Googlevalfinish 01-1 As a veteran character animator, I was beginning to doubt whether I'd ever again have the opportunity to create a short narrative piece -- then I got the call. When Google calls and says, "We'd like you to drop everything and make a short narrative piece that will be seen by hundreds of millions of people," you heed that call!

Since the dot com crash I, like many of my Flash animation contemporaries, have been content to reboot my career to a trade less concerned with storytelling and more concerned with making online game characters perform repeatable incremental actions. It's a fine living, but the urge to tell a story, even a simple one, is what drives most animators to continue to create. I have always been humbled by watching my fellow animators working insane hours on their own time to try and squeeze a few more "story beats" into the opening cutscenes of the game they're working on. I've done it myself many times. It's the creamy center of any game production job: designing/storyboarding/(and if you're lucky) animating the intro sequence: a mini-movie for all of 20 seconds. Unlike the dot com glory days when animators had full time work telling stories for well-paying online patrons, these days working to create short pieces comes at a steep price: you must fund your animation independently out of your own pocket. Then it's up to you to market, advertise, and, against-all-odds, try to squeeze some money out of the whole endeavor. It dissuades a lot of potential storytellers.

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