Posted on August 19th, 2022
I have been tweeting a lot about the endless cancellations/shelving/write-offs/whatever going on over at Discovery/WB. Until yesterday, I was mostly thinking of it purely as just a fan or at most, a long-time, amateur, industry observer/occasional podcast talking-head. Sure, by happenstance, I am very lucky and happy to have made a few friends in animation and localization, but generally, it all felt like a disaster in the distance, as previous entertainment industry management failures have for me.
Then Discovery started shelving if not fully memory-holing a bunch of shows that weren’t as far from me as I thought, at least once I thought about it. Victor & Valentino had development and storyboard work from my great friend and Storyboard Pro code collaborator Corey Barnes. Infinity Train had storyboard work from Marie Lum, who once kindly said the Storyboard Pro scripts that Corey & I built were worthy of a Winsor McCay Animation Lifetime Achievement award: a level of praise I never expected for any code I’d write.
Ruminating on those connections changed the context. This debacle is all at a very different distance than when I used to complain about TV network mismanagement as an aimless, 20-something forum-goer turned volunteer animation critic & forum mod. Sure, that also meant I was very aware of folks moving on to new roles and new opportunities; by and large, I know this won’t instantly throw people out in the cold. However, more than I’d ever had known previously, I was keenly aware of just how much work was being cast into limbo as I’d literally had helped reduce the work load with the only relevant talent I could contribute. All these realizations did was make me more upset at how callous and unjust the rules around intellectual property and copyrights owned by companies are. The artists and their fans deserve better.
So, while I usually don’t get so heavy, I want to take a moment to say if one your favorite shows is being caught up in all of this, and if the artists who made it have any direct support options – commissions, ko-fi, gumroad, patreon, etc. – now’s a good time to lend a hand, if only emotionally, if not materially, by taking advantage of those options. Further still, we need to agitate for changes in copyright and IP write offs such that that works intentionally orphaned via said write-offs either return to the original creatives, or go instantly into the public domain such that it still frees the original creators, the greater staff and even fans to distribute and celebrate these works, so they are not lost to time. I dearly hope reform like that happens, and that, as I have to admit myself, is no longer me pontificating as someone on the sidelines, but as someone who at least helped people play the game a little bit, and would like to see a system that encourages their endeavors, not one that squanders them for single quarter’s balance sheet.
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