A famous quote from Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson goes something like this:


The TV business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs for no good reason. There’s also a negative side.

This quote used to hang on the wall of the “inner sanctum” where I used to work. It was, at the time, the number one television network in the country. It came to mind recently when I thought of a former TMBA employee I called “Mr. Magic”.


He was a nice guy, who wasn’t lacking in knowledge or skill. In fact, I hired him because he was a master at programming the software that TMBA uses. Turns out he was simply lacking the special brand of insanity and deviant thinking required to work in television production.


One day, I headed off to a client meeting leaving him with an animation of an airplane that was 86% finished. All he had to do was program a piece of the engine dropping off. Piece of cake for a guy with his skills.


By the time I returned, not only was a piece of engine missing, so were all the files. The entire animation had disappeared as if it had flown over the Bermuda Triangle. Recovering the files cost us 18 hours. Recovering my composure? Priceless.


Later on, as the team and I hunkered down to get the thing out the door before our early a.m. deadline, Mr. Magic began packing up. He had a train to catch. It was about 6pm.


I was too damn busy to explain why he might want to stay and pitch in and besides, we couldn’t afford to lose anymore files. So, he said his goodbyes and headed home.


He arrived the next morning looking rested. He glanced at my screen and saw what we had slaved and sweated over during the brutal all-nighter–while he was having a nice dinner, sleeping and showering. His enthusiasm was evident;


“WOW,” he said, “Magic really DOES happen here!”


That was in fact his last day.


Solving Impossible Problems with Visible Results


Truth be told, it takes a whole lot more than technical skill, even if it’s deep, to crank out cinematic 3d suitable for the hallowed halls of television. You need creative vision, and a special kind of insanity, that voice that says you can do the impossible, budget be damned. It’s just not the kind of thing you can pick up by reading a 3d Magician’s Manual, as Mr. Magic would discover.


Of course, software programming chops are required, but it’s impossible to make that wave, rip open a sidewalk, or ravage an imaginary city in just a few short weeks, without being some kind of weird technical savant who just also happens to have artistic vision. And being crazy doesn’t hurt, either.


The Animation Studio for Television Producers


TMBA is an animation studio in New York City that has earned its stripes slaving away in the trenches of television for over 15 years. To discuss how CGI can transform your next television project call me:


Tim McGarvey

(212) 789-9077


To read more about what we do, go here: What We Do


p.s. Don’t worry about “Mr. Magic”. He was great fun to have around and he left a legacy of stories like this one, that kept us laughing long after he was gone. His “show me the magic” moment was his last day with us. He has since returned to the world of 9 to 5 corporate programming and wonders why he ever left.


Category : Animation Studio