This interesting article on Cartoon Brew features a look at Disney’s Burbank studio back when it was being planned. Blogger Amid Amidi writes:
But more than the lack of charm, the Burbank studio’s ostentatious in-your-face luxuriousness suggested a certain tone deafness on Walt Disney’s part. It rankled the hundreds of artists who were struggling to get by on $15-per-week salaries, and who now realized that the company cared more about its films than the well-being of its rank-and-file employees. It hardly mattered to the artists that Walt had had to borrow money from the banks to pay for the construction of the studio. Labor tensions began to escalate just months after artists moved into the studio, and within 18 months, the nasty Disney strike that threatened to destroy the entire studio had begun.
I think what artists desire is a we’re-all-in-this-together comradery sort of feeling. We’re all on the same team, we’re all working together to produce something we can all be proud of.
But the atmospheres of some offices (including the pics featured in the aforementioned blog post) kind of make me sick. Instead of a comradery feeling, they evoke a factory feeling. The artists are just cogs. Uncle Walt will get all the power and glory, and you sit at your desk and do the work your superiors tell you.
I think creative artists in the entertainment industry can struggle with this feeling a lot. On the one hand, creativity demands the freedom and power to pursue one’s creative interests. On the other hand, creating something as big and complicated as a film, especially an animated film, demands a level of conformity, a level of sacrifice of control. This is one of the reasons I can’t pursue a career in animation with as much fervor as I once thought I could; I just find the prospect of a studio life somewhat intimidating. I have the utmost respect and admiration for those artists who can keep their sanity while bringing these awesome new and wonderful worlds to life. I’m not sure I’m humble enough for that sort of work.
OK, I don’t know what this post about. I think I’m hinting at another post I’d like to write sometime soon about how creativity and art require humility.