Sylvain Chomet, the director of The Triplets of Belleville, has an op-ed piece in today's Times addressing the pressing question, "Why is there so much bad animation?" Chomet suggests that the Academy Awards' decision to add a category for best animated feature in 2001 [in which his film has been nominated this year] is a mixed blessing for the future of animated films.
An inexperienced producer might think that making an animated film is easy. Take a cute story, tell it with funny drawings, sprinkle it with gags, market it to an unsophisticated audience. A potential investor might equally assume that doing an animated film involves coloring and drawing all day and is by nature fun.
Well, in almost 20 years of doing animation, I have only rarely come across a studio of fulfilled artists. Most of the artists who worked with me on The Triplets of Belleville tell me of their boredom or disappointment with the projects they are working on now. (One of the most talented artists has given up animation to do tattooing.)
The cinetrix is delighted that Chomet's thoughts appear the day before his film goes up against Finding Nemo and others for the Best Animated Film Oscar. However, she also knows that the Saturday paper is where stories get buried, which is why she urges you to read this editorial.
[If nothing else, it might lead you to your next tattoo.]