Posted by Charles on April 01, 1999 at 22:52:25:
The much anticipated gathering of pan-animation talent occured today at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City. It wasn't previously known just what the turnout would be. Realistic projections ran from about 50 to 300 possible attendees. Many people thought it was all an April Fool's joke, not realizing that the date of the event was in honor of our industry's illustrious executives.
The final tally appeared to be somewhere between 150 to 175 individuals. The number slowly dropped as the afternoon went on and many people had to get back to work. I was personally expecting about 200 to show up, even though I longed for a much larger crowd. Considering the fact that news about this event was passed on almost entirely by word of mouth, and in consideration of the sudden rain storm we had here in LA and the ensuing traffic problems, we didn't do too bad as far as the numbers went.
The tone of the meeting was set early on as one of genuine sincerity. An interesting observation, not much executive bashing went on. It was agreed by all who attended that there is a serious mangerial problem in this business and that artists are routinely abused within the studio environment. The issue of trying to find a middle ground with executive management or addressing our concerns to them directly was never really entertained as a viable option. It appeared to be a useless proposition and nobody really took it seriously.
The meeting was surprisingly solution oriented. Most everyone seemed to agree that the answer to the problems we face is in the nurturing of start up animation studios.
The meeting was attended by an impressive collection of animation personalities. Among them, the Union's top brass, the President of ASIFA Hollywood, the Editor-In-Chief of Animation Magazine, a director responsible for pioneering Emmy awards for individual achievement in television animation, and others who are prominent in animation but whose identities I will refrain from disclosing.
The feeling of acceptance among the crowd was remarkable. There was a dissenting opinion from one artist who felt very strongly that there is not much that can be done about the way things are. His views were respectfully listened to. The response from the attendees was one of a positive nature. Everyone agreed that although things were bad, nothing would ever be accomplished or resolved by giving up or not trying.
One of the goals of the meeting was to promote unity among animation artists. This was very evident all through the affair as Union and non-union artists alike addressed the issues without any finger pointing or name calling. The integrity and professionalism of the crowd was one of the most impressive aspects of the gathering.
By the end of the event, everyone was in an uplifted spirit. There was a sense that something significant had been accomplished. I believe that the significance of this meeting lies in the fact that it really seemed to be an alliance. It was a unique gathering. One in which artists sat down together and really tried to explore solutions instead of complaining and doing nothing.
It was a victory for our community. Many of the artists present wanted to continue this kind of event and I think it a likely prospect that there will be more of these gatherings to come. It was the first time that animation artists actually got together with a problem solving agenda and took the first step towards achieving long term goals.
For those artists that couldn't make it, they missed out on something very special. But I'm sure that the spirit of our meeting and the alliance that was achieved will grow and flourish.
We planted a lot of good seeds today. Now let's see them grow.
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