“Crunchtime”. The sound of it would make one think that its a fun break during the day where you eat your favorite candybar. If only that was true. The reality of it is that we, the animators, are under such pressure to produce the absolute best work we can in as little time possible.
During severe crunch, the concept of “24 hour blocking” goes into full affect, where you have 24 hours to come up with the choreography of a shot and show your choices to the director for approval to continue with the idea. Sometimes it goes good (“good idea”) and sometimes it goes really bad (“start over and just copy the storyboards”). The end of every pitch (good or bad) leaves you questioning your worth as an animator and an artist. After years of doing this type of thing and because of the time it takes to execute an idea to completion (making every frame look amazing @ 24 fps), it’s very easy to fall into formulas and become afraid to take risks for the sake of hitting your deadlines. This rollercoaster can really do a job on your own personal creativity.
Where am I going with this?? I think it’s important to revisit that kid who was aspiring to become a professional artist as often as you can and ask them for help. For me, it was 18 years ago when I was in my room doing little flipbooks from exercises I learned in this book:
while listening to these albums:
studying anatomy by drawing from these comics:
and watching these movies:
When I feel like I’m down and out or losing touch with my creative self, I dig up this stuff and watch/listen/look through it and I feel refreshed afterward. Another creative gold mine I return to often is thumbing through my old sketchbooks. It helps to give me perspective of how far I’ve come as an artist and there may be a little doodle or two that gives me an idea. So never toss anything that may be of creative value someday!! You never know where your next masterpiece will come from!!