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.
One of the questions I asked was how they felt about multiple unions...and having options and competition in the market instead of a monopoly...they answer that there was separate unions already...but I asked, isn't it owned by an umbrella corporation....and they all said no, we are separate...ok
then who are these dudes and why does it look like they own all those unions???
I don't want anything from the union, I don't have anything invested in the union...I just don't like neighborhood bullies. I'm willing to help with nothing to lose or gain from it...I guess thats what makes me dangerous. they can't scare me with anything cuz I don't want anything but to see artists prosper and to see them break the chains...
Both times they opened their arena up to non union memebers for help or imput in the last 12 years I've been there...kinda pathetic. it 12 years they've only opened it up twice to outsiders...speaks volumes.
and btw, I have 15 years experience working in animation. non union...but experience non the less. I'll be more then happy to show them my works if it made a difference but we all know they are much better at character assassination then they are listening to progress.
To cfmiller, who was one of the panelists...
I don't recall anyone specifically asking me what's wrong with your union. If you did I could give you a laundry list.
High on that list is the hostility you guys exhibit to anyone that thinks outside of that very narrow box this union lives in. Negativity, defeatism, lack of a vision for the future, etc. It was obvious in the focus of the union side of the panel.
When the question came from the audience as to why big name artists at the studios don't stand up and get more involved for the benefit of their own union, Tom Sito said he tried to get them involved but they all passed, assuming none of them wanted to jeopardize their positions. That's something else that's been left out of the accounting of what went down last Friday night.
Also, after the event was over and I was mingling with a few people, on two occasions I heard and was told that we're regarded as "the enemy" by this union.
All of the support and goodwill that I personally gave to this union, years of it, along with what AN represents as far as encouraging unity throughout the animation community, and they call us and think of us as enemies.
We have the event videotaped. One of the things that Tom Sito was shouting about was that the video better not be posted. I don't see why it shouldn't. The whole world can see it and judge for themselves what happened, what was discussed, what was said, how everyone behaved.
The truth will set you free.
this is from my lady who went with me...on my birthday none the less...she's never understood why I even bother with these people. but she came with me to support Charles and get a first hand account of the general attitude..this is what she posted on my facebook wall
"I'm not in the animation industry but have a business/law background & was completely disgusted during this past week's animation open forum union debate when the subject of educating the younger generation on how to protect themselves by business education the attitude of the animation union business rep. was "let them sign a few fucked up contracts & then they'll learn, that's how I learned!"!!! Really?!? Thumbs down & poo poo on you, didn't seem like a very constructive representation of a community & but rather a dictatorship.....out with the old & in with the newly educated! "
Another case where art is more powerful then talking...this sums it up for me..
One part I think my camera's battery was dead for was when they kept referring to our site as AnimationArmy...like they don't know who we really are...so one of the dudes referred to us as AnimationArmy and the majority of the audience all corrected him at the same time, "ANIMATIONNATION!", they all cried...it was awesome!
That was panelist Craig Miller. There seemed to be some confusion on his part as to who we are, and as you said, he was corrected by the people in attendance.
Of the points I was making about moderating the comments on their blog, I mentioned that it was making the union look very bad in the eyes of the community, and it was keeping people like myself from interacting with the Guild through their blog. The uncontrolled hostility over there and the fact that they leave it wide open to trolls makes it impossible to communicate with them. Tom Sito said that at AN we allow posters to insult others, and I promptly corrected him saying that we kicked the trolls off of our forums and they found a home with the Guild. The crowd got a good laugh out of this.
Afterwards, I was hopeful that some progress could be made towards improving relations. Unfortunately, it's business as usual over there.
Here's something that came in yesterday. Comments from someone who attended the event.
Thanks so much again for an outstanding Friday night! =) I had a wonderful time at the debate. I hope my comments to the panel and crowd were appropriate -- I didn't get to complete my full thought due to the time constraints, but my final point was that as long as we modestly keep in mind that we, as artists, are what keep the
business alive, we can muster the inner strength and courage to empower and support each other in making those necessary actions and changes (i.e. creating alternative union options, rallying the "star animators", etc.) It IS up to us and we have the power! ;D Good times!
It was a very eye-opening event for me -- we all seemed to want the exact same thing. AN, TAG, the freelancers and union members all stated at one point or another that it was "US" as a collective whole that need to make the difference, not just one person or group. It's nice to know we do all agree on certain things. =) The real debate seemed to be over who would take the first step and how the goals would be met. I loved the ideas about writing to certain figure heads of animation as well as the amalgamation of animators into the Steel Workers Union!
It was also cool that Tom Sito pointed out that you and AN are great, living examples of how one person with the right vision and approach CAN make a difference. And you have, brotha! =) All that said, despite the negative moments throughout the debate, I think a lot of positive suggestions and developments were made. Let's
keep the ball of optimism rolling!
This past Tuesday evening at AN Night in Burbank, we had a spirited discussion about starting a new union in animation.
We've had meetings like this before at AN Night. What made this one different is that we had a representative from the United Steelworkers Union with us. The largest and most powerful union in the world. They amalgamate workers in a wide area of industries including the airline industry, the medical/ health care industry, the oil industry, even forestry and paper manufacturing. They're in the US and Canada, and we're entering into a conversation with them about organizing animation artists here in LA and potentially throughout North America.
I'm going to be reviewing our situation with their national representative soon. It's going to be interesting to see where it goes, as well as an educational experience for all of us.
One things is for certain at this point. There is a lot of frustration, disappointment and disillusion with the leadership of our industry's current union. Especially after last Friday night's debate with the Animation Guild. Many people at AN Night were at the Guild debate that Women In Animation sponsored on October 21. They saw for themselves what the leadership of this union is about.
The difference this time, is that we now have a clear path to follow that can lead to an alternative solution.
We can at least communicate with a union much larger and more powerful than anything that exists in the entertainment industry.
I can't say for certain at this point where our efforts will take us, but it's better than sitting around and doing nothing, or settling for this current union when we have the chance to form another one.
If we're successful with the endeavor, I believe the sky's the limit. The benefits of amalgamating with USW union membership are beyond what the Animation Guild has to offer, from what I'm told and what I've been able to ascertain. They have a motivated pro-active membership throughout the North American continent that numbers way into the hundreds of thousands, and I'm confident they'll be very interested in exploring ways to move into animation.
This doesn't have to be a one union town. We don't have to settle for a take it or leave it no other choice but the Guild industry.
Animation artists deserve better. We can do better than this.
So we'll try.
We'll see what can be done with the help of a truly powerful union, the Steelworkers.
Two weeks ago this evening in Burbank. Ah, the memories...
"You with the camera! You better not show this video!"
Sad to see that mature artists cannot sit together and have a free and frank discussion on the future of their field. Doctors, Engineers, Accountants and Educationalists can, but not artists. No wonder that executives can easily take advantage of their fragile egos and create divisions among them to get their own way. Sad part is that some of these artists claim to be of an intellectual bent of mind, their behavior however tells a different story.
Well, we tried.
Things can change. It'll take time. Meanwhile we have to deal with it and keep moving forward step by step.
Forgot I had these. I was downloading photos earlier and realized that I took three the night of the infamous debate.
You may recognize some of the luminaries in these shots. The pictures are from shortly after the debate / argument wrapped up. I wanted to take photos of the people in attendance while the event was in progress but I was caught up in the moment and didn't think of it until the end. These shots are from the left end of the table from the camera's vantage. I sat on the far left. Steve Hulett was next to me. Tom Sito to his right and Craig Miller at the other end.
The setting is the upstairs meeting room at the Guild's building on Hollywood Way in Burbank.
It's too bad the video from this evening isn't up online. Folks would learn a lot from it. Safer for some to keep it a secret. Freedom of unmoderated hate speech on their blog, but they have a problem with the light of video truth shining on the Web.
That's the union for ya.
Won't be like this forever. All things must pass.
In any case, there is something of a photographic account of the night available, as limited as it is, for posterity.
I've been meaning to do this for a while now and finally got around to it. That is, tying the video that was shot by Snakebite from the October 21 debate between myself and the union's leadership, to follow up on my last post.
Looks like people are still accessing this topic, so here's the link to the video from that night.
It's not everything that went on and was said, as some of the Guild's most interesting and ridiculous comments of the evening came later after the cameras ran out of power. But you get the idea as to what went down.
What Snakebite did was significant cuz you're not going to get the truth from these guys. Their business rep Steve Hulett's account of the debate on his... sorry... the Guild's blog was pretty much meaningless and very misleading.
Also, there were so few people from the Guild in attendance that the chances of getting any reliable much less objective description of the event from them is for all practical purposes non-existent.
At least there's AN and brother Bite who are willing to stand in the light and help the community see and experienced what happened.
Thank you Snakebite, now we have something to historically document the evening's occurrences.
Anytime, anywhere fellas. It would be a pleasure to face off with these guys again.
Unfortunately, I don't think they have the stomach for honest scrutiny or a challenge to their hegemony, stale ideas, can't do attitude, overall negativity and poor leadership.
But if they should happen to change your closed minds, I'm up for round 2.
There was more video out there but people don't want to rock the boat. I kinda understand but at the same time the leaders of this so called Union are the ones rockin the boat while the good people who pay their dues are the ones who get rocked out into the sea of despair.
And even though I can put out demos with my experience on it the Union and its so called leaders will always dismiss me as someone who just colors comic books....But I'll hold my personal experience next to anyone who has worked in the industries of art, design and I.P....any day, any time, any place.
I don't even believe I got around to asking the real tough questions...
I think the biggest irony is that these so called leaders don't even get paid, except the business rep...yet, we expect these people to fight for our pay scales and rights when they have none themselves??..no wonder they are so defeatist, they've been defeated...and we all know that the abused usually become the abusers.
These dudes have no balls. Sorry. They would rather attack the character of the artists then the character of a monopoly that only supports oppressive bills and statutes being passed then to support changing those statutes and bills for our advantage. It's disgusting actually. Pathetic and sickening...
And what if the people came together to vote them out? then what? IATSE is gonna bend to the will of the people?? I don't think so..I hope I'm wrong, but hope is for the powerless...courage is what we really need, because courage will move us to evolve, to stop participating in systems that oppress us while saying we have to pay to have representatives who represent our oppression..
I would be more then happy to participate in any future conversations about the topic, online, in person, a panel..whatever...but these jokers don't want to solve anything.
I wish all my animation brethren great success!
some personal theme music as I reach for my truth.
As the name of the band suggests....
I always thought that unions in general were a very outdated idea. It was needed in the 1900s when information and communication was super limited, but these days you don't need some back-door "leader" to tell you what's what, you can literally ask the actual people working in the industry. You can still band together, but you don't need this overworked bureaucratic system of self-deserving veterans saying "Well that's how it was when I was a novice, so suck it up and do it too."
Unions are another one of those great ideas, ruined by people. But alas, all we can do now is move forward, and I for one will try to stop the cycle by not screwing over my employees. It starts with us, the business owners. If we don't mistreat the people working for us, unions need never exist.
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