• entries
  • comments
  • views

But Why Do This?



I've been trying to publish my essays on a schedule, but I feel like I need to explain why I'm doing these blog entries at all, and so I'm publishing this out-of-order. Several times I've been told "You know this is a cartoon, right? The creators didn't put this much effort into it, why are you bothering?"


Actually, they did. They put a lot of effort into making this cartoon, and I respect the effort that they put into it. I know I don't have the skills to do what they do, and I truly know that I don't have the discipline to learn those skills well enough to compete in that arena.


But first let me answer the question directly: Doing what I do amuses me, and is part of the entertainment I get from the show. I would do this kind of thing even if I didn't have these blogs to do it in. I just don't normally write it all down. I don't expect anyone else to be the same type of person I am, but I know that some of you out there are in some way amused and entertained by what I'm doing, so I am publishing it through these blogs.


Also, I fully admit that I am easily, and often, wrong with what I conclude. Because I've never had the opportunity to talk to any of the show staff directly, I may be missing things, or noticing things that were accidental. But I'm trying my best at this, and I try to admit when I've made a mistake. Plus when I enter into speculation territory, I try to always put it in terms of speculation, and not as fact.


Back to the topic: The creative staff involved in the stuff I'm pulling out of the episodes is a fair number of people. There's the writers, the editors, the storyboard artists, the animators, the background artists, the in-betweeners, the actors, the musicians, the effects people, and in the current show you have the prop builders, the puppet makers and probably many more as I don't know all the steps necessary to produce a cartoon like these. And a good number of these people will have learned not just the tools they're using, but have formally studied film, art, animation, and music history and theory. In so doing they will learn some architecture, costuming, historical props, and the culture from various periods in order to provide a kind of library of symbols that they can put into their work so that they don't have to spell out every aspect that they want to convey. And each person's hands that the work passes through has the opportunity to add or modify things that they are drawing from their library. Good animated features, heck good Art in general, includes a lot more than the immediate surface of the piece, but will use symbols, like dress and environment to indicate mood, status, and other things of note. The setting of a story itself becomes a character of sorts, complete with implied and explicit backstories and behaviors.


Not all the people involved will be doing this, of course, but there will always be some who are, in the good productions. When I went to University, there was a large Art College not that far away, and there was an exchange of students on certain subjects to minimize overlap and to give the best education in their respective specialties. In my classes on architecture, a full third of the students were actually model builders and illustrators from the Art College, looking to increase their library of symbols. In my literature and history classes, we had a good number of hopeful scriptwriters and artists, and in the one film class I took over at the Art College itself, there were several prospective storyboard artists that I was aware of.


In My Little Pony, even in earlier generations, there are many times where the creative staff have obviously used reference material to get accurate symbols for the artistic shorthand they are using. Sometimes they don't get it quite right. For example, in the My Little Pony 'n Friends episodes 'The Glass Princess', there are very accurately drawn spinning wheels and looms from the 18th-19th century. However, the artists very obviously only drew based on pictures of the wheels and looms, and had never seen them in use. Making some very broad and incorrect assumptions on how they actually worked when the characters were spinning thread and making cloth. But for the most part they do very well indeed.


Other people are more qualified to critique the writing, drawing, animation, acting, and music as artforms. I know history, mythology, architecture, clothing, and cultural models. So I am pulling out what I can, speculating and building on the setting itself based on what I'm good at, knowing that those others are already doing critiques based on their own specializations.


Some of them use comedy to do their stuff, some use earnestness, some do nerd rage, and so on. Most are doing vlogs or podcasts. But I don't have the equipment or knowledge to do either of those. So I use this format. Maybe someday I'll try doing one of those, but I'm not sure it will work for what I'm trying to do. Heck, I'm not sure *this* format is really working. I've not being doing it for very long at all.


In any case, I hope I've answered the question, and I'll return you to your regularly scheduled.... stuff.

  • Brohoof 4


Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.