Hi, I'm new, but this is something I'd really like to talk about. I don't consider myself an animator -- I've dabbled in it before but I fell I just don't have the artistic talent or patience necessary -- but I'm very interested in the field. I consider myself much more a writer, and I'm really interested in creating/designing a cartoon series.
So here is my question/topic for discussion: Why aren't animators using the internet? To give you an analogy, my main occupation is as a musician. Since the internet sprung up, there's been a huge surge of interest and activity in the field of independent music. The internet has been the greatest aid in breaking free of the old system of major labels: music has become decentralized and democratic. Bands can do what they do for less money and more effectively get themselves spread around and known without relying on Sony or Virgin to basically hand them out a music career.
Why hasn't this happened with animation yet? The means are all there for someone to create content and distribute it over the web while supporting themselves financially with ads, merchandise, etc. It's almost a perfect analogy to the music industry: Television (and movie distributors) are the same as major labels, programs like Macromedia Flash make producing animation cheap and effective just like music programs such as Garageband or Reaper. Yet I still see most animators clinging to the idea that they need to break into "the industry" and have someone hand them a job.
If you don't believe it can be done, there's at least one good example. Homestarrunner has been going strong for years and the animators are supporting themselves through merchandise alone. Yet I can't think of another single example. So I'd say not only is it possible, but this is perhaps the best time to get in on it. It's like there's this vaccuum that's waiting to be filled. People love youtube; there's no reason a cartoon show (with competent writing) couldn't be produced cheaply and efficiently enough to regularly put out content that would generate a huge fanbase.
Okay, and for the sake of full disclosure: yes I am looking to write such a cartoon series and I'm looking for interested animators. I encourage you to PM me if you're interested, but even if you're not I thought it would make a good discussion. I'm not trying to say the current system should be torn down, but I just feel like there's an opportunity here that isn't being taken advantage of. What do you guys think?