Sunday, September 20, 2009

Test, Grrrrr.

Here's a "test" that I didn't want to do.

I find the idea of "testing" for a job insulting. Look at our reel, look at our website. Doesn't that make it clear that we're professionals with a track record of delivering a variety of work.

In few instances we've been paid to produce these tests. I still don't like it, but at least its not insulting.

Just to be clear, I don't like testing for jobs because we're in the business of making films -or at least contributing to them. These films require certain work flows, time and resources that are completely out of the range of these "tests". The "test" isn't demonstrating the production methodology or thinking behind the creation of the film -it's a flashy sales gimmick.

When we did the test for The Buddha which I wrote about yesterday, we actually were exploring and testing how we'd make the thing -at least in a microcosmic way.

In this test here, which Christina animated, we were being asked to jump through a hoop for a project which I KNEW WASN'T EVEN GOING TO HAPPEN. We assented because we liked the guys who asked us to do it. It was sort of a personal favor to help them seal the deal.


How did I know it wasn't going to happen, you ask. The "producer" told us the financiers were set to go to series on something like 26 once they OK a test. No network backer, no scripts even. Nothing. Of course, they're not serious. Nobody would dump 10 million dollars on a TV show without any discernible plan to recoup that expense.

But we did it anyway. I think Christina did a good job. I'm embarrassed to admit I can remember who else worked on it. I know one or two other people were around the studio, but I can get kind of petulant when I feel coerced into a project.


David B. Levy said...

Some tests can be fair and understandable. While at Blue's Clues we animation artists were given an opportunity to test for their children's book line. It was a different area of which none of us had any experience, but because of our knowledge of the show, they asked us to test. I took the test and ended up doing over 15 books. For a few years I had a double salary because of that and a huge new area for my resume.

roconnor said...

Testing is always a good idea for the people giving the test.

If they hire the wrong person they can blame the test, if they don't want to hire someone -they can site the test.

Regardless, if one is going to ask professionals to take a test beyond a portfolio review they should be compensated and all work they do should be returned to the artist.

David B. Levy said...

I can get what you are saying in theory, yet I don't regret taking a test to do those children's books. The result of spending 10 hours on that test speak for themselves. Tests don't always work out, but in that case I had no samples to show to prove I could draw children's books. I think that if I wanted to be considered for that I would have either needed to make my own samples or take their test.

The test was the key to an amazing opportunity that I would not have had otherwise.

Elliot Cowan said...

"if one is going to ask professionals to take a test beyond a portfolio review they should be compensated and all work they do should be returned to the artist."

Agreed 100%.