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.
HA! I love accidental analogies. You're a preacher brother! I dig it!.
Well, this is where we speak different languages me thinks.
We agree the Union is a system...but it is working. By design. It, in my view and understanding, is doing exactly what its designed to do. Unions divide. Justice systems are unjust.
We have many systems at our disposal. I tend to reject that two party system too. I believe voting takes away your true voice. So I'm not even in the same mentality as anyone trying to fix the union...you have to show me its broken first. I mean, most people would say the current state suggests that...and I would repeat..ALL DESIGNED..its not failing at all.
Holding onto old myths is not evolution in my view.
Embrace the idea we can evolve far from the Union system. We can still be strong as a community without it. I bet more people share ideas and views on the internet then in a union meeting.
Have faith in something greater then one system.
I don't understand sir. I googled "what is a union" and this is the first thing I got...
"A union is an organized group of workers who collectively use their strength to have a voice in their workplace. Through a union, workers have a right to impact wages, work hours, benefits, workplace health and safety, job training and other work-related issues. Under U.S. law, workers of all ages have the right to join a union. Having support from the union to ensure fairness and respect in the workplace is one of the key reasons workers organize."
Is this not the same thing?
another pro... if the projects are sifoned through the union, or some other syphon point, it would free the development executives from the task of predicting success, and allow them to instead focus on which of the already successful properties they are allowed to choose from, they feel they could best... develop.
"How do people form a union?
When workers decide to come together to improve their jobs, they work with a union. Once a majority of workers shows they want a union, sometimes employers honor the workers’ choice. If the workers win union representation, they negotiate a contract with the employer that spells out each party’s rights and responsibilities in the workplace."
I think that new media might be new enough, that an independent union might be able to be created, if the existing union does not wish to evolve with the theory. There are options. We aren't doomed. We just need to think on it a little. I've provided one scenerio. A start point. A rough. Throw it out completely, change it where it needs changing, or add to it if'n ye wish. I just want a clearer plan past just getting money.
Just to be clear, I realistically assess myself at step 6. I know what i have to do for step 7. I'm looking to guidance for step 8 onwards, and all I see is fog. I feel confident if I run through my steps eight and nine, I can only benefit. Still... it'd be nice to see those steps more clearly defined.
Who said anything about being doomed? You lose me on bringing production through a Union. I dont understand why anyone would want to do that. Seems convoluted.
You can google a lot of definitions of words. Democracy is another word you'll find great ideals, but we don't really live in a democracy.
I know what the definition of the word is. Doesn't apply. People use words and concepts to get people to sign on. But doesn't mean anything. Governments do it all the time. Hell, they use words and concepts to get people to kill for them.
Again, I don't think anyones ideals, even definitions, have anything to do with what we're talking about. Corruption does stuff like that. Deception is the game.
U.S. Law is corruption and deception. The foundation of it is traded on the stock market brother. If we want to really get into the Constitution actually says your are human collateral for a debt our "forefathers" made with their king...I mean, I can go deep. But like your analogy about kids needing thier parents to clean up their rooms, if you parents are the dirtiest people you know then chances are your cleaning aesthetics will be much to be desired.
Unions don't ensure fairness. MAYBE at one point they did...maybe..thats a big maybe...conceptually its a really nice word.
If you believe in the Union. Go for it. I can't stand, nor do I want to , in anyones way.But I find it silly quite frankly. I feel its like religion. It gets in the way of religious experience. hahaha ya know?
But prove me wrong. I'll be open to it. I'll support it actually. I walked with the Union 12 years ago and I went to their one and only open meeting...paid ten bucks, participated in the conversation/debate/argument (whatever it was billed as) in 2011 and have experienced first hand their design..its much like government and voting.
Everyone wants to use definitions but no one wants to really see how its defined.
In my speculative paradigm, the union plays a regulatory role. It makes it where the studios HAVE to produce UNION represented property. It's a safeguard for the creative and executive both.
The state of the union today, is an ENTIRELY different issue. If the system fits an ACCEPTED future projection, I'm fairly certain the constituents within the system will gladdly adapt their role. This would be a Parallel move, just to back on some kind of course. Nobody needs lose their job. They just need to have a clearly defined role to master. LEast in my head.
Honestly snakebite, there might be absolutely nothing to my theory... I've been wrong MANY a time before... Follow your guts. You're an exemplory role model on your journey. I know you'll find success, cause you've committed to it strongly. And thank you sincerely for your insights. They've helped me bring into focus certain things that were elusive to me before. I honestly don't wish to change your worldview on unions, and since I absolutely don't even think about politics I have nothing to contribute there. With my own backyard a mess, me having an opinion on a greater organization and their own backyard... seems out of my pay-grade. My role is to master my position first, then my environment. Immediate, then greater. Eventually it'll be a global standard we'll compete with. Right now we compete for youtube views in the millions. There's a global population in the billions. The rate of growth, for youtube views, kickstarter funding, and all that will continually climb as the number of humans able to connect globally climbs. There's a tidal wave coming... my guts warn me. Whether it's a destructive wave, or a wave we actively harness... time will tell. Or... my guts are way off and I'm completely wrong. Even so, what's the harm in a precautionary plan or two...
"Everyone wants to use definitions but no one wants to really see how its defined."
So let's find a way to re-define it BACK to it's ORIGINAL meaning. If it went off tracks.. it can go back on. That's what I referred to as the adults cleaning their mess. If they choose to not, then the oldest sibling in the room gets to decide, ignore the mess... or address the mess...
the pattern continues til SOMETHING addresses the mess... or living in the mess... kills the occupants. I think we can still clean the mess, and not move is all.
If my paradigm of step 8 onwards is off, It's lucid enough that it can be adjusted. In your opinion, after step 7, what would be a plausible next step hypothetical? And just to stay on topic, and more specifically, what would be the next step for the good of the animation community?... not ourselves individually...
So what does the word "Union" really mean? Definitions change for lots of reasons. Sometimes they change to fit political social paradigms. Trends change words and we lose its true meaning. How far back to we need to go to find its true source?
I know it sounds esoteric but nevertheless...
But I think this is very much on topic. If we're talking about strength of a community I think its obvious to talk about stuff like Unions. They, as you have pointed out, are suppose to represent strength...
So lets really study what the word Union means...hmmmm
A strong community is about strong, self aware and self sufficient individuals. Not dependent on any one thing. Able to be fluid and adaptable.
A plausible step for me, and like you I'm still working it out failing along the way, would be to make myself more aware of my personal actions...I find not too many people care about that. They care about their rent. And I can dig it. Rent is tough to hustle...if they have kids, they care about their kids. And who can blame them...they care about their overhead..and I can relate mine just went up too...
But whats different is most, not all, but most don't care about anything else but that. People live in fear and quite frankly things like Unions perpetuate that.
Why the hell do I have to join anything to be heard? Or to work?
So whats good for the community is being strong individuals. We've lost mentorships, as I believe you pointed out. We lower the bar too much.
I feel like one solution for the whole is not a solution. The whole is filled with unique people and unique views. What some called chaos I call nature. Solar systems don't have unions, are full of chaos yet work together in collaborative ways.
"So what does the word "Union" really mean? Definitions change for lots of reasons. Sometimes they change to fit political social paradigms. Trends change words and we lose its true meaning. How far back to we need to go to find its true source?"
I went to the present day front page of some la union thing and got the gist of what the system is built around. The fact that it exists in a changed state now, is just a fact that it exists in a changed state now. Now is not forever. If we can't meet at the definition of a word, it'll be impossible to figure anything out. The union is MEANT to be one thing. The union is presently another. Same is true for executives. And same is true for artists. The world is full of wrong roles, and our job is to untangle that mess. That is our responsibility. It's everyone's.
"A strong community is about strong, self aware and self sufficient individuals. Not dependent on any one thing. Able to be fluid and adaptable."
I'm lost at this point. Are we talking NORMAL community, or animation community. Cause in the general sense of the word I would say that's true. When speaking of the animation community, aren't we all dependent on the one thing... animation?
"A plausible step for me, and like you I'm still working it out failing along the way, would be to make myself more aware of my personal actions...I find not too many people care about that. They care about their rent. And I can dig it. Rent is tough to hustle...if they have kids, they care about their kids. And who can blame them...they care about their overhead..and I can relate mine just went up too..."
I'm in agreement, but all of this gets covered up to step 7...
"But whats different is most, not all, but most don't care about anything else but that. People live in fear and quite frankly things like Unions perpetuate that."
Here's where I again have to split. People do live in fear. Not having a plan, makes the future unkown. That is what I see as the source of the fear. Things like unions aren't designed to perpetuate fear, and are blamed for an individual's lack of forsight. I dunno why, but like you can't get to liking, or trusting in a union system, I can't get to throwing it out with the bathwater.
"Why the hell do I have to join anything to be heard? Or to work?"
You don't. You have to be strong enough to stand on your own feet. The union bit came later, If a creator wanted to create a thing greater than they could do on their own, using the studio's resources to produce and distribute it... If that's not on your agenda, you needn't worry about it. Working for a studio IS on some people's agenda's though, so I plan accordingly, since it's an industry thing and not an individual thing. I never said ANYONE had to do a thing, merely proposing a way of function for the people who want to do things that take groups to do. I'm STILL completely down to hear any alternative proposals.
"So whats good for the community is being strong individuals. We've lost mentorships, as I believe you pointed out. We lower the bar too much."
"I feel like one solution for the whole is not a solution. The whole is filled with unique people and unique views. What some called chaos I call nature. Solar systems don't have unions, are full of chaos yet work together in collaborative ways."
I dunno sir, I don't see chaos in the cosmos. I just see a lot of things I don't understand or comprehend. If you don't think one sollution for the whole is the answer, I dunno what to say. It seems you stop at personal success. I'm not saying stamp out personal success. I'm actually saying the opposite. Become successful individually before becoming entangled in a group, to make a stronger group. But a group still needs a plan.
I get what you're saying sir, and nobody needs to join a thing. Without unifying, here's my guess at what will happen. The artist will find strength independently. The studios will offer the artist big money for their creative content, the artist will sell their baby, and run off to play with their money, the studio will do it's thing butchering the property, and all will be as we know it. I understand your dislike for Union, I really do. I'm merely proposing some possible action steps, instead of just bitching and complaining. I think we're both in agreement that the artist needs to be strong individually first and foremost. To my understanding where our views split is the steps right after. So I ask, do we do nothing? Go with the artist achieves success model, big studio buys them out, artist runs off to play dodging their responsibilities? Cause people ARE going to sell their work to big studios. Why not plan for that?
Here's a question. I'm trying to master character animation. To master that I need more experience working with directors, character designers, background artists. I can do my own version of all those steps, but I KNOW others do those steps better than I can. It would be in my artistic growth's best interest to work with others. In the present dynamic of our industry, it's hard for me to focus on mastering that discipline. Under my proposal, there is a chance. For some people, their roles involve being part of a crew. Not being individual. So my question is, without a union to organize the crews, how do we organize the crews?
The animation community is very proactive creatively but when it comes to directing some of that energy towards issues of importance on an industry wide level it's a failing grade.
A lot of that is due towards the purposeful nurturing of apathy. I've seen it in the works for years mostly because the union's leaders. I would confidently defend the fact if there were anyone who would argue otherwise. I've seen and continue to see their tactics on a daily basis. Follow what Steve Hulett posts on the Guild's blog and you'll discover what I'm talking about. One of the least inspiring downer individuals I've ever experienced in this business and this guy runs the only organized labor institution for animation in the world.
Since 1982 when the animation union got their asses handed to them in an unsuccessful strike the culture of what we see today has developed. It's been a long term ongoing mindset that's been cultivated in a way that's helped create a malaise to ensure that a system of convenience is maintained.
That's why you don't see animation artists outside of the system flocking for representation by this union. Their leadership has created an environment where artists are not compelled to join because nothing is gained in areas that are important to artists. The only way to change it is to change that leadership and hope that new people will reform things from within and foster new attitudes a new mentality and confidence along with new ideas.
Until then things will continue they way they are with the greater activity happening in independent areas among independent artists and also among those in the union that are there as a matter of necessity and not necessarily by choice, who see themselves as independent.
I wish I could hear Steve Hulett's insight on this. Can the union change? Does it want change? A simple yus or no would make this topic very clear very fast to me. Actually, I spose I'll start with asking that question to everyone from the onset. Can you the artist change? Do you, the artist want change? If the answer is yes we can meet on common ground, if it's no I respect that decision, but I don't really have much more to add to that conversation. ...
I've heard Steve Hulett's insights and am familiar with his views. Plus I've had my own encounters with him over the years. In a position of leadership he is and has been a major liability.
Add to that the complacency and fear of a studio based community and we have what we have.
It's really a shame. We could and should be among the most powerful and influential communities in all of entertainment. Instead we're at the top of the list of pushovers.
All it would take to get the change going within the union is a few artists to attend some bi-monthly union meetings, that's one evening every two months, and then once they see how the system works, run for office.
Don't just get your name on the ballot and sit around. Organize a campaign with defined goals. Take the initiative. Stop falling in line like obedient docile sheep. Make a stand and set an example. Then once you're voted, shake things up!
There's huge numbers of artists working in animation in the US and all over the world. Far more than the union studio population. The union should be a leadership organization that invites others in. Instead we have a fear driven, lazy, hostile, passive aggressive, uncreative, defeatist based organization that perpetuates stagnation and weakness while collecting money for just being there.
But they do have good benefits while you're working at their studios so there's something positive to be said.
If there's 2700 union artists working at any given time, and they all pay at least $600 per year in dues, not including new members who are paying an initiation fee more than 5 times that amount, and artists working in animation who opt out of union membership but are still required to make payments.
How much does that come to?
That's $1,600,000 in passive revenue annually.
The failure of the animation union reflects directly upon our community. They fail as a leadership organization because union studio artists have failed at the most basic, fundamental level of positive pro-activity.
As long as union studio artists remain complacent and apathetic about their own union, we will not see change or evolution for the betterment of all within their system and beyond.
There is no leadership in the unionized community. None that I'm aware of. Change and evolution is happening on the independent side of things.
Independents are emerging as the leaders of the modern community. And they'll grow stronger over time.
Last edited by Charles on Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"All it would take to get the change going within the union is a few artists to attend some bi-monthly union meetings, that's one evening every two months, and then once they see how the system works, run for office.
Seems like a such a small thing. Oh the well. At least we get to witness an example of what not to do with an industry, and hopefully not make the same mistakes twice.
Focus on creation is now the name of the game for me sir. Thanks for the feedback Charles. I pretty much agree.
I still don't know why you need a centralized problem solving agency to represent everyone. Micro Unions happen all the time in the literal sense. People form groups, agree to terms and dynamics and create.
Also I don't see how success comes from selling all your ideas to big companies. I've always been around business owners and there's this weird thing at some point of the progress of your company that pretty much says you're too big to be small to small to be big, might as well sell it off...weird to me....And everytime I saw that happen the original creator gets turned off, is just happy with the paycheck and checks out...usually to do something new , which is good...but it comes from the organization taking the love out of it.
Then there's the stock market that says you have to grow at any means necessary...Why can't you get to a point thats healthy and supports a crew and stay there? Why can't you just keep creating new content to support your market on your own??
This is what I'm saying about the bigger picture of organizations. They are owned by other organizations that lobby for policy to move the dynamics in favor of those with big pockets...I see how all of these companies benefit for the current dynamic.
The general response is people are not aware of such dynamics. They just want to solve one thing at a time..but to me they're just branches of the problems and ultimately their cycle they created controls your destiny.
I have to say, people do generally run on fear. Even if its subtle. Its there. It's constantly pushing them to keep it safe. Generally speaking... Doesn't make them bad people, doesn't mean they have no love. Generally I believe people are good. I don't subscribe to people are inherently evil and greedy. I think thats bullsht...but they do live off doses of fear.I would think its a mistake to dismiss that. I mean its constantly fed to them.
I can go deep into what I see in the social construct and what I know about how it is set up but it might be received as off topic. We're dealing with deep programming.
But the topic is multi dimensional. Thats why I can't understand why there has to be one dimension to solve it. Like we need one agency to help us produce properly?? hmmmm
true unity is this conversation. Independent thinkers, sharing ideas with no negativity. Open. Receiving and distributing. Much respect
I guess for me, the independent economy artist sustained model is good for the artist, and those close to the artist. The studios and unions... that's the thing that affects all those the independent economy artist doesn't know. I used to not know a single person in the industry. The studio route got me into it. I feel a loyalty to that system, for giving me a break in my life. I guess, I owe it to my future self, to try to help keep that avenue open.
I don't have a problem with the studio concept. I've worked in studios. Not to say I haven't had problems with studios, hehehe. But I am a studio, small but still. I'm a studio. I have and plan on continuing to get into situations where I work with other people.Being independent doesn't mean me by myself.
I believe there should be many different types of working systems so studios are part of the big familia.
Where I differ is the need for centralized management systems for whole communities. Like this concept we call Union. We don't need Unions to have studios.
I don't close avenues, I leave that to organizations like Unions. I build bridges and empires.
I have no problems with studios. I've worked with some of the best. I've learned a lot.
But my future self says keep creating and you'll open much more then your past.
Ok, so I'll focus on the union point. In the context of ESTABLISHED large studios (dreamworks, disney, wb, cartoon network) is it fair to say that there are 3 types of employees (in the animation industry). There's the creatives. The executives. And the support crew, that manage the day to day running a studio bit. Is that a fair assumption to make?
The support crew doesn't impact the creation of animation, so they seem to be good in their role.
So it breaks down to the two, creative and executive. Creative has control of the creative enrgy, executive has control of the money energy. Is that a fair assumption to make? Now if these two branches had clear and open communication, and were on the same team, I'd say you're absolutely right, who needs a union. But if they are at each other's throats (like in a bad marriage) a third party mediator becomes helpful. THat's what the union is supposed to be. It's like the counselor. Divorce is not going to happen, and without coming together those systems will live in dysfunction. Living outside those systems, I 100% agree with you snake, who needs a central thing to dictate action. It's not for those outside the system I think the union is most helpful for. It's the people in the system. So long as those giant studios exist, these types of problems will exist. It's on the humans to find the peaceful meeting ground. That's all I am saying. When the conversation is about the large players in the industry, I do believe a strong union can have a powerful impact.