Someone on Facebook brought up a good point about sharing knowlege. He said that if you share all your secrets at the beginning, you won't have any unique value to bring to the table when it comes to trying to make a career out of it.
This rings a bell with me, because the most useful knowledge I've ever gotten, I had to pay and work hard for. The most punished I've gotten, was for sharing something that was supposed to be a secret (I'm more careful now).
Stop motion is no longer in danger, which was the reason a lot of people opened up about how they do things. Now we have casual lurkers who read the articles but contribute nothing to them- not even a "thank you". I've even seen knowledge one of us has shared passed off as someone else's knowledge without attribution.
What are your thoughts on sharing or not sharing your techniques? Do you think it's good to grow the community while possibly endangering your bottom line? I'm opening the floor to debate.
I agree, and whoever has the knowledge doesn't necessarily know how to use it. For example, I tried making clay this morning from my formula, as though I had no experience. It didn't turn out well. Most people aren't going to venture very far with free information, anyway. In my experience, the stuff I had to work for was the stuff I appreciated and got the most out of. The free stuff just went on a heap of "I'll look at that one of these days."
In my TV days I always shared information if anyone asked. Otherwise I could hardly expect to have a question answered if I had one. It is clear, as previous posts have said, that you can tell people how something is done, but it no way guarantees that they are able to do it.
It comes down to imagination and skill, things you cannot pass on, only encourage. Creative vision is necessarily unique.
This forum is a fantastic resource of experience, which I dip into regularly to learn about so many different aspects of the art. I am grateful to all those who share their experience and knowledge, so when someone asks a question that I might be able to help to answer I try to do so. Generosity inspires generosity.
But I completely understand someone wishing to protect a commercial formula. No problem there. It only becomes a problem when the general underlying principle is kept a secret.
"I've even seen knowledge one of us has shared passed off as someone else's knowledge without attribution."
Quoting this from the original post at the beginning of the thread.
I think it's not a valid point. Once you've learned something, it's your knowledge. Then if you choose you can teach it to other people, unless of course there's some reason not to (NDA agreement, trade secret, or whatever). I don't see a need to have to tell people who you learned it from, unless you want to express appreciation to that person. If your purpose is simply to pass on something you learned, there's no reason to say who you learned it from.
When I sat in class my teachers certainly never told us who had taught them everything they passed on. They just taught it. In fact it would become very cumbersome to always have to listen to a list of names of who taught who what all along the line ("I learned this from Joe Blow, who told me Frank Skank had told him. Frank learned it from.. "
It would get to be like those Olde English epic poems like Beowulf, where each character introduces himself along with a huge list of all his ancestors. Tolkein did this in imitation of that ancient tradition - and I can see why it was important in a situation like that, because there was no written language and no other way to preserve history - if you wanted your ancestry to be remembered you had to get it put into an epic poem or recite it to everybody you meet. Cumbersome, especially today when we have all forms of recorded history.
Similarly, I can see how repeating the names of the people who had passed on some secret technique would have been important when such techniques were trade secrets. On the old board I was so grateful to have been able to learn stuff that I tried to always say who I had learned things from. In those days the secret lore of stopmotion still seemed endangered, and it felt important to keep the lineage alive, but later it occurred to me that some of the retired professionals who had passed on their knowledge might actually not want to be known for it. Until I realized if that were the case they wouldn't have used their real names and written the stuff on a message board where it could potentially remain up for a very long time (obviously that wasn't the case - that board has now gone the way of the Dodo bird).
That's not to say that I never mention who I learned something from - it depends on the context. Still being extremely grateful to everyone I learned from, I often do mention their names if I can remember. But if I'm just making a short tutorial I often don't want to burden it with a lot of extra stuff. However, I've mentioned those names so many times in the past and they're plastered all over the internet wherever I've posted about stopmo, so I feel like I'm good now.
But that kind of stuff is important to me, since I learned in a very special environment from a very special group of people and I feel grateful for it. Somebody who just read some of my tutorials isn't in the same situation at all, and probably doesn't really care much about the extinct world of pre Jurassic Park stopmotion. To them it's just a matter of learning how to move silly puppets around in front of their webcam or whatever, they've probably never heard of Harryhausen and would just think it's a funny sounding name.
I need to stop now, I'm talking too much…
That's interesting. Yeah, I can see it that way. It does kind of depend on context. I always try to attribute things to their originators. Maybe I'm just weird. It's just, if they made a big advancement in the craft and they would appreciate being credited, I'll make sure to mention them.
Here's my take on this - more aimed at independent artists, as the commercial side becomes more complicated.
At my job (not animation related) I could easily guarantee my job security by keeping information close - instead I have a binder with it all written out on my desk. I don't want to be somewhere where I'm needed... I want to be somewhere I'm wanted. It's my same thoughts on this - do you want to be somewhere because you hold some technical secret that you're constantly worried someone else will figure out, or be somewhere because they want you there? Besides - even if everyone on this forum were given identical information, supplies, and timeline, everyone would come up with something completely different! Your personal skills, approach, experience are what matter; your uniqueness is what you should be bringing to the table, not some technical secrets.
Very nice, Em! I think some of us can relax a bit. :)