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Title: The creative and technical contribution of female and male below-the-line practitioners to the collaborative process in the American 3D animation feature film industry : a production studies approach
Author: Heller, Sabine
ISNI:       0000 0004 7659 7181
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis examines the contribution of female and male below-the-line animators and character technical directors (CTDs) to the creative and collaborative process in the North American 3D animation feature film industry. My work draws primarily on theories from the field of production studies and reviews current theories of the social division of labour, creativity, authorship and gender. It utilises a qualitative research approach that involved analysing interviews of practitioners of two different categories of work, to explore whether and how experiences differ depending on the role and gender of the practitioners. This study reveals that practitioners negotiate their authorship and creative input by navigating monitoring rituals, like notes-giving and meetings, as well as through pitching. I demonstrate that communication, trust and friendship are crucial instruments for practitioners below the line to increase collaboration and counter negative industry characteristics such as precariousness and intense competition. My findings also indicate a mismatch between the practitioners' idea and expectation of creativity and authorship, and actual practice in 3D animation studios. This thesis explores an authorship model that can accommodate the collaborative practice below the line in 3D animation studios and proposes an extension of the definition of creativity to include multiple categories of problem-solving. Finally, my study reveals differences between women and men in the experiences of the animation production process and affirms previous research that women are hesitant to link these differences to gender. The interviews revealed that 'unspeakability' is a real issue - the impulse to remain silent about this topic in a work environment is in marked contrast to the actual desire to discuss this topic in a private sphere. While below-the-line practitioners' experiences vary, this study arrives at the conclusion that animators and CTDs in the animation industry have a set of competing agencies, have a sense of shared authorship and are far from being mere passive executants of their work.
Supervisor: Wood, Aylish ; Jeffers McDonald, Tamar Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available