published 13 July 2011
This handwritten letter is by Austin Madison, Pixar animator of Rex, the green dinosaur in the Toy Story series (among other characters he’s designed). Madison’s letter is a submission to the Animators Letters Project, and it so eloquently describes what I was attempting to say in 140 characters.
Here’s page one:
I, like many of you artists out there, constantly shift between two states. The first (and far more preferable of the two) is white-hot, “in the zone” seat-of-the-pants, firing on all cylinders creative mode. This is when you lay your pen down and the ideas pour out like wine from a royal chalice! This happens about 3% of the time.
The other 97% of the time I am in the frustrated, struggling, office-corner-full-of-crumpled-up-paper mode. The important thing is to slog diligently through this quagmire of discouragement and despair. Put on some audio commentary and listen to the stories of professionals who have been making films for decades going through the same slings and arrows of outrageous production problems.
In a word: PERSIST.
Page two continues with canny and inspirational advice for those of us — actually all of us — trudging through the creative blocks that fill most of our days. At the end of today’s workday, I’m happy to report that I persisted, knocked out lots of mediocre stuff, and then cranked out a couple above-average ideas towards the end.
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