Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Bill Hanna Rule

A Wise Old Animation Director and I were chatting today. He reminded me of the fabled rule of animation from the co-founder of Hanna-Barbera:

There's never enough time to do it right, but there is always enough time to fix it.

Now. A small addendum to this rule -- which is actually implied in the rule -- would be: "There's never enough time (or money) to do it right, but there's always enough time (and money) to fix it."

At a large, nameless television animation studio a decade ago, an artist pal of mine marveled that the yelling and screaming by executives about show budgets and schedules magically stopped when the shows came back from the overseas studio and had big mistakes in them.

He marveled because huge amounts of money were at that point thrown at the shows to make them right, yet the execs who had been so exercised months before about the cash that was being spent were now calm, cool, collected. Relaxed, even.

My artist pal asked why all the new spending didn't bother them. The answer:

"It comes out of another budget. So it's no problem."

See what drooling simpletons we all are? It comes out of another budget. Therefore no problem. Therefore why worry?

Or as Bill Hanna would say:

There's never enough time/money to do it right, but always enough time/money to fix it.


Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that Mr. Hanna also said "Animators, ah Hell son, I cut my teeth on animators"

Anonymous said...

I worked at H-B for years;mid 70's into the mid '80's.And yep-- the old saying was true indeed;though we "wrists" in the asst.animation pool quoted it a bit differently: (and I doubt many of us knew to attribute it to Mr. Hanna himself. I for one, did not, at the time.)
"There's never time to do it right-- but there's always time to do it over." Why were WE constantly saying that? Because while we had rather large footage quotas to get out ourselves, we were also constantly fixing mistakes/bad drawings made overseas as outsourcing became more and more prevalent.
Some years later,as I had by then worked at various studios,it became painfully obvious that what the producers were after upon shipping was the low 'initial numbers' that looked good and cheap before the mess came back for retakes. Come to find out through the grapevine that they successfully maintained their animation budget by often 'hiding' the costs of retakes by sneaking 'em into miscellaneous budgets like 'overhead' and 'fringe'. So yeah-- they still came out smelling like a rose, and no one was the wiser.

Anonymous said...

So, Anon #2, Assistant Animators were know as "wrists"? I haven't heard that before. Is that a Hannaism? I did hear when Hanna needed to get the work out, he called his gal and said to hire more "pencils" (Animators). And while he was giving a tour of the Ink and Paint Department he was overheard saying "They are seasonal workers, like lettuce pickers." God, you gotta miss a funny guy like him!

Anonymous said...

Having worked at HB from the 70's through the AOL bloodletting in 01.I also heard the story of Mr. Hanna giving tours of the studio on Cahuenga and pausing at an old picture of the monkey farm that had been there before.He would explain that they bought the property because the employees were already in place.

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