As part of my preparations for the upcoming re-launch, I’m moving this website over to a new server. I installed WordPress on Network Solutions and they are not one of those open, friendly hosting services that gives you access to the database. I have to manually transfer the content into the new admin. Consequently I find myself going back through my blog posts from 2003 onward, getting a sometimes excruciating second look at the last six years. My blog entries from that time and that place no longer have much to do with the person I am today. They may have been part of my foundation, but the person who wrote them is a stranger to me now.
For one thing I spent A LOT of time blogging about the effect of foreign outsourcing on the animation industry. Bad press and impracticality kept foreign outsourcing from completely eliminating American jobs, a lot of people just immigrated here, and the animation industry went to 3D anyway. It was interesting to read the entry announcing the closure of the Disney Florida feature studios again just as the first traditionally animated Disney feature since Home on the Range is about to be released. Like a backyard garden, things wither and things are born again. This window into the past just reinforces for me how I slipped away from animation altogether and found a new love for comics.
In other news, my last trip to my grandparents’ house revealed a lot of letters I didn’t realize we had. My great-grandparents kept a scrapbook while their son was at war and attached every communication they received during those 4 years to its pages. There were also a ton of newspaper articles from the Port Arthur paper, many of them referencing my grandfather and his parents. The contents gave me a lot of additional information, enough to scrap all of my current page numbers and say I will just have to number the script when I’m done with it, I can’t plan for how many additional pages I might insert throughout. Two sets of letters have filled out the brief stay on Angel Island prior to deployment and considering how weak I thought that section was in my original manuscript, obviously I’m reworking it. One thing I noticed: my grandfather outlined his entire Thanksgiving menu. Apparently food was high on his mind even before he was starving in Japan.
I finally finished moving my entire Blog into the new WordPress format. I didn’t realize until I went back through all of these posts that my first post was in November 2003. Back then I was starting a blog on the animation industry. I was pretty young and naive in those days, and I was doing a lot of writing about foreign outsourcing in animation. In 2004, foreign outsourcing was out of control. Four years later, it’s stabilized. Disney traditional animation is revitalized and a new 2D feature is coming out. I was right, but I couldn’t have anticipated the change in direction my own life would take. I didn’t know then that I would come to a place where the industry and I would have next to nothing in common anymore. Reading back through all the passionate posting, I had to examine my past and ask myself what I became.
When I started writing for an online comic, and when I began meeting all of the comics artists at cons all over the country, I became part of that world instead. Ultimately it’s where I would rather be. I also had no idea, in those idealistic days, that I would enjoy my corporate role in web production so much. I love what I do for a living, to the point where it’s not just for a living anymore, it’s a passion. I live and breathe internet business, and make comics on the side. And even more than that, I’m proud of being a consistent blogger since it was a new idea in 2003. It’s about time it was in a real blogging platform, my old blog could not accept comments. I was getting traffic back then, and some of those comments could have been pretty outrageous.
Should you ask, “I thought the strip was dead? How are you involved in comics?” The strip is not dead. It’s going through yet another transition. This space is mine, for my Ask Maridee blog. But remember, just as a hint, there is another domain name out there that hasn’t gotten much use in awhile. And this week I found out that it will get use again at the beginning of next year. It’s the best thing and the right thing, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.
Speak of the devil, Animation Guild president Kevin Koch (he’s not the devil, the subject is) was interviewed on Lou Dobbs last week concerning Disney’s annoucement that they will shortly be outsourcing to India. The transcript is available here, and it’s not hard to see that though this was an important effort, what actually came across in the interview does not have much of an impact. Severely edited, the gist of the interview is that animation outsourcing is bad mainly because Disney will lose its emotional appeal. Everyone in the industry knows there is far more to say than what can be condensed into three minutes and one sound byte per person.
Last Saturday night was the Toonie Awards banquet held by Cartoonists Northwest. Congratulations to winner Kevin Brockschmidt, and to nominees Shary Flenniken, Bill Van Horn, Mike Grell and Bill Barnes. Mike Grell was the speaker, and his description of a cartoonists journey from confusion to middle age was fascinating and inspiring. I’ve been given the new responsibility of writing up our meetings for the newsletter, so look for my notes on Kaja and Phil Foglio’s appearance on March 19th in the next issue of Pen Stuff.