from the president THE MORALITY OF MULTITASKING by Thomas Walsh, ADG President
Because technology makes it easier for a Production Designer or an Art Director to multitask does it make it right? Our new technologies provide us with the ability to sketch, model, illustrate, dimension and output from a laptop in the caffeinated comfort of our local Starbucks, but with these new possibilities comes an even larger responsibility. The unpleasant image comes to mind of the multi-limbed Hindu god, Kali, a designer/destroyer who chooses to do everything to the detriment of his friends and creative collaborators. As the leaders and principal managers of his Art Department, Production Designers have a significant obligation to respect, honor and defend the jurisdiction and rights of our collaborators and co-workers. With a few strokes on the keyboard it is now easy to violate the jurisdictions and standing contracts of others, even if it is done with the best of intentions and without malice. Digital tools are blurring the lines of many of the classic contractual job classifications, and digital multitasking is no longer an optional skill within the Art Department. It is now a necessity for a designer’s future survival and workplace relevance; but we cannot go down this digital road by driving over the bodies of those collaborators we have historically depended upon. Like the old expression, “A rising tide raises all boats,” we must encourage and support our co-workers as we evolve together into a more progressive and digitally interconnected Art Department. If collectively—and by collectively I mean Production Designers, Art Directors, Set Designers, Illustrators, Model Makers, Scenic, Title and Graphic Artists—we wish to reaffirm and maintain our influence within the workplace and over the workflow, then we must work together to capture and secure our place within the future of the entertainment industry. A critical aspect of this approach requires the strategic organizing of new members as well as the reshaping of some of the primary roles and responsibilities within the Art Department. The most innovative design visualization artists and those support specialists possessing the most progressive digital skills must be organized and brought into the collective Art Department. Their participation within our group will help our current members learn and master these new tools for design creation and management while demonstrating to the industry that a progressive Art Department is the most valuable resource to guide the design and visualization processes from earliest conception through final realization. This is a unique opportunity and a serious responsibility. Through the power of our collective experiences and prestige, we can positively influence our industry. Others around the world are watching what we do and we have a professional responsibility to get it right and to lead our industry by our example. So as you organize and staff your Art Departments, and as you process the work, do it in a constructive manner which respects and utilizes the participation of our valued design co-workers and collaborators. In closing, I again wish to encourage you to participate in the future of your Guild. Attend a meeting, participate in a seminar, view a screening, sign up for a class or join a committee or a Council. Involve yourself in the continuing evolution of our profession and future. Be well, do good works, and get in touch.
O c t o b e r – Novemb er 2 0 0 7 | 7