Keith Lango comments on the conclusion to my MRP and Peter Hon adds some very good thoughts about the time and effort it takes to do an independent film.
I know exactly what he's talking about. I've been debating whether to start a graphic novel, where I could tell a lengthy story, or do a short animated film. I'm guessing that they'd take me the same amount of time, but one would allow for a more complex story. However, I wonder if I'm not thinking boldly enough.
I think that trying to make a short film that's as polished as professional work is a mistake. Adding up the man hours (more like man years) that are spent on any studio production (TV or film), it's almost impossible for an individual to invest the same amount of time. To make a Pixar quality short as an individual, you might have to start immediately after the doctor slaps your behind in the delivery room and you might not finish before landing in your death bed.
So the thing to do is focus on content. That's where so much of studio animation falls short anyway. Studio content is aimed at the widest possible audience and the audience goes for it because it's similar to what's been done before.
Say something new (or say something familiar in a new way) and forget about slickness. If what you're saying isn't worth paying attention to, slickness won't change that. Furthermore, how many ideas are worth spending years of your life on? If you've got one, I sincerely congratulate you. However, an awful lot of animated films aren't worth the time spent to watch them, let alone to make them. Rather than worrying about refining our work, maybe we should worry about saying something interesting.
I'm not attacking the idea of craft, but I've never felt that craft was enough. Just as many animation artists publish sketchbooks, maybe we need an animated equivalent. Whether drawn, stop motion or cgi, maybe we need to work for more spontaneity and less for refinement. Elevate content over form. Forget about sanding off the rough edges. Make your statement quickly and move on.