How to maintain motivation

Motivation, thou art a slippery beast.


In all art forms, an artist strives for motivation and inspiration during the act of creation, and short animated film making is no exception. But unlike other art forms, making a single short animated film can take quite a long time, years in fact.  Maintaining ones drive to continue to the end of a film on these kinds of time scales is not easy in the slightest, and one must use every trick in the book to keep going.


I’ve observed that motivation can take on many forms, and in my own personal experiences, I can distil them down to four main types. The reason why I think it is important to differentiate one from another is because motivation in all it’s forms, usually does not last for the duration of the production of the film. In fact, It rarely last for any real good stretch of time. Therefore it is wise to be able to try and jump from the back of one form onto another, hoping that one doesn’t fall in between, and become stuck with no motivation at all.


Type 1: Internal Inspiration
A usual starting point for the genesis of an idea. Internal inspiration must be strong enough to carry oneself all the way from the initial creation of the idea into pre-production, and hopefully, at least into the beginning of production, or else the idea probably wasn’t good or strong enough to begin with. During the course of production, internal inspiration can also often spring unexpectedly from reviewing milestones in ones own work, like watching a monthly edit, or a great piece of polished character animation. A sense of self admiration of ones own good work is always welcome.


Type 2: External Inspiration
The second most common form of motivation comes from without. Watching a movie, looking at a piece of art, noticing how the light falls while walking on the way to work. This is the second most common form of inspiration, and is usually a great instant hit when ones own inspiration begins to slow down. But like any drug while that hit can be powerful, external inspiration rarely lasts for long. Watching a great film on a Friday night can be the difference between a productive weekend, and a weekend spent trawling websites and too many games of Bejewelled.


To be concluded in my next entry.

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