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  • Writer's pictureRandy Young Green Ghost Media Inc.

In Anticipation of Community

By Randy Young

Monday, May 26, 2024


I wake up frightened, nearly always.

My day begins with panic—about my quality of sleep and whether it was long enough to sustain the energy and forced happiness I need to make it through. There's nothing worse than loving humans and knowing they don’t love you back, requiring you to prove your worth in demonstrably beneficial ways to be worthy of participating in their lives. Community feels dead; real community used to exist, but it’s gone away somewhere.

Being an artist is a multifaceted and often confusing experience.

Creativity is part intellectual but I’d argue mostly emotional, and human subsistence on emotion is extremely difficult, unless you’re an au pair or something.

I always wanted to do my part and contribute to the future of what I believe to be this inclusive organism called humanity. There really is no purpose to being unless you either contribute to making it better or choose hedonism.

I am far too scarred by religion to be inclined toward pleasure for pleasure’s sake, so I lean into my controlled codependency.

My goal was to create a podcast and support system that provided guidance and solicited help for an industry in animation that, for the most part, on the art side, employs folks steeped in fear, insecurity, and uncertainty.

Reticence for talking about salaries is ingrained from the earliest 20th Century animation barons—the inventors of the thing. In essence, a factory life, the industry still has a strange aversion to humanizing its workers, because the movie needs to be made whether “you’re here or not.” Not knowing whether a studio is committed to you past your current gig keeps many artists—sensitive and intuitive—stagnating in anxiety, not knowing if asking for more, be it mentorship, money, or mental health support, will lead to ostracization.

I figured running toward my fear, against what my central nervous system begs me to do, would be the only way to provide that platform and support.

As scared as I am, I choose bravery every single day of my life, because I’m certain I was granted this existence to do something significant with it. My wife doesn’t need me, my family is nonplussed about our relation, and I seem to be floating in this place of personal excess and lack of purpose. Some may call it a midlife crisis (one of those being me), but I think it’s also a crossroads where you either regroup and forge a path of legitimate meaning, or choose death; waiting for it, savoring it, almost begging for it as a person who can’t abide by an existence of absorbing the energy of suffering in the world without helping to organize it, somehow.

Kevin, the other host of our Green Ghost-produced audio and video podcast Squash ‘n’ Stretch, is a Disney, Fox Family Films, and Blue Sky creative executive and producer, also having taught at the Los Angeles Film School for almost 14 years. I, on the other hand, am an artist attempting to harness my raw fear, anxiety, curiosity, and universal uncertainty into a counterbalance to a person solid enough in his personhood to tell others what to do and stand on it.

Our partnership is representative of diversity in our industry that spans many of our invisible, yet existing societal lines and shows how these boundaries being straddled, connected, or broken altogether help give a more accurate version of how things are.

The friendship we’re forging during the making of our little podcast may help the way our industry sees itself. Community can be more than a cluster of followers who get a glimpse of what you’re doing based on algos and coincidence, but a true understanding of all elements of it, so as to make sure the community provides what its members need.

Communication is where community starts, and we can’t wait to let you in on our experiment in developing this attempt to better understand animation and what it means to people who make it, and the rest of us.

With anticipation and hope…

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