Posted by Sean on May 12, 1999 at 13:31:01:
First of all I have to thank Charles for creating this site and this forum. I heard much of what has been written here when I was still in school. In fact the dismal state of the industry was presented to us as the status quo and that we should get used to it and the competition it creates. This prompted me to go on a working vacation after graduating. In London I found the most amazing situation. The city is full of small artist owned studios. They exist on a steady diet of ads and the occasional series. Many artists in the city move from job to job as the studios acquire contracts. This lifestyle isn't for everybody but it can be quite profitable. The ad contracts are worth quite a bit and the much of the budget gets to the artists since there are no useless execs to pay. The studio I worked at was owned by two animators who took care of the administrative work as well as the direction. The lack of dead weight allowed them to pay me (an absolutely green assistant) several hundred pounds a week! (the British Pound at that time was worth around $2 US) Contrasted to the studio that I'm at now (that has an assistant production manager who spends each day tabulating the daily efficiency numbers for each animator and scene) it was heaven.
I think that a model similar to London could be applied throughout the industry in North America not just in L.A. Granted every studio can do ad work only or the competition would be overwhelming. However as more independants pitch original concepts to the broadcasters the more likely it will be that some of them will be bought.
Unfortunately the Brits aren't very web savvy yet. You'll have a hard time finding any info on studios in the UK. If you have a chance to visit London pick up a copy of the UK Animation Directory at one of the animation art galleries and go visit some studios. For Canadian animators it's relatively easy to get permission to work in the UK. It's more difficult for Americans but I'm sure that it can be done.
Mail me if you have any questions or comments.
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