If you can dream it, you can do it. -Walt Disney
Quality is a great business plan. -John Lasseter
Let's make some funny pictures. -Tex Avery
I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. -Howard Zinn
When critics sit in judgment it is hard to tell where justice leaves off and vengeance begins. -Chuck Jones
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? -Jesus
A man should never neglect his family for business. -Walt Disney
What's most important in animation is the emotions and the ideas being portrayed. -Ralph Bakshi
Once you have heard a strange audience burst into laughter at a film you directed, you realize what the word joy is all about. -Chuck Jones
Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. -Buddhist Proverb
Share your views on the state of the Animation Industry.
In the latest email newsletter from the Entertainment Economy Institute, http://www.entertainmentecon.org , one of their featured articles came from the Guild's blog. It goes like this...
Scott Ross is Against Unions .. Yet Wants to Organize
Posted by: Steven Kaplan
July 21, 2010
Scott Ross, for those who don't know him, is one of the visual effects industry's giants. He was a director at Industrial Light and Magic and one of the founders and directors at Digital Domain. During his tenure in these studios, the visual effects for films have created, set and then raised the standard for visual effects today. Perusing his IMDB page, one finds the films that set the standard for effects over and over again. His opinions are highly sought out as an expert in visual effects as well as the former CEO of DD and a Manager at ILM.
He was recently interviewed by Jeff Heusser for an FX Guide podcast where he shows his stance on organizing the workforce by stating:
"I think a Union situation exacerbates the conditions we already have and will force companies to go out of business".
Click here to learn more. http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/ ... wants.html
Here's a link to Scott Ross' podcast and comments that warranted a spotlight on the Guild's blog.
http://www.fxguide.com/qt/2671/fxpodcas ... scott-ross
Whether or not you agree with Scott Ross, an anonymous poster on the Guild's troll friendly site called the man a douche bag. And the Guild let those comments stand of course, because it's perfectly normal for gutless guilders to call other people names, but when their business rep is called out for his behavior towards artists at a Guild meeting, AN's link is taken off.
What Scott Ross is saying is what we've been saying at AN in recent years. Perhaps there needs to be a different approach to organizing besides the typical union. Not too difficult a concept to grasp, unless of course, you're running the Guild.
You know, it would be easy to make fun of the Guild like they do with others. It would be so easy to employ their own formula against them in the way they use it against those they think have ideas that are in conflict with their agenda. For example, I could say that in spite of their shiny new building, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, but I won't do that. I could speculate that the Guild might not even be in existence, if not for the fact that everyone who finds employment at a union studio is forced to join. It's easy to behave like the Animation Guild when you don't have to try to get members. When people have to join or else lose their jobs.
Then again, with the benefits the Guild offers, I don't think they'd have a problem getting people to sign on. All they would have to do is drop the sanctimonious attitude, listen with consideration to what people have to say, and let the merits of what they have to offer speak for them.
Unfortunately for some time now, concepts like cooperation, unity, fraternity seem to be meaningless terms to them and fall on deaf ears for a benefits management organization that imagines itself otherwise. It's easier to attack the message and more often the messenger than to actually listen to what's being said.
In my opinion, the case for an Independent Union in animation is best made by the behavior of the animation union.
I'm happy to see a discussion along the lines of an alternative union being initiated by a VFX industry heavyweight. I can see why the Guild would be threatened by this, since the very notion of an independent union is anathema to them. Afterall, there would be no need for this discussion if the union wasn't as arrogant to independent professionals and many of their own members as they are. If they took the time to listen and reach out to people, if they had to sell professionals on joining. If there was an option to join, I'm very confident we'd of seen much different attitudes on their part a long time ago. But that's what happens when you don't have to try.
I'd love to get something going along the lines of a new union, and maybe someday we will. I think it would be good for everyone, even the Guild. Maybe someday we'll see something form, from whatever corner of the industry it may come from. If not from this generation, then hopefully from the artists that will follow us. It's a subject for discussion that is necessary, regardless of the hostility that comes from some of the entrenched reactionaries in the biz.
Good luck to all and I hope there's some forward progress in this area in days to follow. Let's keep the idea alive and encourage ongoing dialogue.
Actually if I'm understanding him correctly it sounds like he's argueing eliminating Unions completely. While Unions do help the workers all of the helping causes less profit to the business since they have to pay more to the workers. And to be honest when given the chioce between getting profit or hiring more people the owners are going to pick making profit, I know that I would. Unions and Taxes always have and aalways will be a detriment to companies hiring more people/artists.
Actually Paul, here's his own words on the matter, taken from the link I posted above.
http://www.fxguide.com/qt/2671/fxpodcas ... scott-ross
Scott Ross says:
July 29, 2010 at 11:18 am
I love the choice of words. A little over the top? I am not against unions…. I am for solutions.
At present, I don’t see how a Union solves the VFX industry dilemma. I’d be open to learning more about how unions might be a solution for the industry, in fact, I’d like to invite the IATSE and/or the Animation Guild to sit down with me and have an open public forum to discuss what the paths of correction might be to save our industry. If the appropriate path is a Union or a Guild…. I’d throw my support behind either effort. Let’s stop making disparaging remarks and start solving problems!
Last month, I followed the link to Scott Ross's podcast from the VFX Soldier blog, but didn't post anything about it on here because I believed you guys were light-years ahead of me on this subject!
First, Charles was right, then Scott. We need solutions more than we need unions.
I disagree EAllen. We do need unions as much as we need solutions. The problem is that this particular union offers no solutions to the points that Scott Ross brings up. The only solution they offer is to sign a union rep card along with personal insults against anyone who questions them.
The union can't create jobs so they say, although that's debatable cuz the union rep has one one as well as others who're employed within their system. They can't protect jobs. They can't even protest if there was a reason for it cuz of the no strike clause.
They act like they're doing their membership a favor when they do what they're supposed to do in addressing grievances. They consider union members who experience long term unemployment as "disgruntled". That came from the president of the Guild himself.
I could go on but it's useless. Nothing will change cuz they're not about change. They're about keeping things the way things are. It's too convenient for them not to change. There's no reason to change. There's no reason to listen. There's no reason to reach out. The Christmas party is the extent of it. It's too much for these guys to even acknowledge what we're talking about. The priority is in making themselves look good, not in pro-active steps that would address the issues that Scott Ross brings up. It's easier to belittle him and others who have something constructive to say other than actually listen to what's being said.
A good benefits management organization, but abysmal leadership. That's one reason why so few people in or out of the Guild actually care about the Guild. There's no inspiration, just the same ol crass attitude we've seen for years and years.
We were going to schedule the Guild as guests for AN Night in October. We were going to discuss the upcoming elections among other things, but there's so little interest in them from among the people we've talked to we'd be better off having a Halloween party instead.
Scott Ross is right. Solution oriented discussion, not name calling.
Hey Charles, I still hope you can get Hulett and even Kevin for October's AN!
My point, Charles, was that solutions, being that the word signifies the conclusion to a problem or an issue, are apparently lacking in the animation industry's discussion of the pertinence of unions and guilds at this point. I wasn't attempting to diminish the importance of unions; we'll always need them, in one form or the other. However, it's alleged the current Guild aren't really acknowledging the needs of artists, even (reiterating, of course, the "alleged" status of these statements, since it's challenging to do much of any independent verification) going so far as to shortchange artists when it comes to making available voting eligibility information and being coy with info on employment opportunities.
I too have long believed in the importance of unions and guilds, but only (of course) when they actually have the backs of the artists, as opposed to ostensibly doing it while being self-serving otherwise. This appears to be a problem that demands a solution if any union, independent or otherwise, is to exist in adherence to basic fundamental ideals.
EAllen my friend, the way things are at this time, there's no way we're going to waste an AN Night on Hulett and Koch. I'd rather get Steve Silver or some other person of significance who can contribute to the evening in a meaningful way.
Here's something else that came to mind about the way the Guild does their business. How many times over the years have we heard artists complain about being expected to work for free. The union is on top of that, right? Protecting everyone's rights, right?
Well then, if that's the case, then how come the president of the Guild and the executive board members of the Guild are expected to work for free? The business rep Hulett gets paid. Why not the president? Why not Guild members who serve in an administrative capacity? The Guild certainly has the money. Enough to construct a brand new building on Hollywood Way in the heart of Burbank. Doesn't make sense. The organization whose purpose is to protect animation artists and keep them from being exploited, exploit artists themselves by expecting them to work for free.
Oh, I forgot. The animation union can't create jobs in animation. Except for the business rep.
They target Scott Ross. Call him names and ridicule him, and as such, divert attention away from their own faults.
While there have been (and will continue to be) cases where artists work for no money with the understanding that they will receive something fair and equitable in return (a positive word, a written recommendation, screen credit, brag rights, etc.), working gratis should never be a requirement. Simply put.
I don't know nearly enough about those individual situations to write about that here with any articulation, but your description Charles seems to be in line with a substantial number of complaints from Guild members who understandably can't come forward with their names on their written accounts.
Ostracism in this industry can be catastrophic, especially if you have a family to feed!
Greetings to all! I am Steve Kaplan and the new Labor Organizer for The Animation Guild. This discussion was recently brought to my attention and I wanted to weigh in and correct some misconceptions that have been levied.
Please excuse the copious editing I did of Charles' post. His obvious hatred of the Guild lent itself to some verbose exposition that I felt was better read once. It leads to my first point nicely though. Charles did some creative editing of my post on the Guild blog and it seems missed my point all together. I was against the misconceptions and outright lies Scott Ross put forth about the IA and unions in general and spoke out against them. However, what Mr. Ross suggests is a great idea and I stated my support of it. He put forth the idea that VFX facilities should organize themselves under a society of his design. This society would help standardize practices and costs in order to staunch or even stop the undercutting of costs and overall "race to the bottom" that is currently being run. In both my post on the TAG blog and on the FX Guide page, I stated that as much as I believe the organization of VFX facilities would lead to healthier companies and therefore better environments for artists, I also stated that the need for artist representation remains important. Allow me to use my own words:
In point of further correction, Mr. Ross was not proposing an independent union. He was suggesting a society that mirrors the VES in design for the Visual Effects studios. According to what I heard from the interview, this society could allow membership to individual artists, but was designed for the studios to be members and pay dues in to (a point I found ironic considering he had stated that the studios already were killing themselves on their margins).
Finally, I offered no hostility in my posts and even offered Mr. Ross my email address along with my support of his position of organizing the facilities in the FXGuide response. I have yet to receive any word from him.
In reading some of the dialogue between AN and our president, Kevin Koch, its obvious that there are strong feelings against TAG here .. especially with Charles. I did not register here to wage battles with AN. I wanted to correct what I perceived to be a misconception regarding my posts and my position on Scott Ross' ideas given in his interview with FX Guide. I am sure, Charles, you will have things to say about it.
I would be glad to continue to visit this blog and speak about the Guild and our practices and policies. I will start a thread and open myself to questions or comments. If, however, I'm met with vitriol and hatred that I saw was brought against Kevin, I too will make myself scarce here.
Welcome to AN Steve.
I say this with all due respect, but I feel compelled to ask, what the hell is wrong with you people? Hatred of the Guild? You come to our forums and accuse me of hatred of the Guild? You don't know me, we never met, and yet you accuse me of hating the Guild. No wonder there's so many people fed up with you guys.
I hope this gets through to you and others, especially your president Kevin Koch... Kevin was always, and I mean always welcome here. He was respected and admired. Those were the good ol days. I won't get into the details before he decided to stoop to personal insults of which you guys seem to excel at. If I'm being judged as hateful because of my criticism of your union, then you guys win olympic gold for it. Not only do you allow the most vitriolic comments I've read on any animation related site, but you come here insulting this community along with accusations of hatred.
AN has always been a huge supporter of the Guild. Unfortunately, that passes by you guys I'm sorry to say. Everything becomes personal with you. Maybe it's cuz you have a hard time seperating yourselves from the mythology you entertain.
You guys are the union. Unity. All I have to do is re-read the post you made to confirm that's the last thing you care about. As in the case of Mr. Ross, any suggestion of an alternative organization or criticism of the Guild is met with accusations of hatred, personal insults and name calling. A call to organize is not being anti-union. Calling attention to the shortcomings within the Guild is not being hateful.
Instead of name calling, condescending attitudes, aloofness, close mindedness, why don't you guys reach out. Learn to make friends and influence others. Instead of being so defensive and engaging in passive aggressive attacks upon people in the biz who want to be associated with you and support the organization. I don't think it's too much to ask, or maybe it is.
We're a message board. You guys are a labor union. You have vast resources. We try and get by as best as we can. You guys can make things happen on a grand scale. But you choose to behave like kids and turn people off with your schoolyard behavior. I take that back, I think schoolyard kids act with more maturity than the Animation Guild.
Like I said before, I really question whether or not the Guild would be in existence if artists had the option of joining or not joining.
For the record, and as much as this may be a vain attempt to get it across to you and others within the Guild who like to think of us as adversaries, we are not the enemy. We are not your enemies. It's your own insecurities, fears and attitudes that have driven a wedge between you and AN.
Thanks Charles! Its good to be here.
Maybe my belief of your "hatred" for the Guild comes from your prose. Maybe its just your word choice. I did not insult your community or you. I apparently misconstrued your voluminous anti-Guild posts as hatred. I'm glad to hear I'm wrong and stand corrected.
I stand by my posts of Scott Ross' interview. I am in favor of his proposed society and never levied any insults against him or called him any names.
Reaching out .. is what I'm hired to do. Its why I'm here.
Happy to see Mr. Kaplan on here, repping the Guild side of the equation.
I hope Steve doesn't feel ambushed by us, because fair and balanced discussions are just what some of these matters were lacking. With Mr. Kaplan's help we can return that element to these discussions once more.
Wow, it never seems to change.
Charles prose? Creative Editing? Its obvious we're against TAG and the UNion?? Thats awesome Steve! thumbs up!
More passive aggressive behavior from our "beloved" Union, ey?. Charles prose has always been that he supports the Union. If you read his voluminous posts for real then you probably read that as well..but I guess its easier to discredit the man this way.
Maybe you need to read more before you drop bombs like that. But maybe you should just leave now if you think our past debates and conversation was vitriol and hatred towards Kevin. Because chances are you're too sensitive....and I doubt your observations come from anyone's prose but the prose you guys share behind the scenes, Steve.
voluminous anti-Guild posts? hahahaha, geez, and you guys are considered leaders? oh my. And people wonder why we criticize the union.
Different name, same silliness.
I already corrected myself. If I was wrong, I continue to stand corrected. Good to know you'll weigh in as well. I look forward to your thoughts as I'm sure you'll offer them.
Didn't sound like much of a correction to me. It sounded like it was still Charles problem with his prose and voluminous anti-Guild posts..so even when you were correcting yourself you were still saying the same thing.
I never said Charles had a problem. He, and you for that matter, have strong feelings against the Guild and how we go about our business. As the Organizer, one of my goals is outreach and public discussions of TAG.
As I told Charles, its why I'm here and why I offered myself up to any questions or concerns.
What I said is your correction still made it sound like it was Charles problem with his prose and voluminous anti guild posts....which he has never been anti guild....but Charles has already said that time and time again. There's no conversation here if you're still in the same position before your corrected yourself.
Maybe consider its your prose and the prose of the Guild reps time and time again thats the issue.Maybe its the anti AnimationNation.com and anti Charles message you guys send time and time again trying to label him and us as anti union...after time and time again he apologizes for any misunderstanding and how much he supports the union...one way by which he sends many students into your system who are have successfully found employment because of the skills and knowledge he shares with them...Charles has made the Union much money because of such actions while offering more then affordable education to go into a unionized industry....how is that Anti Union?
I've seen a man who has reached out too much to an organization that would rather assassinate his character in very passive aggressive ways then actually have a real conversation about the much needed changes. But it is to be expected I.M. not so H.O.
The union seems to be masters of getting out of any responsibility for their actions or lack there of.
Id' say I appreciate a new Union rep being here if I actually heard something new besides the side stepping and jabs at one man who's only fault is criticizing an organization who has the monopoly in their industry and who's suppose...to ....do something. I dunno still.
Steve, I don't have strong feelings against the union. I have strong feelings for the artists. If anyone said to me I had strong feelings against the union or that I hated the union I'd call them a liar to their face.
This is the kind of thing that some of you guys in the Guild have propagated and why many in the biz have strong feelings against what you do, not against the union.
Personally, I think the Guild gets failing grades in many areas, including the thoroughly unprofessional job you guys do on managing your blog. You'll never see anyone come here anonymous to call someone they disagree with a douchebag or a nazi. If that isn't a manifestation of hatred, then I don't know what is.
I took extreme offense at the way that Hulett addressed Guild members at a meeting I was a part of on September 30, 2008. When I gave my account of what I witnessed here on the forums, you guys took our link off your blog.
Until now, your pretty much non-existent outreach has been, well, non-existent. I know I can be abrassive, and I've apologized over and over and over again throughout the years for anything I might of said in error, or even not in error, to help smooth things over, but I'm not backing down from what I believe in. And that is that artists should be in greater command of the industry, and that includes the Guild.
For that, I've been vilified by many. Even people I considered to be my friends.
Anger, frustration and objections to the way that fellow artists are being treated is not hatred.
Read what I wrote from the Original AN Articles in early 1999... "Empowering the Union" ...
http://www.animationnation.com/index.ph ... -the-union
Why would I encourage the empowering and strengthening of the union if I was against it?
The problem here isn't AN, it's you guys and your inability to take an honest, objective look at yourselves. Every time you're challenged, here comes the personal insults, the defensiveness, the arrogance, the condescending attitudes. You guys have continuously portrayed us as your adversaries when over and over and over again we've reiterated that we are not the enemy. We're you're friends, get it? We're your friends and we want to help make things better for everyone. Not just the Guild and its members, but everyone.
The Guild is more than just Hulett and Koch and others who see us as some sort of threat. It consists of several thousand members, most of whom probably don't give a damn. They work, pay their dues, and deal with life. I know you guys are doing the best you can, but you're so high up on that horse you've lost the sensation of having your feet on the ground.
It makes no difference to us whether or not you continue to participate on the forums. Personally, I hope you do. I think it's good you're here and I'm glad to see the Guild participating again. I hope that it can be constructive and not break down into the bs that we've seen before from some of your people. On my part, I'll try and temper my style, but I won't compromise when it comes to artists coming first.
And I'll continue to push for an independent entity in animation that can help artists who are not eligible for union benefits or have lost their benefits, or who want to organize into an alternative association of some kind.
That said, let's have some constructive dialogue and some peace around here. New forums, new day.
I corrected myself by stating that, as Charles pointed out, I do not know him and was going simply off the old posts that I found on this site. I admittedly perused them and do not have a full history of ANs dealings with Kevin or Steve Hulett. I have brought up to Steve that I started an account here to answer any questions, and he said "Good" .. and that was it. I have not spoken to Kevin about his conversations here as he is out of the state and I do not communicate regularly with him.
If we have "sent out" any anti-AN messages, I've yet to be a part of them. I am here, as a resource to the AN community as voice for the Guild. I came because of the post Charles put up about my comments on Scott Ross' interview with FX Guide. They were caught by a Google search filter I have set up. Without this thread, ANs existence would still be unknown to me.
If you have any questions about the Guild, how we represent our members or our policies, feel free to post them in the thread I started. You can also email me directly at email@example.com. Or, if you are local to Los Angeles, give us a call and I'd be glad to treat you to lunch and have a discussion with you.