The word on the street

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Posted by Charles on July 30, 1999 at 21:47:40:

The animation business in L.A. is still tight, but there are signs of improvement in the situation.

There's much anticipation about the prospects of The Iron Giant. Everyone who's seen it has nothing but rave reviews. Some are even talking about the possibility of a best picture nomination for next year's Oscars.

Tarzan has surpassed the $130 million mark and is expected to hit $180 million before it tops off domestically. If so, this will make it the highest grossing Disney animated feature since Aladdin and Toy Story.

South Park cost about $20 million to produce and is projected to hit $50 million at the box office.

There seems to be some activity as far as start ups are concerned. Some independent concept houses have opened up to develop animated properties. At least two of them involve Stan Lee of Marvel Comics fame and Phil Roman, the founder of Film Roman Studios.

Another barometer that I've been checking is the salary level that artists are being picked up at. Salaries seem to be holding fairly steady for most of the people I've been talking to. It looks as if entry level salaries have come down, but that's to be expected although they are still not too shabby for someone coming right out of school.

Unemployed artists that I know who've been struggling all year are all of a sudden getting free lance work. Another good sign.

As I've said many times before, animation is not going to go away. Demand for animated product is healthy and will continue to grow, especially if great films continue to be produced. There are many signs of stability in the industry. The False Recession that animation artists had to endure this year was exactly that. The problem was executive mismanagement that eventually manifested itself and artists had to pay the price for it.

As production starts to expand once again, don't forget the lessons that this year has taught us. Artists don't screw over other artists. Union and independent artists alike all have a common goal and a common bond. We're not going to enter this next phase with any less resolve towards achieving our goal of an animation empire that is controlled by animation artists.

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