Ang Lee’s Obstacles Before Life Of Pi

After reading this article about Ang Lee I really started to admire all the hardships and obstacles he faced while trying to make ends meet. And it’s pretty amazing to read about how supportive his wife was that he continue towards his passion.

For all the talk I’m giving about how upset I am that Rhythm and Hues and Hollywood are at odds, I’d like to highlight that ‘Ang Lee And The Uncertainty Of Success’ story.

I’m starting to think Ang Lee isn’t responsible for any of this, not even a little bit. I think it’s probably from internal pressure from the higher-ups. Most of these studios are public companies, so they’re legally have to deliver the most profits possible. They’re pressured by the board of directors, the managers are pressured by the CEO, and the artists are pressured by their bosses. The entire culture creates a downward cycle.

Ang Lee was probably just following orders, almost to the point that there was nothing he could do. He probably didn’t even really know what was going on behind doors. He’s the director, not the CEO.

But then what also affected me in this story was ready about Ang Lee’s wife and how she told him to keep on following his passion. It’s one thing to be someone’s cheerleader for 2 years, it’s another thing to do it for 10 years or more - all while trying to raise a family, trying to make ends meet at your job, and whatever else was probably in their lives. Our partners, friends, and family are supposed to make us better people when we’re with them than when we’re alone. It was very heartwarming to see that actually be the case here.

However, if Ang Lee’s work wasn’t good, then it would have been his wife’s job to be honest with him rather than fill him with empty expectations and encouragement. I see stuff like this happen every week. Heck, it’s common even to see it on American Idol where the parents push their children who can’t sing or play. Or even worse, when it’s obviously against their child’s will.

But this isn’t about not being good. This is about the absolute best and brightest visual artists being squeezed through razor thin margins to the point where industries are collapsing because of it. Who is at fault here? Is it management? The film studios? The public for not wanting to pay $12 to see the cutting edge visuals on the big screen (which I doubt is the case since the movie hit record sales)?

On the outside I’m trying to come to terms with how incredibly new this service is. We’re not making Toy Story animations or a simple lens flare anymore like in the early 90’s. It’s now an incredibly costly and intellectual trade, to the point that it’s now the focus of a theatrical release. In essence, the visual effects is the new actor. I hope the industry learns how to financially make it work, and that directors stand up for the new industry before thy start production.

Ang Lee was probably in a position to help while making the movie, but it seemed all too little too late. When calling attention to the VFX community during the Oscars his microphone quickly get cut off by a ‘higher up’ - that’s likely the problem here.

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