Tuesday, February 10, 2015

In Memoriam: Monty Oum

I never met Monty Oum. Not through professional or personal contacts, not at a convention to get an autograph. But I, like so many others around the world, was completely shocked by his tragic passing. This is because I, like so many others around the world, was so fully inspired and motivated by his work, by his passion to create, by his stubborn tenacity to make the art he wanted to make. I will be the first to admit that RWBY isn’t the greatest animated webseries out there, far from it. But it was the show Monty wanted to make, and without ever looking back, he got it made. That kind of drive is powerful. More than that, it’s inspiring. For every hundred people out there that thinks they don’t have the guts or the right idea or the next big thing, if I could get at least one single person to throw caution to the wind and follow their dreams, I would consider myself a success.

And Monty Oum inspired millions.

Because it’s never about having the next big thing. It’s not even having the next good thing. It’s about putting yourself out there and just making art. Even if it’s bad art. Especially if it’s bad art. Because with every finished project, we improve. With every finished cartoon, we inspire others. We push others to be better, and in turn, we are pushed to be better. I think Monty Oum understood this more than anyone. A man with an absolutely legendary work ethic, he just kept getting work done. Again and again and again, with the discipline of a warrior and the momentum of a steam engine, he kept getting work done. I’d like to think that he never even watched his films after he’d published them, that he was far too busy with the next episode to worry about what people thought about the last one.
So I think we should all take to heart the commitment to creation he wanted us all to have. Let us all celebrate his life the way he lived it: by just getting out there and making art.

Thomas Tan is an animator and stuntman working in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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