If you are reading this, you are likely procrastinating on your current animation, artistic endeavor, or creation.
Perhaps you made it past the giant step of actually starting your animation, but took a break shortly there after. And over time, that seemingly harmless “break” has grown from a single day to a couple weeks in length.
Perhaps you’ve tried to get back into your work by un-rusting with shorter animations. But once you open up the document, and you see the sheer amount of work that has yet to be done, you extend your hiatus for just another day.
So here’s a tip for the highly unmotivated animators out there:
Don’t do it for fun.
Yup. Ditch that idea that your projects and creations are fun to work on.
But before you jump to conclusions, please allow me to explain.
A Problem with “Fun”
- Enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure.
Let’s be absolutely clear about something: I’m not against the idea of fun!
I just think it’s an inaccurate term.
So when you say,
I say, “Fun? What do you mean.” And then I become the resident party-pooper at the office.
But really, I think we use fun to describe too many activities. Activities that are actually quite different from each other.
- Playing video games on the couch is fun. Running outdoors is fun.
- Flying 100 mph on roller coasters is fun. Sitting on a park bench is fun.
- Partying with your friends is fun. Reading a novel by yourself is fun.
- Eating is fun. Cooking is fun.
Watching an animation is fun. Animating is fun.
No. For me, I don’t like saying that last one.
Though, animation does seem like fun. The kind of fun you get when playing a video game or watching a movie. Or watching someone else make art. The creation of that delightful experience you enjoyed.
How awesome would it be to see my ideas come into fruition?
It looks fun!
But that’s from the consumer’s point of view. What the viewer is seeing is the product of many, many hours of focused planning, drawing, coloring, and editing by an animator. We’re talking at least dozens of hours for a decent 2 minute video. In reality, the time commitment between a viewer and the animator is massive.
And I believe those who procrastinate on their animations may have glossed over this fact.
Once you’re in the trenches of a project, the fun fades and is replaced by work. It is inevitable!
Remember: You’re working on your animation, not funning.
This is why I put so much emphasis on picking the right idea.
You have to be able to work on this project when you hit the no-fun-zone barrier.
What is this barrier?
It is the threshold at which the initial excitement and novelty of a new project ceases to interest you. Many things can prompt the no-fun-zone to appear:
- The work is getting repetitive and tedious.
- Your idea isn’t as cool as you thought it would be.
- The animation is too hard, and it looks ugly.
- You find out someone else has done something similar to your idea already.
- You started the project for no reason at all, and now you just don’t care anymore!
This barrier appears at the end of the honeymoon phase, and it is usually around 2-3 hours into the project.
It is the death of many hopes and dreams.
We’re not supposed to have fun when animating?
Isn’t that the whole point??
Shouldn’t we take a break and animate when it is fun?
If you’re not having fun, then the work will be crappy!
If you’re doing an activity that will take dozens, maybe hundreds of hours to finish, and you’re expecting every single one of those hours of activity to be exciting, fun and enjoyable, then you’re never going to finish it.
While you are procrastinating, and waiting until you feel like doing the project, something more exciting will pop up. And with that mindset, you will choose the more fun option. The option that you feel like doing. It is the road to vaporware. Trust me, I’m familiar with it!
So give up on fun as your reason for animating. It is a sucky motivator and needs to go back to coaching school.
Over time, once you get used to working, it will become enjoyable.
Your mindset shifts from, “GRUHH. This is so much WORK.” to “Heh, this isn’t so bad!”
That’s why you see more experienced animators just clocking away at the frames. “Feeling like animating” is not even a factor. In fact, they probably WANT to animate, almost like they need to get it out of their system.
They may describe it as fun!
But really, it’s not fun in the way that an exciting video game or movie is. It is enjoyable more like working out at the gym gives you a feeling of satisfaction, or flow.
In a way, you could say:
Animation becomes “fun” when you don’t do it for fun. So don’t tell yourself you do it for fun!
Understand that this is a way to combat laziness! If you are physically unable, or mentally stressed out, and you cannot focus on animating, then rest. Everyone must regulate and use my advice with some common sense.
Purpose over Fun
So this is what you must tell yourself when faced with laziness.
Animating is not “fun”.
THEN WHY THE HECK AM I DOING IT?
I don’t know, maybe you should consult the mirror and ask yourself. But I can take a couple guesses why:
- You appreciate the beauty of animated characters.
- You want to master one of the most difficult art forms out there.
- You see the power of animation to make others feel awesome, elated, sad, or just plain entertained.
- You want to create the illusion of life.
- You wish to inspire others. From nothing, to an idea in your head, to the animation, all the way to an idea in someone else’s head.
- You have a story to tell, and animation is the only form that will do it justice.
Stop saying it’s fun. Fun is too broad a brush to sum all those reasons up.
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