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Futility hoops.

 

The show was green-lit and I was like ‘fuck, what do we do now?’ We really hadn’t thought it through.

That is Ben Bocquelet, Creator of The Amazing World Of Gumball, talking about the moment when the show was commissioned by Cartoon Network.

One assumes that Cartoon Network don’t make that kind of decision without thinking it through.

So how does an idea come to pass in a situation where its patron has thought it through but its creator hasn’t?

Just seconds before he said those words Ben shared with the audience of The Story 2013 some slides of the beautifully produced “Show Bible” that had been part of the commissioning process.

The Show Bible looked to be about 30 pages long.

It contained polished illustrations of the characters, along with detailed descriptions of personality traits, motivations and relationships.

(Gumball personas.)

It contained sketches and storyboards.

It went to great, highly rendered lengths to demonstrate the vision for the show’s aesthetic.

It evidently gave Cartoon Network enough detail and confidence to back the idea.

And yet it (evidently) wasn’t enough for Ben to know how to make it.

Somehow the process by which an idea was defined, packaged and sold was, shall we say, less than 100% helpful to the process of making the idea happen.

Hoops were jumped through.

And a sale was made.

(The hoop jumping was a fruitful exercise in that respect).

But the hoop jumping was a futile exercise in terms of actually moving the idea forward. There was little synergy between the commissioning process and the production process.

Heaven forbid that the process by which agency ideas are defined, packaged and sold should be similarly inefficient.

Unfortunately agency life does include more than its fair share of futile hoop jumping.

The processes we put in place (the games we play) in response to client demands for frameworks, structure, risk management and rigour are inefficient.

The rigour is well intentioned but misdirected.

A lot of  intellectual horsepower is wasted by a transmission system that doesn’t actually turn the wheels of the end product.

Anyway, here is Ben’s end product. An episode he used at The Story to demonstrate the 100% directed rigour applied to writing and animating his stories.

The Amazing World of Gumball: The Job by fecth

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