Monday, March 30, 2009
The Book Gets a Cover
I supposed I'd be a terrible self-promoter (Tom Warburton and Cartoonbrew have already be me to the punch) if I didn't mention that my upcoming book, Animation Development: From Pitch to Production was available for pre-sale on amazon.
Writing a book such as this is such a long-term project. A year-and-a-half to write, and then months of waiting until Allworth Press's edited manuscript dropped back into my hands. The task now at hand is for me to reread the entire book and answer the highlighted questions the editor marked here and there. The good news is that my publisher, editor, and their sales agents are already very happy with the book.
In a couple of weeks, I'll return the final manuscript. The next step will be for me to approve the galleys, which is the first stage in which I get to hold a print-out in my hands and see pictures and text woven together for the first time. The last stage happens on September 8th, when the book finally hits shelves. Whew!
I still remember the feeling I got when I opened the box containing copies of my first book. There's something about a book that is different from a film, (besides the obvious differences, of course). A animated film is like magic; an illusion. Richard O' Connor recently remarked (in a comment on this blog) that animation is essentially a process. He's correct. Animation is series of frame-by-frame images that only come together the moment we flip drawings, ram preview, render, press the dvd play button, or tweak the knob of a projector. That's when this process comes to life, albeit it only for the length of the animation. It doesn't really exist outside of that moment of play.
Even when you hold the dvd in your hands, its not really the same as holding a book: leafing through its pages, smelling the ink, and (over time) making your own signs of wear and use visible to its spine. A book comes alive in the reader's hands. I'm very grateful to have had this experience, and I'm tickled that I'll soon have it again.
There's something different about this book from the last. The first book served as a sort of walking tour through a potential career in animation. A career in animation could not have been a broader subject. There was so much to cover, and over the years I'm finding more and more to include if and when we are fortunate enough to print an updated edition. By its very nature, the first book had to assume that a good portion of its readers might be beginners or students.
This time out, I have a book that has the benefit of a more concise subject. And while the book will certainly appeal to beginners and students, there's an even greater likelihood that Animation Development: From Pitch to Production could appeal to established animation artists, writers, directors, filmmakers, voice artists, producers, development executives... in short--anyone that dares to be closer involved towards the creation or production of an animated series.
A while back I took some slams on the asifaeast.com "exposure sheet" blog after touting of the value of relationships to any career in animation. I'm still scratching my head about that one. My current freelance job, as the supervising animator of a prime time network pilot, sprang directly out of a relationship I fostered with its creator after we met six years ago while serving on a film festival jury. In a few weeks I start a new freelance gig that sprouted out of a relationship I have with the producer (in fact, I helped recommend her for that job by arranging an introduction to the network's senior director of programming).
Fostering and nurturing relationships not only leads to employment opportunities...it can also help you get well known characters on your book cover. It took three or four months of e-mails and legal back-and-fourths, but relationships I had with friends Tom Warburton, Brown Johnson, Linda Simensky, Angela Santomero, and Traci Paige Johnson... allowed my new book to be adorned with some very recognizable characters, and for that I will always be grateful.
Unlike my explanation about the different natures of books and films, relationships have no trouble bridging that great divide.