Came across this little gem a few days ago.
I love hearing about people’s backgrounds, how they arrived at animation as a career, and in this case some career highlights (Iron Giant and Mary Poppins Returns!)
Something really interesting that seems to be a recurring theme for a lot of people working in this industry, there’s a moment of realization that a lot of people see to share. Chris mentions it here in the context of touring Sheridan back when he was trying to figure out a career path. There’s a moment where a lot of people say something to the effect of “I had no idea you could have a career in animation!”. I think it happens less these days, as awareness of animation as a viable career path is a little more widespread. But what I find fascinating is this kind of “othering” that takes place in the phrasing of that sentence. It’s a small thing, but I think it says a lot. When we say YOU could have a career in animation, it’s a way of verbalizing that “I” could have a career in animation. That might just appear to be a semantic distinction, but I really feel it’s a significant one, and says a lot more about the kind of humans who gravitate to this line of work.
When we say “you”, we’re expressing a very genuine shock and realization that “this could be me”. It’s a barrier being broken, a recognition of accessibility to something that was only ever an abstract notion. People make these cartoons, but they must be special people. Wait, I can make these cartoons? I’m a special person? It’s a mindset that I think is a little less common these days, but it feeds into the idea that we’re so lucky to be doing this, and that’s the key ingredient to our vulnerability as employees. Someone is always doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to partake in our dream job. It’s small but significant distinction that demonstrates our insecurity. It’s genuine, and one would hope that we’d find work somewhere that values us and protects that beautiful, humble, fragile human. More often than not, in the past, it’s the soft underbelly that allows us to be taken advantage of and manipulated.
But that’s me getting into the weeds on one very small aspect of a pretty good interview. Have a watch when you have a moment. Chris seems like a really lovely fellow, and it’s really great to hear directly from him.