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DreamWorks Animation - Big layoffs on the way

Share your views on the state of the Animation Industry.

DreamWorks Animation - Big layoffs on the way

Postby Charles » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:22 am

And it seems to be a pretty good number of artists that'll get the pink slip. As much as a quarter of their workforce.

Underscores once again why it's important and a good idea to have an independent aspect to your career.

Here's an article from The Hollywood Reporter...

................


Layoffs Coming to DreamWorks Animation
By Matthew Belloni
Feb 5 2013

An unspecified reduction in staff is planned in the wake of an expected write-down on the November release "Rise of the Guardians."

DreamWorks Animation will lay off staff in the wake of the weaker-than-expected performance of the studio's Rise of the Guardians and its announcement Tuesday that it will release two films in 2013 rather than three, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

The layoffs, which have been rumored for weeks, are expected to hit the Glendale-based animation studio's production, technology and overhead functions. Sources say no single film project in development will be targeted, though DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said in a statement Tuesday that the Kate Hudson-Josh Gad-voiced Me & My Shadow, which had been slated for release by Fox in March 2014, is being taken off the schedule indefinitely. Mr. Peabody & Sherman, which was set for a Nov. 1 release, will now shift to the March 7, 2014 slot.

"The move of Mr. Peabody & Sherman means that we will now release two films in 2013, and we are adjusting our operating infrastructure costs accordingly," Katzenberg said in a statement.

A DreamWorks Animation spokesperson declined to comment on whether layoffs will happen. But sources say plans for an unspecified reduction of the company's 2,000 or so employees already are afoot and should begin before the publicly-traded studio reports earnings on Feb. 26.

Guardians, released in the U.S. in November, grossed nearly $300 million worldwide in theaters but was considered a box office disappointment due to its high production and marketing costs. Lazard Capital Markets analyst Barton Crockett predicted in January that the studio will be forced to write down as much as $96 million in Guardians losses. DWA stock consequently has been pummeled by investors.

The trouble comes as DWA in August entered a five-year distribution deal with Fox, which will release its films globally beginning with The Croods on March 22. Turbo will follow on July 19, then Mr. Peabody & Sherman, How to Train Your Dragon 2 on June 20, 2014 and Happy Smekday! on Nov. 26, 2014.

Article here.

............


So what does this mean for the animation community and how will things be affected?

Salaries will likely top out as the abundance of highly trained feature animation artists will be... well, abundant.

I know of one long standing DreamWorks artist who was let go a couple months to my surprise. Thought he would be there forever. A sign of what was on the way I guess.

DreamWorks is also the biggest animation employer in the LA market comprising about a third of the entire union membership that's working. With somewhere around 2674 Guild members currently employed, if Dreamworks were to let go of 25% of their animation workforce as some media outlets suggest, and according to the Guild they employ 829 people, that would mean 207 artists would be be affected.

That comes out to around an additional 8% of currently employed Guild artists joining the ranks of an unspecified number of their unemployed members looking for work.

The Guild only reports happy numbers folks. Don't see stats coming from them showing how many are not working.

Good luck to the DreamWorks artists! You guys are A list talent and I wish you the very best! I'm sure it won't be long before you wind up in another good situation. Great talent is valuable and in fairness to DreamWorks hard to let go as well I'm sure. They did a good job of keeping lots of people working for a long time.
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Re: DreamWorks Animation - Big layoffs on the way

Postby Charles » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:16 pm

I wonder...

Will executives be included in the upcoming layoffs?

How about management? Anybody in management going to be let go?

Not accusing or attacking. Just curious.
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Re: DreamWorks Animation - Big layoffs on the way

Postby SNAKEBITE » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:33 pm

We have to look at this as Transmedia...thats the way all the companies are looking at it, thats the way we should look at it.

I'm waiting for the days when boarders are only on the pages we draw story boards on...and hell, even those are optional.

C, you keep reminding me we are currently living in the time we positioned ourselves for all those years ago. Building our brands to reach our market...and our market will be vast and varied.

I wish everyone courage, that loses their job in these upcoming layoffs. It's time to position yourself in this new economic dynamic...personally, I'm waiting for our carbon based form to evolve so technology and money won't mean anything...but until then, I'm evolving my current relationship to this time space paradigm.
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Re: DreamWorks Animation - Big layoffs on the way

Postby Charles » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:54 am

Consider this...

If all the artists who are being laid off at DreamWorks, let's say it numbers 200 or more in total, were to come together and form their own studio, they'd be the fourth largest animation studio in the union. Only Disney, DreamWorks and Nickelodeon would have more artists on staff than this hypothetical studio.

Consider also, that if the Animation Guild created a fund whose purpose it was to finance animated productions by staffing laid off animation artists, they'd be developing content that could be marketed at a level of any other animation studio in town or the world for that matter.

But they won't cuz their model is based on outdated modes. They're stuck in a 1930s mentality. They have no new ideas, are under no pressure to develop new ideas or implement new methods, their business rep thinks that you can't change law, and their membership doesn't give a damn about their own union which further empowers the guys who run it to not do anything.

Man it sucks having progressive thoughts in this industry. Meaningless and a waste of brain power. All that keeps going round in my mind is corruption. A corrupted system run by corrupted people. Corruption doesn't necessarily mean stealing money or being dishonest. There's many forms of it. Corruption can be passive. Like union leadership whose biggest accomplishment is nurturing the apathy of their membership so nothing changes and nobody gets involved and the three year employment contracts keep coming.

Their business rep has never been laid off ever since he became business rep in 1989. What incentive does he have to do anything different.

This union is the most uninspiring organization I've ever known in all of the entertainment industry. It's a shame these talented artists have to go through these things and the union's attitude is oh well that the biz, that's how it goes.

Well, that's the biz and that's how it goes. You don't get involved in your union and the slackers at the Guild just keep on slacking.

There's an election this year and out of the 3000 members in this union I doubt if anybody will challenge the status quo.

Good luck.
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Re: DreamWorks Animation - Big layoffs on the way

Postby Charles » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:56 am

I've learned that the layoffs at DreamWorks are going to be much higher than previously thought. I don't know if this will affect just the animation crew or if it will spill over into other areas but if the number they're talking about is compared to the animation people they currently have on staff it will be somewhere around 40%.

A big bite out of the sandwich.
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Re: DreamWorks Animation - Big layoffs on the way

Postby Charles » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:52 pm

DreamWorks is the largest employer of artists in the Animation Guild. If the number of people that get a pink slip are all Guild / union members it will equate to 13% of the total number of Guild artists currently working.
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Re: DreamWorks Animation - Big layoffs on the way

Postby SNAKEBITE » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:56 pm

Can these artists still vote for the Union elections after they are let go? Or are they still considered eligible?
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Re: DreamWorks Animation - Big layoffs on the way

Postby Charles » Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:49 am

I don't know but if they can they should vote to change law.
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Re: DreamWorks Animation - Big layoffs on the way

Postby SNAKEBITE » Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:57 pm

Can you do that??? ;)
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Re: DreamWorks Animation - Big layoffs on the way

Postby Greg B » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:02 pm

Charles wrote:DreamWorks is the largest employer of artists in the Animation Guild. If the number of people that get a pink slip are all Guild / union members it will equate to 13% of the total number of Guild artists currently working.


13%???

Now that's a hefty chunk! You sometimes wonder how things get this bad. I think I know why but I've said enough already.
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Re: DreamWorks Animation - Big layoffs on the way

Postby Charles » Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:08 pm

It's not bad. It's good. From this perspective in the short term it's difficult but in the long run it will make everyone stronger.

DreamWorks will be stronger and more efficient. Also they'll be lots more creative competition cuz I'm willing to bet we're gonna see some new studios pop up with great talent behind it all.

Add in the fallout from Rhythm & Hues and you have the potential for new artist run mega studios.

That's the way of the future brothers and sisters!

It's good for us! Get used to it and let's get busy building something new and exciting and rid ourselves of the shackles once and for all! ;) :)
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Re: DreamWorks Animation - Big layoffs on the way

Postby Greg B » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:57 pm

If the past teaches us anything this ain't gonna end good.
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Re: DreamWorks Animation - Big layoffs on the way

Postby Charles » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:55 pm

Doesn't matter. It is what it is. Better off moving forward. Work on a happy ending. 8-)
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Re: DreamWorks Animation - Big layoffs on the way

Postby Sikanda » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:34 pm

I just think it should be mentioned that none of the networks that deal with stocks and trading have mentioned any of this. I just think it should be noted how little the public cares or how little big money cares about the artists.
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Re: DreamWorks Animation - Big layoffs on the way

Postby Charles » Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:21 pm

I think the public cares. I just don't think they hear about it cuz the news about what's happening in animation doesn't get out as effectively as it should, for whatever reason. Take for example how the Hollywood corporate media put the clamps down on news about the VFX issue during the Oscars a few days ago.

It's up to us to stop depending on these guys and their system for anything and everything. There's new directions developing that are beyond them. People are hungry for a new way.
As long as the community at large keeps looking to Hollywood blinded by their glitter we'll never really see the gold.
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Re: DreamWorks Animation - Big layoffs on the way

Postby MikeMurphy » Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:35 am

Do not worry guys, their is always new just keep it up...
http://www.successfulanimator.com
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Some Perspective...

Postby ChanceRaz » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:55 am

http://bit.ly/Y4pPul <---- Learn exactly what is going on in the VFX biz and WHY!

Here's a great article blurb and sound bite (go to the site and click Listen - upper right) that explain (and tend to agree with) this perspective on the VFX plight. Definitely worth the 11-minute listen! Accurate and informative!! Let's educate ourselves!!!
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