Friday, June 22, 2018

CalArts: The sad end of the American animation renaissance.

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For many, the exact moment when the creative outlet that CalArts provided, metastasized into the unhealthy black mold of media entertainment is easy to identify:

Right there.  That's where it happened.

Like many such situations, the confluence of different emotions and negative expectations give rise to a lackadaisical pessimism that at once is so palpable yet in turn, so difficult to articulate.  To sum this up, we can call it a galvanization of assumptive reasoning which now invokes a general negative.  Much like a movie using the words “Staring Adam Sandler” will guarantee you won’t be watching it, now a CalArts design will serve as the singularity of information which will be interpreted by potential fans as “avoid this in general.”

As with any modal thing, CalArts by itself is not by default “good” or “bad” but becomes associated with one or the other as time progresses (fool me once, blah blah blah).  What seems to have developed is a transition from CalArts being associated with creative, progressive, socially attuned, and intelligent ongoing/connected story-lines, into simply the packaging of recycled properties which are considered financially safe and churned out with a rubber-stamp monotony only permeated by the occasional reversal of a gender dynamic or a reference of an internet meme from 8 years ago. 

Much as Adult Swim had many years ago gone from something creative and funny to the mental hellscape of what it is today; something which only holds entertainment value to suburban stoners who couldn’t remember what shows they watched the very next day if their life depended on it and subsisting on a diet of 50% weed, 50% Cheetos, and 50% Mountain Dew (common core math, it totally works), CalArts seems now to simply be the indicator of a production with the least amount of animation effort set to a script that would make a better radio-show than anything else, and will seem just forced as all fuck.

Artist rendering of the potential absolute hell we could be seeing by 2019.

The only positive to come from this situation is that it may possibly spur a backlash strong enough to push truly well-made, and beautifully animated new and original productions to the forefront.  The people will demand change and will vote by changing the channel or whatever.  It is difficult not to become outraged when one sees this CalArts repackaging crap-fest brain child of an actual man-bun sporting parody of a parody of "woke" hipster given priority over amazing artistic works like this:

Seriously, why is this not on TV in its 3rd season by now?

Animation is a visual medium.  Those visuals communicate immense amounts of information in both the form of a singularity and of a linear progression.  Not only has CalArts become the new face of over-homogenization, but it is also now associated with rehashed, unoriginal productions which are treated far too much like financial instruments based on "bankable properties" and not enough like creative endeavors.

Will things get worse before they get better?  No, I am thinking things will get worse and just stay that way.





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