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Author Topic: The Animation Guild Holiday Party 2005
Charles
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The Guild's annual Christmas Holiday Party is happening as I write this. I was there a few minutes ago, seeing old friends, making new ones and taking lots of pictures. Then all of a sudden...

The camera's memory card was full.

So I thought I'd try something different this year and share the event with those who are not in the Burbank area or who couldn't make it this evening, by posting pictures at the same time that the party is taking place.

I'll have the first ones up very soon.

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Charles
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Here we are at the Pickwick. Check out the size of this crowd.

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Charles
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Here's more of a bird's eye view of tonight's turnout. The party is still happening so if you can get a chance to make it, look at the great company you'll be in.


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Charles
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Here's the view from the other side of the bar.


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Charles
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This here is AN's Raz showing off his party attire. He knows how to have a good time.


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Charles
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Recognize this good lookin guy? That's AN's award winning animator, Otterslide in the holiday spirit.


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Charles
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Here's the President of the Animation Guild Local 839 IATSE, Kevin Koch aka Kevin on the boards, greeting folks at the door with lots of holiday cheer.


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Charles
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Would this be an industry party without author and historian Jerry Beck in attendance? I should say not!


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Charles
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A view of the crowd from the other side of the room.


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Charles
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This is Antran Manoogian, the long time President of ASIFA-Hollywood, with his companion. The only shot I messed up on by catching someone while they were blinking, and for that I apologize.

It is always great to see Antran. A finer fellow you will never find. His dedication and devotion to ASIFA-Hollywood, as well as the great membership that it enjoys, has helped make the organization the leader among groups of its kind in the world.


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Charles
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Hey! It's AN's Book! Josh Book that is, with a big holiday smile for all. Good seeing you again, Josh.


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Charles
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I ran into AN's KevinO while working my way through the crowd. Wouldn't be a holiday party without him. Good seeing you again, Kevin.


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Charles
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There's always something different at the Guild's Holiday Party from year to year as far as the music is concerned. This year, the Morton Bay String Quartet entertained everyone with beautiful sounds and created a warm, pleasant ambiance. By the time I got in position for a shot, I caught them as they were getting ready to take a short break.


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Charles
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The animation program at California State University in Northridge was well represented this evening in the persons of Steven Theis on the left and Cameron Thompson on the right.


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Charles
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This beautiful lady is AN's q. I caught her at the front tables where the gifts were being passed out to the party guests of the Guild.


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Charles
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Patrick Morgan was there! Or maybe I should say "is there" since the party is probably still going on as I post this.

I first met Patrick when he enrolled at The Animation Academy in Burbank a few years ago. Today, he's an artist at Nickelodeon. If you're not familiar with Patrick's work, check out his blog.

http://www.patrickmorganart.blogspot.com/


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Charles
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Chris Aguirre was there too. Chris is a character designer with the WB and various studios. Here he is with his lady.


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Charles
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Another ANer having a good time. This is Im2dGuy, at the line to get some munchies, being patient with me as I look to get the right shot.


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Charles
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That's Wynne Chen (pronounced Winnie) on the right with Van Nguyen on the left, having a laugh as I try to clear some space on my camera's memory card so I could take their picture.


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Charles
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One of my favorite shots of the evening. My buddy, AN's Todd, with his lovely wife.


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Charles
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That's Larry Houston on the left and Tom T on the right.

Tom has been active in the Guild for a long time. A special person in the legacy of organized labor in animation, and one of the very first people I met when I broke into the biz. Tom had a little mishap while hiking the other day, which is why his eye is a little black and blue. At first I thought it was because he slugged it out with someone, but that wasn't the case.


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Charles
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The highlight of the Guild's 2005 Holiday Party.

That's Tom T on the left, with the former President of the Guild and accomplished animator and director Tom Sito on the right.

The striking gent in the center of the picture is none other than the great Lou Scheimer, the founder of Filmation Studios, the man for whom many, many people owe for getting their break in the industry.


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Charles
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Here's a few of the fantastic behind the scenes people we have to thank for the party.

This is Jeff Massie from the Guild. He was working the front tables, helping with the charitable contributions guests were making and passing out Animation Guild sketchbooks as presents to everyone.


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Charles
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That's Steve Hulett on the left, the Guild's Business Rep and Kevin Koch on the right, its President.

As of this posting, they're probably wrapping things up and on their way home.

Thanks guys, for another hugely successful Holiday Party. You and the rest of the Guild members who made it possible. You are all very generous and you brighten up the animation world with this terrific annual event, which is open to all.

Thank you again!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, the Happiest of Holidays and a very bright and Happy New Year.


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Vincent
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Great party, but jeez they needed to dim the lights.
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Eric Hedman
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It was kinda bright, wasn't it?
I got to see the start of the flood of people.
But had to cut out at 8pm.
Thanks Kevin for putting out such a swell spread and being such a good host (Steve too). Its always good to know that paying ones dues and paying ones dues does lead to something. Also, Nifty T-shirts and sketch books. Things to fill with ideas and things to wear to keep us warm. A good combo for a union. [Smile]
It was quite a shindig. [Smile]

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http://www.radiodismuke.com
20's-30's music

Come see my Second Life Stuff
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Chilispoon/128/80/39

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RedDiabla
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Fun party. I never got to the side of the room where the desserts were until they were all gone. Bummer.

However, I got to see a lot of people that I usually don't get the chance to talk to and proceeded to talk their ears off about stuff other than animation. It was cool. [Big Grin]

RD

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Kevin
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Thanks for posting the pix, Charles! And thanks for all the kind words and positive feedback from all of you.

Vincent, I was so busy running around I didn't even notice the lights until someone mentioned it to me. The lights were promptly dimmed at that point. You could have mentioned something to me or Steve or Jeff -- better to light a candle than curse the light, or something like that . . . [Wink]

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Vincent
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Not to worry Kevin, It certainly didn't drive me away. I waded into the light and had a swell time.
(In a southern accent) I just prefer a softy light for delicate features.

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Gagne Michel
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Thanks for the pictures Charles. It's fun to see some familiar faces. I wish I could have been there.

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Kevin
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While we're talking about the party, I should give a warning about next year. We were a victim of our own success, especially in upgrading the food. As a result, at about 8 pm we had to throw a bunch more money at the Pickwick to make up more food. I suspect the carving stations won't reappear, and it'll be much less dinner-like and more a selection of hors d'oeuvres and lighter stuff. Better than than having to do away with the hosted bar.
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Methuselah
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Kevin, that being the case, perhaps we could reconsider having an "open" party and limit the attendees to 839 union members and their guests?

I'd also rather see an overall better party than bend over backward to keep alcoholic drinks free of cost, myself. I'm sure that wouldn't be a popular opinion, but nevertheless... [Roll Eyes]
We have a pretty large union and we do little for the members along the lines of this holiday party at any other time(I'm talking about the expense--other than pizza at the monthly, sparsely attended meetings). We deserve a truly special and classy gathering at least once a year, for members. JMHO.

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Charles
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It was a terrific evening. There were hundreds of people there. Some folks whom I haven't seen in years and years. It was great seeing Lou Scheimer and having the opportunity to thank him once again.

The Guild's Annual Holiday Party is fantastic. Thanks again to everyone involved for hosting it, for the food, the drink, the gifts. It's very, very generous of you. The Holiday Party is great for the local community.

Kevin, I'm familiar with the expense of an event at the Pickwick. I've hosted several April 1 meetings there and I can pretty well imagine what the party must have run you guys. A suggestion I have is offer free appetizers, but consider charging for entrees. Guests can buy a ticket for a full course dinner and present it when they're ready to eat, or maybe they can get a hand stamp that will allow them to line up for the good stuff.

Don't stop the Holiday Party, man. It's too good and too important to the well being of the community. You guys give away free gifts, but being there to enjoy the event and the people is all the gift I need.

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Methuselah
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Excellent ideas about a possible entree fee, Charles, again--personally I'd not mind paying for drinks, but as free booze is the most popular feature...*ducks empty bottles*

One thing: you very warmly(and quite rightly)praise and thank the guys for doing the work of party planning. But when you ask Kevin not to stop the party...and some of the other comments, you imply it's his call.
Remember--this isn't his party, and the money and outlay isn't his or theirs or "those guys'", it's mine--and yours(assuming you're a member)and hers and his and his and that guy over there, etc,etc. All of it, the presents and food and fees and booze--are things the members pay for with their dues, I believe. And I don't think Kevin alone, or Jeff or anyone else has the individual authority to "cancel", stop or otherwise put the kibosh on the Xmas party; they were happening long before he was president and will continue after he's not. Is this not so?

The necessity of containing costs reasonably is the reason I bring up keeping it a union shindig(quite reasonable as it's the union members' money involved). I think very few people would be excluded were it open to members and guests only(the people who are the throwers of the party after all, as well as their nearest & dearest).

IIRC the thing about making it open to everyone, union or not, was done at a time when there were several very large studios that were non-union, and the idea was to encourage the non-brethren(in the membership sense)to enjoy the fruits of union grapes, as it were. Do a bit or promotion: "JOIN US! SIGN THEM CARDS!"

I think those days are gone; the studios have either died down to a few people or in fact signed a union contract. Anyone who is a member of the "community" who is not for some reason an 839 member who would love to kibbitz with the members could easily be invited as a guest.

This is all by way of simply keeping the party the best it could be, within reasonable expense, and really treasuring and valuing and thanking the membership who often waited, worked and struggled for years to join, pay off their initiation fees and sometimes their dues. There are the Annie Awards among other things for other party/celebration opportunities for the community-at-large of fans and pros...and of course, they charge a not inconsiderable fee for attendance, even to members(the Alex ain't cheap). Just something to think of.
I don't know who is on a committee, if one exists, for the 839 holiday party. Perhaps, if the subject IS open to involvement from members with different ideas on execution, a heads-up could be posted in the Pegboard a bit ahead of the fact to get involved? [Smile]

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Kevin
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No worries, the party isn't going anywhere. And it's unlikely we'll make it "members only," since that would defeat much of the purpose of such a celebration. It is very much an "open house" party, and for as long as I've been a union member it's been billed as such.

The party's not cheap, but for the size of our union (over 2,300 active members currently), it's not a significant drain on our resources. If we reach a time where the union is consistently running in the red, then I think it's possible we'd vote to scale back. On the other hand, a few years ago when membership was declining and there were lots of layoffs, the holiday party was one of the bright spots of the year, and perhaps an even more valuable event than it is in good times.

My comments about the food were more about shifting the party in the direction of a socializing celebration and mixer. The event isn't meant to be a sit-down dinner. I anticipate we will continue to have tasty treats and a hosted bar, but we will probably lose the carving stations.

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Kevin
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An additional note on the open-house part of the party. One of the most valuable parts of this event is the networking that goes on. As soon as it's members only, much of that disappears. I'd wager that many inactive union members would also feel disinvited, since they aren't paying any dues that would support the party. Attendance would drop, and then many active members would stop going, since it would no longer be a happening event.

It's also a rare chance for absolutely anyone to come and meet the union leadership, and it sends a message of the inclusiveness of the Guild. I have repeatedly had the experience of meeting students and aspiring animators/writers at a party one year, and then a couple of years later having them come up to me to proudly proclaim their active union membership.

On top of that, there are in fact many, many studios and shops that need to be organized (games and efx especially), and there are many people for whom the holiday party is a chance to put faces to names, and to demystify the union a little bit.

How many events are there were production people mix comfortably with workers, where every animation job category share a drink, where things like union/nonunion or TV/feature/games/whatever don't matter? I think the Annie Awards are about the only other such event, and with the cost of attending that, it doesn't come close to the mixing that goes on at the 839 bash.

So my only plan if for the party to just get better each year, not to make it smaller.

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Methuselah
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So, to make a union Holiday party strictly a union party(with invited guests allowed, of COURSE)would somehow defeat the purpose of the union party?
Okay.
What about the other suggestion? That perhaps the Pegboard might allot much more pre-planning space to aggressively soliciting input from rank & file members as to parties, "free" gifts, etc? Does that seem like a good idea? Yea? Nay?
[handball]

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Methuselah
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I see you have added to your latest post.

With all due respect(sincerely),I think you're stretching the concept of "networking" here.
If out-of-work members should be able to find work via attending the union Xmas party(your premise), isn't it a bit tougher on them to also have at your explicit invitation "students", etc.---people who are also looking for work, who are not yet in the business and certainly not a union member--basically competing for those same spots with the hypothetical unemployed 839 member at the same event?
And I must disagree with your assumption that an inactive member would feel ipso facto "not wanted" if the party were "839 only-WITH GUESTS[I'm going to keep stressing that, as I do think it covers anyone who would really want to come who should come]"? I don't believe it! Why on earth would a presumably desperate, unemployed member say: "Hmpf: I read that they're making it a union-only party this year...guess I won't go as I'm an unemployed member OF THAT UNION"? Those would be the people most likely to go!
Are there really still "many, many" non-union animation people here in town that we need to organise, and so have at the union party? How many? Perhaps if they'd like to "network" and enjoy the parties, they'd be more motivated to sign those rep cards if actually being a member, or having a friend or relative who is a member was the teensy little requirement?
I think it's great to want to host non-members; I just think they should have their own event, and that the end-of-year party could be a party that's a special thing for members only. Exclusionary? Sure! Unions are by nature "exclusionary", and this is an example, albeit a trivial one, of something a member gets because they are paying for it, themselves.
But if that's apparently never going to fly with you, and as you are president now, and as you find the event so important to be open for all the reasons you state--why stop there? We aren't hurting as you say; have another midyear/summer event that is all about being open--like the old Disney Ranch picnics, except members and non-members alike can go, more networking, more drink & food, etc.? Just as with the Xmas party?

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Kevin
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Meth, unfortunately we'll have to agree to disagree, since I can't explicitly prove any of my points. For a non-member to have to find a member to bring them as a guest would likely preclude a number of people from coming. It's simply more trouble than most people will go to for a party. And it would send a signal that they weren't really welcome in the first place, so few who would otherwise come would bother to go to the effort. Frankly, the last thing we need is a bouncer at the door checking a guest list and comparing people's IDs with a union roster.

The moment it's exclusive, I'm convinced attendance will drop to the point that the party would be a wan shadow of the present event. I remember Brad Bird talking about first becoming a union member, and in his excitement going to a union meeting. He found a small group of complaining old timers. He didn't feel welcomed, and he didn't feel any kinship with them. As I recall, instead of deciding to get involved so he could help change all that, he simply crossed union participation off his to-do list.

I experienced a little of that when I first got involved. It turned me off, but I plunged into union activities anyway. A lot of people still find the union forbidding or remote. Often this is just their preconceptions, but there's also a reality to it. And that's not good. Most union members appreciate the benefits of being in the union, but don't define themselves as 839 members. So anything that is "union only" tends to be dismissed.

Let me repeat -- it's an open-house party for the entire community of labor and the entire animation community. Valuable networking can and does happen each and every year. The fact is that the vast majority of benefits of being in 839 accrue only to active members. This event is a rare benefit for the entire community, of which we're all a part.

And your idea of a summer event is a great one. We talked about doing something like that a couple of years ago. At the time we couldn't think of an event and a venue that we thought would get significant attendance. A picnic was considered, but for a variety of reasons didn't go forward. If you or other members have an idea for a cool gathering for summer, all you have to do is propose it (and probably be willing to take a leadership role, since frankly not many people are willing to take the time to plan and execute such events!).

Also, if you look back though the Pegboard, you will find many calls for ideas and participation, including regarding the Holiday Party. Those calls almost never get any response, I'm sad to say. But I can say that we get lots of feedback at the party and immediately afterwards, and we use that to guide the formulation of the next party. The feedback from this year, and the last couple of years, has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic regarding the success of the event.

Oh, and the party basics and budget are voted upon at general membership meetings months before the event. So it's not a matter of what will "fly" with me. As you said, it's not my party.

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