cheaper than you. I'm thinking in the near future, besides India coming into their own, Viet Nam, China, and Africa will be the new animation suppliers of the early 21century.
...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."
So in short, outsourcing bad for US, good for the over seas studios.
So in short, outsourcing bad for US, good for the over seas studios.
I'm not so sure that's true. It seems to me people in these countries, India, Korea, etc. have their own stories they could tell. They all have rich traditions of storytelling, religion, and visual arts. Surely if they hadn't seen an opportunity to use U.S. capitalist values to make a lot of money and recognition, they could have developed their own style of animating, telling their own type of stories. Maybe we are all losing out. Japanese animators surely took their inspiration from the early American animators and ran with it in their own direction. What evolved was a rich way of storytelling and designing characters unlike anything Disney or Fleischer ever did. We're just making foreign animators think inside our box. They're missing out on the chance to create something uniquely theirs, and we're missing out on the chance to be inspired by it. Surely, there are Indian animation studios making their own shows. But why would they really focus on it when there is so much money to be had here? Sure, it seems win/win- they make money, our companies save it, but in the long run I'm not sure it's good for either of us.
Meleponine, I'm talking business, and employment wise not creatively. I wasn't really clear on that. When the subject of outsourcing comes up, I always think of it in a bussiness context, and not a creative one.
Sure it's hard to create your own shows and ideas when you work 10 hours a day, but other people do it. Tim Burton worked at Disney feature for a while. He developed "Nightmare Before Christmas" there and his style is wildly different than Disney. Peter Chung worked at Klasky Csupo on "Rugrats" and his "Aeon Flux" shorts look nothing like "Rugrats." A lot of these overseas studios DO create their own properties, it's just that people in the US don't ever see them. They create them for their own cultures and demographics and release them there, and they are never ment for US eyes. Very few overseas animation styles gain popularity in the states. Anime is one of the few, and it's still not widely accepted in the US. But how many French, German, Russian, UK cartoons get dubed and shown it the US? Not many.
Outsourcing is going to be around for a looong time. There aren't many ways for the US to get back animaton production other than the ways I listed before. Another way though is to follow Canada's route and have the Government step in and offer Government subsidies to animation studios where the work is done in the US by US citizens. I highly doubt that is going to happen. Our government doesn't see animation as a business.
[QUOTE=Animated Ape]Another way though is to follow Canada's route and have the Government step in and offer Government subsidies to animation studios where the work is done in the US by US citizens. I highly doubt that is going to happen. Our government doesn't see animation as a business.
Yeah, too bad. I think everyone in the film business was hoping that electing the governator would have helped revitalize Hollywood and its satellite businesses. But nope....
Even Lucas is opening an animation house overseas (Singapore Lucafilm Animation). It makes Pixar's victories at the theater all the more sweet.
Producing solidily ok animation since 2001.
Now with more doodling!
very few governments have the foresight to see animation as a business and help in its growth. its usually plain sailing for them.
Pixar isnt exacty the best example. they do feature films, very few feature films for theatre go overseas or take in outsourcing (except for some special fx work)
True, but the industry as a whole is poised to go overseas (again, Lucasfilm as an example) as is the SFX industry. Singapore has obviously made a strong case to relocate over there (Lucas Animation, which is rumored to be doing Cone Wars and other TV properties, at one time was going to be in the Bay Area...) It'll be interesting to see who stays.
As far as gov't involvement: It's really unfortunate that the Canadian Film Board isn't nearly what it was 20-30 years ago. Some of the most innovative (and entertaining) animated films came out of their support. Not much to do with out-sourcing, just a shame as it really pushed animation's boundaries with out fear of financial failure.
i think part of the reason is the monotonous nature of some of the work and peoples willingness to do it. i know that Maya in Bombay did most of the harness removal for both Spiderman films. i know some LOTR work was done at Rhythm and Hues India as well.
thing is its becoming increasingly difficult to conclude projects which are already hitting $80-$100million locallin the US simply coz the costs would go up even more. same with animation. the producers are constantly blamed for moving abroad but its not a 10% difference but something much much higher.
in the end its the idea that sells i reckon. and u can do that on a paper napkin. its def going to get harder for people because the downward pressure will always be there.
Honestly, I don't want my tax dollars going to fund experimental animation. I also don't think it's fair to ask the rest of my countrymen to fund animation experiments.
I'd rather see animators get off their butts and find ways to make their animations in a free market.
Brent, you'd rather your tax dollar go to giving millions of dollars in education subsidies to McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell and the others for "Training" their emploiees to put your big mac in a paper bag? Bailing out all the Saving and loans in the 90's? To "Funding" the US military and then send them off to war with no armor unless the shoulder's purchase it them selves? To give billions of dollars in aid to Isreal so they can build a wall? To pay farmers not to plant crops on their land because we have too much food when it could be sent overseas to starving countries instead? Come on, we ALL pay taxes for things we don't agree with. "Free Market" that is a total joke! How are US studios supposed to compete when Canadian studios can put in a bid for half as much because the Canadian government can cover the other half? How is that a "Free Market?" Their cost of living is pretty equal to that of the cities where the US studios are, so that's not a factor. The government subsudies in Canada were specificly designed to bring animation and animation jobs back to Canada. And you know what? It worked.
I'm not against Canada for doing that. Just the oposite, I think they are incredibly smart for doing it. And it's not just Canada and the animation industry. Why do you think so many TV shows and movies are filmed there? Same thing with Prauge. Same with New Zealand. They decided to give film company's tax breaks, and they came. I mean come on "Smallville" is filmed in Canada. They couldn't find a farm and a high school here in the US?
If the US even offered even a quarter of the assistance Canada does, there would be more animation coming back to the US. There are thousands of out of work traditional animators in the LA area alone with not much job prospects. I'm sure most of them would now jump at the chance to actually animate on a TV show and take a drop in pay from their feature animation heydays. They just need to be given a chance from the CEO's running the studios. Like I said before, there needs to be a change in thinking and that needs to start at the top and work it's way down, as well as the union re-inventing it's self or get out of the way.
i think thats a bit of an irresponsible statement from you Brent. no offense. i think your tax dollars have been used in a lot worse ways then supporting an industry tht is seeing some struggle.
Odd. Where did I write that I was happy with my tax dollars going to all those other things besides experimental animation? Experimental animation is only one of the things that I don't want to be taxed for.
but whos talking about experimental animation? Canada and France have a healthy bunch of programming which is quite commerical that is supported by the govt.
I think Brent was replying to my original post on Canada's Film Board in the 50's to 70's. And I can respect that you wouldn't want tax dollars to go towards those projects (or most of the others they're used for for that matter).
I, however, disagree. Art is a worthwhile endeavour. And I really don't think that commercial art should be the only art to choose from. And expiremental doesn't necessarily mean beep soundtracks without narrative. Without Canada's support we would have never gotten such wonderful expiremental films as "Neighbors," amongst others. It still stands out as beautiful pieces of art. Throughout history art has been funded directly by the aristocracy (many of the most famous paintings in the world were done directly for the ruling class).
Out of all the billions and trillions of dollars spent on tax breaks and aid for businesses that don't need any help (Ford, Oil, Nascar!?), spending a million or two on several dozen animated pieces doesn't sound so bad. Not to mention, as Ape points out, it's likely to revitalize a business and bring several times that back in revenue (though jobs, taxes on earned living, surrounding businesses like restaurants, hotels, etc.). Even festivals in Europe are funded in part by government grants. And it pays back huge dividends for those host towns, for relatively little investment.
And if we only wait for profitible business to produce animation of historical consequence, all we'll get is the same old stuff, trying to borrow from whatever succesful animations have already been created. Boring.
I'm not sure about you, but I think animation as a whole benefits from expirementation. Sure, I can only take so many abstract "visual poems" before I want to stab someone, but there is more to expirementing with animation.
Pixar largely grew out of Lasseter's expirements with combining 2D and 3D animation and using 3D's strengths to tell a story. Otherwise they were on the fast track to medical/industrial illustration and providing hardware/software support. We would definitely be worse off had he not gone out on a limb with his ideas and expiremented. Most of the 3d world was expirementing with stuff like this before it went mainstream, it took a while and quite a bit of capital. Now people love it, and it makes bucketloads of money for thousands of individuals in the business. What other forms of animation and techniques have yet to be realised because they're "just expiremental?"
*Side note: It bugs me that expiremental animation has come to mean beep tracks with abstract images. I wish it would actually be a more literal meaning, expirementing with animation (ie. you have a guess of where you're going, but you're not really sure of the outcome).
gotcah. i think you are right to a certain extent. but i guess it comes down to each govt takin its own stand. besides there has always been a greater push towards commercial enterprise from the US based firms. i think private enterprise in a lot of cases has made up for the lack of interest govt has shown