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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » Lions and Tigers and Unions, oh my! (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Lions and Tigers and Unions, oh my!
SNAKEBITE
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So with Disney taking over Marvel, Warner taking more control over their acquisition DC, the dynamics of our industry is changing more rapidly then before.

the first thing I think of is who's gonna set the new standards. I for one think there is gonna be huge over haul in these companies and how they distribute. How they create and how they don't share the wealth.

Who's in place to maintain a standard for the artists? the true backbone of the industry. Are the unions thinking of our well being, or they in charge of keeping everyone in line for the new regime? Are the current unions in so deep they don't even know what they are doing, or are they very aware of the new climate of our community and are in no position to do anything about it keeping their heads down like the rest of the community so they too don't experience blow back?

I for one am suspicious of Unions. When Charles brought the topic up for a alternate union I really didn't know how I felt about it...actually totally rejected the idea at first.

but we need unity or we're ****ed.

does that mean Unionize? I dunno

maybe we need to redefine the roll of a Union. I dunno. I just know the old system doesn't work, doesn't think global and no way does it give us an advantage to take on this new dynamic in play...

So what do we do? (clicks heels together three times, there's no place like home...)

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Greg B
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Good points Snakebite.

I was just thinking, we've talked about how every now and then some creative person or persons upset the apple cart like Eastman and Laird did with the TMNT. Those guys back then didn't have the resources we have today to get a great work out. I'm hoping to see some major talents arrive soon and give everyone a run for their money.

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SNAKEBITE
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TMNT made some serious flow. they could of been so huge. could of made a huge company, been a major competitor. But it looks like Eastman is applying some of his life lessons to Heavy Metal. hanging out there this SDCC was very revealing. I was surrounded by lots of Hustlers it was interesting to hear what they had to say about the frontlines.

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E. Allen
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I believe redefining the role of a Union is the best step we can take at this critical juncture. Unions have been traditionally criticized for meddling too much or too little, or just for being ineffectual. Many of the negotiations unions engaged in were traditional as well. Today, especially with the emergence of New Media platforms and the studios desperately attempting to corner their majority share, negotiations are anything but traditional. Union leaders are still as shortsighted as they have ever been in regards to acknowledging new (and unusual) revenue streams tied to New Media platforms, and so they haven't fought as hard for their members to share in those benefits.

A new union, especially one that originated from New Media, would be ideal for addressing many of the issues artists face when working either for or with others on emerging (and interactive) multimedia platforms, while still addressing traditional media as well, which as Charles said earlier is slowly yet deliberately becoming more of an ancillary outlet for content.

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SNAKEBITE
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I always felt the internet is a great foundation for global ethics around IPs...I don't know how it would work, but this platform is global, the new economy is global and so should our rights and protections be global as well.

I know 15 years ago people from my circle were very vocal on how the union needs to start thinking globally. ofcourse, they didn't. and these were union members addressing the issue that fell on def ears. Made a lot of us feel like they just didn't care.

I remember at our first AN meeting in 1999 when I first met Charles and company I asked a union rep what their trump card was, what power they had to do anything about keeping work in the US and providing the service its members paid for...that union rep pulled me aside and got right in my face for a yelling match. he was very aggressive. I was trying to be cool but the way he acted I almost busted his face right open, especially since he was so close spit was flying in my face.
I kept my cool though, saying hi to people as they walked by in amazement as to what they were watching...all because I wanted to know what union members were paying for.

now, here we are ten years later and the union has not adapted or evolved one bit. 3000 dollars a year folks to be part of a club that doesn't really do anything but provide health care....that is, if you have enough hours on the book.

Like most things in our industry, its an old paradigm that really doesn't apply anymore...thats not just an opinion, thats just looking around and seeing the real deal. Entertainment is global and its being built around the internet.

no one owns the internet or really controls it.
if we wait around and do nothing the usual suspects will figure out a way to dominate again....like buy up all the other big companies and become one big company we all have to work for and follow their rules.

thats not a future I'd like to see.

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E. Allen
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Nor one I would like to see either . . . but being that no one yet has figured out a way to regulate activity on the Net is what makes the studios' futile attempt to achieve a dominant presence on a largely unrestricted playing field laughable.

Since I met you guys face to face, Charles has told that story of you, Bite, and the union rep a couple times--both in public and in private, and that episode right there is a significant enough reason why an alternate union with minimum qualifications to join is needed for an industry that is becoming increasingly globalized.

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toonedbob
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Just for the record it is not $3,000.00 a year to be in the union. That's roughly the initiation fee then it's about 90 bucks a quarter. Best deal in town for the type of health insurance you get and you get a pension too.
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SNAKEBITE
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my bad about the yearly rate. although 3000 is still steep for initiations...what does the union do for that initiation? do they get initiated??
also whats the pension like?

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Charles
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With AN's long legacy of supporting The Animaton Guild IATSE Local 839, it's simply shameful that these guys have virtually disappeared from the forums. Not only have they abandoned AN, they've abandoned an entire generation of animation artists that are rising into the industry.

They can construct as many new buildings as they can afford and it won't change anything. Different gift wrap around the same ol box.

When you're not offered an option at your place of employment to join or not to join the union, there's little pressure on the organization to change or to even reach out to others on the most basic of levels. Join TAG and pay that initiation fee or lose our job. Join TAG, pay the initiation fee, lose your union studio job, and lose your union benefits. Find a new position at an independent studio and the only way you can keep those union benefits going is to force that studio to go union. The studio goes union and is forced to consider outsourcing work to keep afloat.

None of this sinks in with these guys. Do you realize that they haven't had a presence at an AN meeting in years? And not once, not even in the off months when the Guild didn't have a conflicting meeting scheduled, did they even show up to say hello at an AN Night. And you can walk from their building to where we have AN Night, that's how close it is.

The issue isn't that the Guild doesn't have great benefits, it does. But what good are these benefits to the expanding community of artists who aren't able to stay on at a union shop for the rest of their professional careers? Or get into a union shop to begin with?

Instead of finding new, innovative ways of bringing people in, they make it harder to join and get started with benefits, at least for the majority of animation artists out there. Sucks big time, almost as much as their attitude.

The system needs as much revamping in its own way as the US health care system does.

A new union will arise, I can guarantee it if some of the behind the scenes stuff we've been working on comes through. Even if it doesn't it's simply a matter of time. As the Guild becomes more entrenched in their own mythology of how great they are and if only the rest of us forced the other studios to go union. It would be one big shangri-la, but paradise isn't possible according to them because of all of us out there who have the unmitigated audacity to actually question the Guild and expect them to listen to what we're saying.

Lions and tigers and sheep, oh my.

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Charles
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Here's a challenge to TAG. I dare you to vote yourselves another president and another business rep. I dare you. Screw that, I dare just one person out there to run for president. One that will actually stand up to the business rep and take control of the Guild once they're voted in.

Here's another challenge to the Guild members in general.

I dare you guys to actually show up for one of your own meetings.

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Kevin
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Charles, you need to look in the mirror to see why I no longer post here or waste my time at AN meetings. It's the same reason the vast majority of industry pros who used to frequent this board are also gone. Your post is a perfect example. The misrepresentations, outright lies, and overt hostility are too much to take. I read along recently while Stephen Worth bent over backwards to have a reasonable, non-emotional discussion with you and Snakebite. All he got were personal attacks and accusations of bizarre email conspiracies. Frankly, the rhetoric on this site has come to remind me of the way cult leaders talk to their vulnerable and disenfranchised followers. You're either a true believer who doesn't question the leader's dogma, or you're the enemy. You've treated me like the enemy for years, and now you wonder why I don't come running.

I find it telling that you and Snakebite are so obsessed with a conversation that happened 10 years ago that you feel the need to repeat it constantly. That's just one of the many slights that you hold on to and keep fresh. You talk about looking forward, but the evidence is you can't get out of the past. This site has become little more than a forum for personal grievances, along with occasional grandiose and never-fulfilled promises of changes the industry.

I don't expect you to ever understand what a trade union does, how unions function, and what federal laws govern such institutions. I've explained it to you in person and written long, detail-filled posts here. I finally came to realize that you're unwilling or unable to take in this information, because you need institutions (not just 'the union,' but also 'the studios' and 'monkey executives' and 'people who can't draw') to define yourself against. Classic cult-like behavior.

In the past few months you posted several complete falsehoods about the Guild and about myself, but I've learned that trying to correct the falsehoods only leads to more aggravation. Life's too short for me to try to assuage your anger and bitterness any longer. That anger and bitterness, Charles, are a thick, heavy shell that weighs you down and keeps you from growing. You need to let it go.

I'm sure that my response here will only lead to more nasty personal attacks, but I hope when you and yours are done vilifying me, that you'll take a few minutes to ask yourself if holding on to all that anger is really worth it.

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Charles
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You're the president of the union, and look at what you've stooped to in your response.

There's no hard feelings on my part and there never were. This was never personal, and it seems you guys just can't let go of that.

Good luck.

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E. Allen
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Uniting & fighting for shared goals will result for better futures for everyone involved.
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SNAKEBITE
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I hear of these professionals we pushed away from certain people, but I keep hearing from other professionals how much they appreciate us sticking to our guns
and cleaning house.

So like the current Union, you can't please everyone nor should you try.

thats why we're an alternate source to get information behind the animation industry and thats why we need an alternative source to get union type benefits. because this current Union
is too exclusive for this new global dynamic going on in the industry. They want to hold onto old definitions of what a Union is while not trying
to adapt like the rest of us HAVE to.

I don't live in the past, I just remember it, because those who don't are doomed to repeat it. Hence the state of the nation.

The only reason I'm still here on this site speaking my truth is because I know I am not unique. I know others out there feel the same way as we do. Lots of disenchanted union members out there as well. Is that our fault? nope.

One thing Kevin has in common with Charles is some people might view them as the problem (depending on which side of the argument you're on) because they are the spearheads of each movement. Lots of **** being flung from both ends
of the tree branch. Thats the movement of change I guess.lol

Reform needs to CONTINUE to happen in this industry. A great example is the MPTF closures meetings. The Union might get more support if you opened it to the industry as a whole. Since when is helping exclusive?

but this isn't personal. This is about seeing a problem and addressing it. Which involves people and their feelings. If you don't see a problem well then when you talk to us we might consider that part of the problem as well. Considering our
opinions on such matters.

The Union and union members are welcome to our meetings all the time to educate people on what you do and don't do and take questions from people who have them. I know we see a lot of union members at our meetings.

Our history with problems on this board has always been followed up with a friendly invite to our meetings to discuss things further and more efficiently. this message board format sucks for these types of conversations...but no one comes.
Why? cuz of us?? so then we don't matter, right?
well...act accordingly. But don't act like we're insulting a bunch of people who think we don't matter. Its passive aggressive and not very productive.


I'm sure there are lots of pros that don't agree with us or agree with our style. Well, I've been here since the beginning and I can tell you for the most part that means nothing to me considering some of those sources. I have great respect for our true members, but there's been a lot of petty little games by industry pros who think we didn't know where their IP address were.
it was quite comical. especially the ones who come back and act all innocent and hurt.

AND!!!! not everyone left because of us, some of them left because of some members who had it out for us and the people who felt the same as we did.

So again, can't please everyone.

thats why we need alternatives...not monopolies.

But I know I've made incorrect assumptions, statements and conclusions in the past...probably in the future too. But not always, validated a lot, and if one is not open to making a mistake, one cannot grow. And I think this union is at the point where they think they can't be wrong. "they do what they do". so there is no growth.

not a judgment, just an observation. If leaders can't deal with that then that speaks volumes to me too.

We want everyone to prosper...well, there's a couple people that can kiss my ass, but for the most part I want to
see success to all involved in our industry....even the current union, believe it or not.


peace even through the pieces.

so now can we return to the point of my original post?

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toonedbob
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In response to Snakebite. My five years of coverage from the union for me and my family was cheaper than one year of coverage at my present employer even with the initiation fee.

Charles in response to your challenge, I had attended quite a few union meetings and even served on a Flash panel at one of them. I attended several AN meetings as well. Guess what I learned from both of those? One only has his or herself to blame for their own situation and only he/she can pull themselves through it.

If given a choice to have the union in a shop or not, I'd vote union every time. I've worked in both worlds and with s few exceptions I was treated better and paid more at the union shops. If the union were disbanded then guess how much the big studios would pay per artist and what benefits they would offer. About a third of pay and a pricy insurance plan, just ask your production coordinators, they know.

We can't count on guys like Roy Disney making our lives better. His victory did not usher in any changes that helped the artists.

I don't understand the rallying against the union or ASIFA. They aren't the enemy or the problem. They are a segment of our community. Both provide services for their members and to the general animation community as well.

We need to take care of business ourselves and just start making ourselves valuable and get the leverage we need to invoke the change we want.

I remember a certain mantra - be the change you want.

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SNAKEBITE
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Amen, be the change. I can dig it. thats what AN is doing.

Its crazy to think five years of coverage for the same as one year. This is the consistent praise I hear about the Union.

Really represents whats wrong with health coverage in our country, though, doesn't it?

So what if we have this so called national health care thats affordable to all...then, what is the union to you?

Good pay rates?? well the internet is making more and more artists savvy to pay, rights and the ability to be the competition. So I feel the mentality of artists about what they are worth is gonna change.

But on the flip side I see mergers like Disney and Marvel as a way to **** your pay Union or no Union. if big companies are the only ones in town to get good pay then you're ****ed...again, with or without a union.

I'm just thinking 5-10 years from now. The industry and production dynamic is changing exponentially.

Will the union change with it?

I for one didn't count on Roy for dick. But I don't count on a union for anything, nor did I count on Charles or AN. I count on me. Hence my participation behind a movement like AN. AN's war cry along side with Keep Creating is the Independent Economy...thats being the change. Creators making their own independent economy is being the change. Participation is key in change.

this is not about enemies, its about problems. But we can't address the problems because we are made enemies. We leave our doors open, they close them.

If the union works for you, then this doesn't have your name on it. If it doesn't, like we also hear and some of us have experienced, then this is a conversation worth having.

I'm not wild on the idea of a new union myself...unless we really redefine what that word means...cuz I do know we need unity.

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Charles
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I'm not for disbanding the union, I'm for expanding it, but what can you do with this kind of mentality where everything breaks down into perceived personal attacks. It's the same ol nonsense that's been coming from this group for a couple of decades now. If you didn't have to be forced to join this union they'd of gone out of business a long time ago. Not because of what they offer, they have good benefits. That isn't the issue.

What people in the biz want is leadership, and that's exactly what's been missing from the equation on their part. Signing off on AN is just another indication of the disfuntion of this community. It makes the Guild look weak, apathetic and uncaring. Then you get the president making comments like what he did above and you realize it's a hopeless cause trying to communicate with them. They don't understand the level of frustration that's out there and I don't think they give a damn anyway.

The Guild's blog, at least when I used to check it out, is full of trolls. It's an embarrasment to see the blog for the union for the animation industry in LA full of crybaby comments left anonymously. They don't realize how much of a joke they appear to the rest of the world, especially younger people who show more professional maturity than they do.

I recall back in the 80s when I was putting together a crew for a show called The Spiral Zone. We were given a budget that doubled the salaries of artists at that time, and I was happy to offer positions that pushed the envelope like this. It was forcing the studios to raise wages almost across the board to keep their artists on staff.

I thought this was great. Everyone was benefitting, then I read the union's newsletter and they were slamming us for this. Makes perfect sense doesn't it. We helped to make life better for all animation artists, but because we were an independent studio, the union's ego was threatened and they went on the attack. Nothing has changed since then really. Same ol thing coming from that group, only we're invited to their Christmas party now, and they're too insular to even do that anymore on AN.

I wonder sometimes, why the behavior of our colleagues is so predictabley bizarre when it comes to this kind of thing. Why they can't let go and and at least try to understand what we're saying and try to do something for artists not inside their club. Why they can't come up with new ideas and new ways of doing things instead of running away and accusing us or at least me of personal attacks when they've been challenged to do something positive for others for a change.

The funny thing is the philosophy behind AN is embraced by entreprenuers, venture capitalists, people all over the world who understand where we're coming from, but our industry's own union disowns us. People we're friends with and have worked with. Go figure.

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SNAKEBITE
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I find it typical. Not as a dig,but as an understanding of human behavior. Not everyone will agree and not everyone cares. Hence why we feel a need for alternatives. THis system works for these people. Its almost like the artists that fought so hard against the evolution of the 3D medium dominating production. The ones who survived let go of the old paradigm and adapted. You have to do that
to evolve...and survive.

AN doesn't have to say we're being the change cuz we just are. One only has to look around to see what just three guys have done with no corporate backing or 3000 dollar initiation fees.

This site was built around a need of a people, not of just one man. One man became the catalyst and conduit but his inspiration came from a void in our community. Me and then Adrian took on rolls because we too saw the void and the vision. Now others are coming here with similar goals and aspirations.


But again, I've never been surprised by the reactions and attitudes of the people that our vision doesn't sit well with because...our vision is open to all, but is not for all...and that has nothing to do with how open our doors are, that has to do with their willingness to walk in. They don't want to. and I say, its ok they don't have to.

So to return to original message. Unity. lol, oh the irony. hahahaha, but all kidding aside.
I see Unity through the platform of this internet.

I was watching a documentary about the water control problem we have in our world and the elders of India were encouraged by the internet as a means to spread awareness.

Todays Unions came before the internet awareness. I guess we kinda needed a house to go to get the latest insight on the industry and what our rights are and insurance...

But now there's the internet...and if they do public health care, or more affordable insurance then by definition Unions are obsolete. They just become gate keepers to jobs.

Again, this is not a dig, just projecting in the future. I understand why Unions work for people today(or why people THINK they work for them) but tomorrow is a different story ladies and gents. Everything is changing faster then it ever has.

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toonedbob
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It's not whether some think the system works great. Some think that there are even other solutions than what you have in mind. Also some think that the target of what needs to be changed is way different from the target your going after. The desire for change is the same, the differences in philosphy here are where change needs to be made and the methods of changing it.

Currently I'm not on the union teat and am doing alright. All the future projections spell doom for every artist, union or non and no new organization or revamp of existing ones will stop it. The evolution belongs to the individual artist and not to the institutions that exist.

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toonedbob
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I also forgot to point out towards your mentionng the union as a gatekeeper. They make sure that artists in this town get fair pay. As far as artists learning what they're worth on the interenet, just check out job postings on Craig's List and see what companies that are non union think of our worth. If the union goes bye-bye expect those rates or worse and no benefits from the top dogs. Companies don't value our services the way we do. And find me a cheaper health plan for a family of five with the same coverage as the union's and I'd pony up.

Also the union isn't some exclusive club. Get a job at a union studio and you are in. No other Hollywood union allows that. Try being a live action storyboard artist, art director etc. and get work on a union shoot - ain't so easy.

I'm not a union flag waiver but I also know they ain't the problem.

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SNAKEBITE
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Well, I don't see any one direction here. I see multiple. I for one don't necessarily agree with the need for an alternative union other than a way to get affordable insurance. But if this new health care movement changes that then really I don't see a need for a union at all. Like Bob says, the power is in the individual.

But to me, that has always been the core message of AN.

I for one would love to hear more alternative perceptions on the state of the industry. All the cats I roll with are all about the power of the individual artist. I've been behind that war cry for a long time.

BUT, as long as there is not affordable health insurance then there are certain needs that require unity...even with the power of one, there still needs to be Unity.

but again, Bob, please add to what your saying. Share with us the targets, the solutions. I think the more philosophies the better, if it involves evolution let hear it.

I think the misconception is that the people behind the AN scenes only look at it one way. We all have differences of opinion about details of what needs to change, but one of the things we all agree on is the current way doesn't work.

So whats the problem in your eyes?
and to go back to my original post again
How do we look at this new global dynamic for rights, protections, pay scales, etc etc?
I have my ideas, but I want to hear from others, not just Bob. I don't really care about Unions or Union beefs, the union has done nothing for me either way so its not skin off my nuts. I'm looking for alternative ways to looking at creatives taking back control over their careers and how an industry perceives their contributions.

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dermot
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I may be way off in Abstract land here....but I remember even in my first years in the business if we weren't slaving to build show libraries that only put us out of business as artists later.

Now that I'm 20 yrs older I do see that there is some truth to it .

I remember some futurists saying that the computer would revolutionize society.....and I think there are some techno-money investors out there hoping for a new wave of creative alchemy.
Some folks ( and Stanford alumni perhaps ) think it's a wonderful new economic dawn and look forward to more "open source" technolgy to make product. They look with envy at Wikipedia...a company with 1500 full time editors and NO salaries.....or the large Chinese online game company that utilizes huge numbers of volunteer members to write code and update a game that brings them hundreds of millions a year in profits.

No doubt someone will be trying to solicit free animation from artists by way of the internat and global community to create an open-source feature film ( if it's not under way already )

As with that "contest" question asked earlier....if you're going to work for free work for yourself and finish a short film at least . Own it.....if you can find a way to sell it ( and it's good ) maybe one of the conglomerates will buy you out too !

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toonedbob
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Sorry for the length of this post, but this is a heavy response to a heavy request from Snake.

The problem is that distributors who used to produce a lot no longer want to spend the money for productions; it is becoming more profitable for them to acquire products from indie producers and overseas conglomerates.

The union only can protect the workers on a production at a union shop. Check your listings and see how many shows on each network are actually produced by that network - not many. Now check how many companies are involved in a production of a feature, including the actual distributor.

Companies who are union signators are learning that it is cheaper to acquire than to produce, so they are allowed to acquire from anywhere, which leaves fewer slots for workers to work on product. The union can do nothing about this, not due to apathy but due laws and regulations. Thank your government for allowing runaway productions not the union who did strike about it in the past.

Remember what happened recently to WGA and SAG when they rattled the sabers. We've lost the leverage because studios would rather buy reality shows or foreign/indie product than pay more and more for union projects.

This seems heartless, in a way it is, but again law dictates that officers of a corporation must do everything to bring profit to its shareholders. Again thank your government for that, don't blame the union.

What film distributors will become are marketers. Digital distribution for theaters will kill most mid to small distributors. When they can't jack their prices for film prints or offer competitive deals, the big guys will spend more resources for marketing to let theatre owners know that people will buy tickets for their films.

TV distributors will spend more on marketing and figuring revenues for their shows with their advertisers.

So again this is something that nobody can stop.
What the union does and is supposed to do is safeguarding current and would be workers at the union signator shops. I feel overall they do pretty good job at that.

Now what do we do? We need to be sort of "organized" anarchists. We need to buck the system, not out of malice but out of necessity. We need to create new leverage, which is the content that the public desires and turn it into something that distributors want to buy, even if we don't want sell. Obviously the internet and indie theater distribution are avenues we can take.

Now in response to your question about unity. When AN started it used to be us against the monkeys, now it seems that the Guild and ASIFA have been thrown into the fray and the monkey is forgotten. The Guild's and ASIFA's agendas have nothing to do with the movement. If anything both are resources to help the movement.

AN is a great resource and the spirit of what you and Charles and everyone here is going for is what I support. We need to realize that there is no enemy to fight. Building more alliances, creating a trade organization such as the Graphic Artists Guild or NATPE will give us a stronger presence. Sharing information, working together on projects that benefit many of us will be the way. Bury the hatchet end the wars and create the community that doesn't depend on the corporate or union teat nor necessarilycuts them out of the mix. Think globally; act locally, or within the locality of online kinship.

This is my way. I'm not saying it is better than your way or any other way, and also not saying that any other way can or cannot work. Just saying that there are others like me who desire change and just because we ain't doing your way, doesn't mean we've decided to sit on the sidelines.

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SNAKEBITE
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Amen, Bob...but I have to say everything you just laid down beautifully is what we have been addressing here on AN for years. I think, hope you know this already.

We talk of all of these issues all the time. Its too bad it gets overshadowed by personal issues.

My point of this thread was not about the Union being the enemy. My point of this thread is to address just the dynamic you presented and a proposed question of how we can change our future to benefit ourselves.

Hell AN is just one of those models. i think people that have been here for awhile should really take the time to go to our home page and look at what we're doing. Create new leverage, develop content, distribution??? can I just say with the respect, "HELLO?"

We are practicing what we preach. its a journey but we're creating a network for indie creators who want to showcase and own their content. Investors see this, the new generation sees this.


The union isn't the problem, but they certainly aren't the solution or the future. Again I for one think the whole definition of the word needs
to be changed before we can ever really talk about it.

and thank our government?? no, thank the american people who were naive enough to trust the government when there were plenty of smart people saying it was wrong. They voted for deregulation NAFTA and all the other **** that has created our dynamic. But whats done is done and I agree we have to think globally and independently, like they do.

Charles believes we need an alternative union. Maybe we do. if we redefine what that word is. And I think thats his point. He can correct me if Im wrong, but I think he is talking about the new climate that Bob is talking about. Thats all we have ever talked about on this site.


These people with their personal beefs side track it. I'm sorry I waste my time participating in something I;m not even trying to argue.

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toonedbob
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I agree with you Snake and when I say thank your government - WE ARE OUR GOVERNMENT - we as a whole forget it, and since the others let it slide, we need to take up the slack for our own sakes.

Speaking of alternate ways to doing things, check out this site I just stumbled on http://www.helloriotstudio.com/about.html

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SNAKEBITE
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Do you ever go down to Culver City arts district in the Washington and La Cienga area? My good friends live right off Washington and I drive through
that area every week. its booming. lots of artists and the night scene is happening.

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toonedbob
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Drive by there every day to work - It's hopping. If I were an artist I'd probably join in.
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SoleilSmile
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I wish the TAG was in New York and San Francisco. It would be great to be able earn a living outside of LA. People may say that the union is weak, however, I always counter their remarks with the reply that everyone earns a living wage in LA because of 839's influence.
I just spent a marvelous summer as an intern for the Sesame Workshop. My superiors liked my work and encouraged me to stay in New York. However, I had the overwhelming feeling that New York is just another San Francisco-- only with colder weather. I did not want to work for another start up ,or in NYC's case, a non-profit studio that will pay me only $12 an hour to be an art director.
Sure, I've had my growing pains with the union and that steep initiation fee in the 90's. Still, I would rather pay the fee and have the union's protection than having to be both an artist and a business person on my own.
Thank you TAG.

Your ungrateful daughter,

Soleil Smile

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SNAKEBITE
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I've heard stories about how the union got our pay rates and I've heard stories about how the unions keeps our pay at a certain level when it can go up.
So to each their own....AND that was then, this is now.

but this is not about what they did or didn't do in the past, its about the new dynamic of the industry now. Its global. Work is global, distribution is global, production is global, marketing is global. So how does a local union apply to a global industry? How do we keep the ideals of union and apply it to the world?...or do we? should we?

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toonedbob
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quote:
How do we keep the ideals of union and apply it to the world?...or do we? should we?
We don't - we can't and we shouldn't.

Different needs for different folks in different countries with different rules and lifestyles and philosophies and politics. The common ground is take care of business at home first then see how we work with others that benefits everyone involved.

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SNAKEBITE
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I agree and disagree.

ok, first, this word Union has a knee jerk reaction like the word God. people bring their own baggage to the word.

but a word like union is a good word. unity. I'm not saying the ideals of the local animation union, or any other union. I mean unity in the sense where people are protected because of a universal understanding. this is a business, so making sure things are good at home are all well and good, but that has little to do with global protections and securities of developing IPs as a way to make money in this new global market.

Different folks, different needs, yes I agree. But There's different people living on the same street as you. that was always the case to me, hence my problem with joining exclusive clubs.

We are all doing the same thing. Creating. We're all trying to do the same thing, make a living. simple principles that can be applied to all.
With this new global dynamic, there needs to be a universal understanding. a Unity on certain issues or its a free for all and the people with the most money win...again.

And I would add that looking after oneself means looking after others. You must feed your children, but you should make sure the food source isn't tainted. We must drink water, but make sure its not poisoned and we must build a shelter but we need extra hands to help.

Taking care of business at home includes being concerned with the community in which you do business with. IMHO

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toonedbob
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This is where we disagree. I believe in building up others around me and bridging the gaps around the globe. And I'm actually doing it to the best of my resources and abilities.

But I can't help build someone's house while mine is red tagged. And as far as "HOME" is concerned I mean my community. I want my neighbors and friends to be on solid footing before I exert my ideals to folks around the globe or even in other parts of the country. We see how America's track record of spreading our ideals has gone so far.

I'm for everyone in evey country building their communities, but we all live under different laws and have different resources to do it, it doesn't start out fair and equal.

"Union" has a definition that means something. It isn't knee jerk when you understand the definition. Come up with a new term if you don't want misunderstandings.

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well, the association with the word has changed its meaning in my opinion. the misunderstanding of what the word UNION means came before my use of it. In fact I feel I use the word correctly when others look at wrong... thats just me.

but yeah, you're right, gotta use a different word until the true meaning returns. I just brought that up to Charles today actually.
We can't use the word because someone already claims it.

But we don't disagree, Bob. I'm all for building up others around me and bridging the gaps around the globe too... I ultimately think you and I want the same thing.

Bridging gaps, building up, all these things take some sort of unity. right?

I'm not trying to make anyone do things any one way. I'm not trying to suggest that unity, or whatever the word, means returning to the old ways.

I think Im basically saying what you're saying...and suggesting unity comes without walls or initiation fees and required hours to get benefits etc etc....in fact I'm sorry that certain attitudes returned this to that conversation.One I'm not trying to have. Again, the definition of the word union needs to be taken back cuz there is a stigma that comes with the word, not the way I use it.

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toonedbob
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I agree we basically want the same thing in the end, we just have sleightly different approaches, which is a good thing.
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its always good to have different approaches.

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SNAKEBITE
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...so wait...lol, I went back to work and then thought, hey, this is what this thread is about.

SO Bob, share your approaches. This is what I'm talking about. Your approach is create some kind of unity out of a tribe so to speak. a close niche, home as you called it. I do the same thing, so I can dig it. How do you create unity to make things happen? how do you bridge the gaps? How do you prepare your home for the market in which you wish to prosper in?


I hope this doesn't come off wrong, I just want to know. after all that union personal beef ******** I just want to get back on topic.

We live in crazy times. surrounded by lions tigers and unions with sheep on the side..if you don't want to talk about universal protections or unity on a global level, cool, fine, I get it, but how do you do your thing? How do you do you
and make a business doing it? how do you unite people?

I ask Bob cuz I know he's a hustler but I really want to hear from anyone. Its a new frontier, with new rules and they're being made up as we go.

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toonedbob
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Here’s a quick response. Maybe if we see each other I can get more detailed.

Basically finding a common project that you and your friends can agree on to do together and DO it, be it a film, book, game etc. Everyone builds it sells it etc. and gets equity in the project which can lead to the formation of a company. Or a group of projects or combining resources to become a service/production company etc.

Once on solid footing you branch out to you immediate community trying to swap services or pay for services from your local printer, attorney, maintainence man etc. reach out to local schools, get kids into what you are doing and mentor them. Sponsor a boy/girls club, little league, etc.

Branch out to your metroplex or region, then the state, then the country and finally the world.

Along the way learn. I was fortunate enough to go to a Kidscreen Summit recently and talked to companies from all around the world and saw what they were in to, what they were concerned about and how they do things. I also had to deal directly with an overseas conglomerate and talk to the artists on the other side and learned a lot of what their desires and needs were.

We make ourselves strong and then we can make others stronger. Like a tree grow the roots at home, cultivate the trunk and let the branches spread out to the world. We as a society seem to try to work on the big picture, while forgetting what’s right in front of our own noses.

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SNAKEBITE
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I totally agree 150 percent. I'm walking a similar path and finding similar conclusions. But the path is long and its good to be prepared for what lies ahead. When i get to the global stage I want to know whats waiting for me and what I can control
and what I can't.

Whats right in front of our noses is the global frontier. Yes, I have to get my ducks in a row before I swim that pond, but I think my ducks would be healthier if I considered the pond and what part has healthy fish and what parts just have pond scum.

Our roots are connected to the earth, if the earth isn't healthy then my tree won't take root.

But I totally agree with you. Regardless of the details, I think we're saying the same thing. AN is part of that vision. We're making our own metroplex, it just so happens to be global.

Ultimately I think examples like yours are part of the Unity I'm talking about. COming here and sharing your experience helps the earth so that your roots have a healthy home to grow from.

Aside from benefits and retirement plans, the Union also use to be one of the only places to get insider information on the dynamics of an industry. The Internet provides that and much more. THe internet is a new union in a way...sorry, I used the "U" word again. lol


I find information about my rights, pay scales, insurance, retirement. Once more people are self sufficient like the model you share then unity comes from sharing the information freely and learning from others.

I think what you're saying is spot on to the mission here on AN. We're shaking off the remains of old conversations and old beefs, but essentially you are the poster child of AN's core message. We're validated when we hear stories like yours.

I never want everyone to do it one way, thats not my intent at all with this thread.

We all change the world by changing ourselves.


thanks for your insight Bob! As much as I would love to hear more details when we see each other next, I would love to hear more about it on the site so that everyone could learn more.

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E. Allen
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"Organization" is a word that's both more inclusive while defining groups that are more exclusive.

I don't see an issue with that word. Furthermore, ASIFA, the Guild and AN all began as a way for uniting artists in the service of fulfilling common goals. Like always, noble goals get subverted and even sabotaged by personal agendas and human shortcomings, which facilitates disunity and discord. I don't know if even toonedbob, articulate & astute as he is, can help us theorize a way around basic human ambition and the ugly things typically entwined with it.

What I do know is that Kidscreen (Brunico Communications) holds events that tend to be more inclusive and acknowledging of various roles in the animation industry, and while I haven't personally attended any of these events, I have talked to fellow artists who have, all of whom would likely concur with what toonedbob is saying here. No one was excluded or ignored from these conversations.

No artist is turned away at the door at AN nights due to their lack of standing with a Guild or an organization with criterion-leaden requirements for membership. At AN, requirements are non-existent, to the best of my knowledge. If there were any requirements, one would likely be that you'd be a supporter for positive changes within the industry like fair wages, benefits and a safe working environment--you know, fundamentals that workers in other industries already enjoy.

I'm all for building the self personally & professionally, but we still share this industry. We still work when called upon to do so--freelancer and union member alike. Sometimes we are able to work in environments of our choosing, and other times in environments designated by the company whose name appears on our checks or direct deposit transaction information, and those company-dictated environments have often times been described as less than ideal (use keywords like "Miracle" and "Studios" in your search to learn more).

Enter AN + what Charles is proposing, to mitigate instances where artists working with other fellow artists aren't getting all they're entitled to, especially in issues concerning work environments. And in all other issues, we have to contend with fellow and senior artists who want to keep things the way they are, not "rocking the boat" as the phrase goes but wanting to continue to settle for raw deals in the hopes of getting more work.

If anyone has a strategy for addressing that, we're automatically onto a better blueprint for improving our industry.

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SNAKEBITE
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word.

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