A Two Way Street


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Posted by Charles on March 30, 1999 at 00:32:35:

In Reply to: A sacrifice must be made! posted by Ryan on March 29, 1999 at 17:58:42:

I agree with you Ryan, that some wages for people starting out in the industry can be a bit over the edge. I also agree that there is a trend towards pushing salaries down. I think the recent layoffs are part of the ploy. But this hasn't been a two way street. Animation artists have always bore the full brunt of a slowdown. If high production costs are a factor, then you certainly have to look at the salaries that non-creative management and non-creative production executives make. Can their salaries be trimmed? Is there room for sacrifice on their part? In my opinion, there are plenty of reasons to entertain the idea.

As much as I dislike using this terminology, why are "above the line" expenditures exempt from any cost cutting measures? Getting back to a point that was made earlier, why do studios staff artist recruitment departments when they're not hiring artists for weeks or months at a time? It's the hypocrisy of their system that has so many people upset.

If artists are to make sacrifices, then it only stands to reason that similar sacrifices should be made by the non-creative entities that populate this industry. Until I see them making the kind of sacrifices our community has historically made, I say dump them first. Let me see them struggle through a downturn en masse. Let's see how they like it.

Animation production artists are a highly skilled and a highly specialized work force. With the exception of newcomers or novices to studio production, there is no reason at all why anyone of us should feel guilty for making a decent wage. We make the product. Without us, there would be nothing. No films, no shows, no character licensing franchises and no international entertainment empires.

How many of us share in the equity of the products we create? How many of us get bonuses for laying off management when production is wrapped up early? How many of us get residuals when a feature goes to video or broadcast TV? How many of us work overtime without compensation? How many of us are involved in the decision making process? How many of us are integrated into some aspect of management? Who from among our community is listened to when a suggestion is made as to how to streamline production, or incorporate cost cutting measures? Who among us is ever involved in long term strategic planning? How responsible are we as a group for the millions of dollars that is blown away long before any one of us gets picked up for production?

Whether an artist is making $10 a week or $1000 a week, when production is through and there's nothing lined up, they go. Can the same be said for our "above the line" counterparts?

Until I see the problem of this lopsided system resolved, I will personally refrain from calling for any more sacrifice from our community. The sacrifice that we need to make is the sacrifice associated with entrepreneurial enterprise.




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